Blog 60- Entry 5
Well, that didn’t go to plan at all! This blog is one that many running enthusiasts will be able to relate to, when you don’t reach your goal, when you’re visions don’t happen etc.. Suffice to say, the ‘Goldy Build’ wasn’t the raging success ‘Breaking 2:24’ was from a performance front but that’s running isn’t it! If it wasn’t hard to master, there would be no thrill in the chase or no sense of accomplishment when we do achieve a running goal! In saying that, I still learnt a lot and had a cracker of a time doing it!
I’d be lying to say currently, I’m not down, frustrated, disponded etc but these are normal feelings. It’s important to utilise a productive/ growth mindset during such times. What did I do well? What could I do better? It’s also important to take a step back and realise, competitive running is just a ‘game of cards’, it’s not the end of the world! Yes, it’s a ‘game of cards’ or hobby, that I love. I love the challenge. I love the chase. I take pride in running well and doing my best, it gives me a feeling of elation when things go well. At the same time I feel it’s important to not let your running performance dictate your self efficacy, identity or self worth. In a similar vein being honourable, distinguished and gracious when things don’t work out is just as imperative. So yeah, be disappointed for a bit, reflect on it but don’t dwell and mope. That’s me at the moment and trust me over the years I’ve got very good at this process. Very well practiced:)
As most of you know the Gold Coast Marathon was on Sunday just gone! Unfortunately, the weather didn’t play ball, with wind, rain and overcast skys. Kind of perfect for a Melbournite (unexpectedly we were acclimitised)! Nonetheless, what a weekend it was! The event is always so well organised, has an electric vibe and the richness of the Australian distance running fraternity is always on full display!
I was fortunate enough to be able to stay at the QT the race hotel. We got the red carpet treatment, be it airport shuttles, event briefings, etc. The Gold Coast marathon staff must be utterly commended for the event they put on, it is without a doubt the most well organised fun run in Austrailia. In 15 years it has grown from an event with 10,000 participants to 30,000. They have 10 full time payed staff organising the event per year. The event also receives some funding from the government given the huge impact it has on tourism in the gold Coast! I learnt several of these stats after sitting next to Ryan McDonald the main event organisor for dinner on race eve.
While I was at the race hotel I also got to rub shoulders with some of my heroes! Each day I was eating breakfast, lunch and dinner with the likes of; Zane Robertson, Bernard Lagat, Yuki Kauwauchi, Steve Monaghetti, Rob De Castella and many others.
Ok, so it has been a while between blogs.
So, a bit more about my race preparation over those final 2 weeks. I apologise for not doing a blog the week before but in all honesty at that point I really was questioning whether I was going to be healthy enough to start. So, I was in lock down mode, doing everything I could to; ‘feel good’ toeing the line.
Yes, 2 weeks out I caught the dreaded lurgy that seemed to inflict 90% of Melbourne this winter. In my last blog I mentioned how I was avoiding Jess like the plague (who was sick at the time- caught it off her school kids), well after 4 days of remaining unscaved the sore throat, runny nose and asthma got me.
It’s a situation that many of you would have been in before! A race that you know you are in good physical shape for, you’ve committed to, you have payed for, it’s been your goal race for several months! Suddenly, you are questioning whether you should do it or not. Thoughts like; ‘maybe I should do the Surf Coast Marathon 4 weeks later?’ gush through your head.
Nonetheless, I commited to trying to get right, I wanted to do the Oceania Championships. I ran less, I went to the doctors, I took days off work, I slept lots, I ate really well, took multivitamins and took my asthma preventors and relievers incessantly!
I willed myself to get right, by race day I felt 90% there and with the power of positive thinking I was hopeful this was enough. Several of my best 10km road races have been after a similar head cold and asthma exacerbation, as it forces me to taper really well. I held onto the hope this would be the case for the 2019 Gold Coast Marathon.
