Race Report – Adelaide Marathon