Tactically, I stood on the start line as it rained, unsure of what to expect. There was a pace group at 2:15 (way to fast for me) and the woman’s lead pace group at 2:26. Had this race been on 2-3 weeks earlier I’d have had the confidence to go out at 70-71 for the first half be it solo or in a group, I’d have thought the woman’s pace group was going to be too slow.
Reflecting back on it now, I just wasn’t confident on that start line, I think deep within me I knew I wasn’t right. My nervous and reserved start reflected this, I let the 2:20-2:22 pack go. I ran solo into the headwind (10km/hr a great deal more manageable than the 30km/hr winds from the day before in the 10km) for the first 13kms.
However, I wasn’t getting away from the lead woman and their trusty pacers (Dion Finocchiaro and Bradley Croker) at all. The constant whurr of the lead motor bikes was irritating. I was finding the pace harder than I should of at this point. So, much harder than the ‘dream like state’ I was in at Adelaide. I knew the woman were running 2:25 pace at this point, this irked me, I shouldn’t be finding this pace so hard. So, I tucked in for the last 3kms (before the turn) into the wind hoping that I could save some energy for later in the race. I held onto the hope that I would eventually feel good.
At the 16km turn around at Burleigh Heads, I tossed my cap and tried to turn my race around. I could see John Dutton, Aidan Hobbs, Charlie Boyle, George Hedley and David Criniti ahead, these were guys I wanted to run with or be around. I set sail, alas this wave of energy only lasted 3 minutes and things began to feel hard again.
And this began to be the tune of the race, I went through waves of good and bad patches. I capitalised on the good, I tried to relax and grind through the bad. I proceeded to look like quite the inexperienced/inpatient runner as I yo-yo’d on and off the front of the lead woman’s pack. In retrospect I needed to run to how I was feeling on the day not to how good I was feeling 2 weeks before.
I went through half way in 72:30, feeling a lot more sapped than I should have been, it was worrying but I tried to stay positive. I kept trying to fill my brain with great motos, like; ‘just do your best’, ‘be proud of your effort’, ‘just grind it out’, ‘don’t give up’, ‘relax through it’.
If I had the race again I’d have run a race a lot more like Chris Rancie, who ran a very smart race! He kept quite and incredibly patient in the womans pack for 30kms and then ran through the field nicely over the final 12kms. So, well executed chris!
Strategically, I cost myself a minute or so running the race how I ran it but I think for some weird reason I felt like I needed to run it like I did?! I still wasn’t ready to roll over and give up on having a ripper race, the race that I had envisioned. I was trying to force my body to make it happen but it wasn’t playing ball. The usual energy and pop just wasn’t there!
Chris rolled smoothly past me at the ‘Callum Hawkins’ bridge at 30kms and my pace proceeded to slow. From 30kms my pace really did decline. I think I had already been holding on and forcing the pace for 5kms or so. I got to 30km in a respectable 1:42:30. However from here I was certainly in conservation mode, damage control. It was more about getting to the finish. I got to 35kms and the lead woman caught me again.
This coincided with me getting a much needed flat coke (on that my personalised drinks went so well at Gold Coast- I used Maurten, pump bottles and decorated them with Run Culture green tape- I got all 6 bottles that I tried to get and had 3 sips of each!). The coke gave me another little spur on. This soon ended as we got to the 37km turn and that small 10km headwind felt like a hell of a lot more in the lethargic state I was in. From here I battled it out with the lead woman of the race till the end. Occassionally, using the lead camera/bike to draft behind or getting another spur on after another flat coke at the 40km drink station. By this stage the men were well and truly finished, so the TV coverage was now entirely focused on the woman’s race and here I was making the camera mans job incredibly difficult haha! The silver lining was that the run culture singlet got some exposure!
Wow, it was a good feeling to finish! I ended up running 2:27:33 for 37th overall. Just ahead of the lead Kenyan lady and a fast finishing Milly Clark! So, no PB but I couldn’t have tried any harder, I was rapt with how ‘strong I stayed’ and ‘deep I dug’
I soon found out about the amazing performances of the Japanese runner Yuta Shitara running the GC mara race record, NZ’s Zane Robertson running 2:08 and beating his twin brother Jake’s time by several seconds, the evergreen Bernard Lagat at 44 years of age running 2:12, our very own Liam Adams being disappointed with an amazing 2:11:36(an 80 second PB), NZ’s Caden Shield’s incredible 2:15 debut (past blogger) and Jack Rayner and Sinead Divers fantastic results in the half!
Then there were the results of many friends/family! It was great to see John Dutton run a well deserved pb of 2:25 after several years on the injury list. 2:24 on debut George Hedley, well done and brave running! Then there were the surplus of PB times the Run2PB coaching crew accrued! My mum also battling a cold and negative splitting the half. And then there was Sim (an avid reader of the blog!), oh and also my brother Ned’s girlfriend, running a speedy 37 minutes in the 10km.
PB or not, many of the die hard running fans then moseyed/sauntered(sorry just like these words, had to include them for grammatical affect) on down to the Broadbeach Bowls club for a live rendition of this weeks Inside Running Podcast. It was great to catch up and chew the fat with so many other like minded people! The running community truly is such a great community!
I must thank first and foremost my wife Jess for putting up with so much ‘running related activities’ not just over the weekend but in the lead up to all these marathons. Jess is just so supportive even though this sport can be incredibly time consuming and selfish. I’m so lucky to have a fellow ‘weirdy’ by my side!
I also need to thank my whole family; mum, dad, Sean and Ned, thanks for some great family time up there too. You guys are such great rocks in my life.
I also want to thank Ming Jee Lee from AGF Marketing in Singapore for creating such an awesome singlet. Yes, heavily influenced by the latest Nike elite singlet but perhaps a better offering:) I am currently in the process of making a big order of these singlets so, let me know if you are keen at email@example.com. I’m also, currently trying to find a worthy charity that supports ‘physical activity’ awareness and promotion in todays sedentary world, to donate the profits to. So, if anyone knows of any good suggestions please let me know at firstname.lastname@example.org.
On reflection, would I have run faster had I not run Adelaide in 2:24, 6 weeks prior? I personally think my asthma/head cold was why I lacked energy out there but maybe it was both? I hit several workouts after Adelaide that made me really feel like I had recovered well. I’d like to think I was on track to but don’t we all. Haha I suppose I wont know. Post race I have just complete 4 days of high dose prednisolone (which you are unable to take the week before a major competition) and am now definitely on the improve!
So, what’s next for me from a running front? Well, I think that is enough marathons for the year. I am keen to round out 2019 with a few halves and get back on the track and do a 5,000 and 10,000 again. I haven’t given up on running under that 2:22:40 time from Berlin but lets leave that for a marathon sometime next year (haha I think)!
Marathon training takes a lot out of you, mentally and physically, so I think I owe it to jess, my fam, friends and work to give them a little break for 2019.
In October I have been asked to help out on an Athletics Australia training camp with some Paralympic distance runners in Flagstaff Arizona, so I am keen to report back on that experience.
I am also keen to do a few more blogs that are far less self indulgent in the coming months. I’m still yet to get that Nate Jenkins marathon training blog out, that I promised a few months ago, so that’s on my list.
I also have plans to document/follow the fortnightly training and build ups of a few other runners in potentially a different format but we will see how we go there, so stay tuned.
Anyway, all, I hope you all are kicking goals in your running! And, if not, please don’t stew in a constant state of despair. That’s negative. Yeah, sure be there fleetingly but just remember to;
-1.) Step back and remind yourself that running is just that, running! A hobby, one aspect of your life, so don’t let it define you. And, if it is, perhaps you need to broaden your horizons? Yeah, sure it can be important, you are allowed to love it (which I do, and I’m sure any reader of this blog does) but it is obsessive if it is pouring into every aspect of your life.
-2.) Be optimistic rather than pessimistic. Use a growth mindset. What did I do well? What did I learn? What could I do better? Grow and move forward from the experience rather than let it fester(another brilliant word).
Hence, the Run Culture slogon……RUN.LIVE.GROW!
Talk soon Dane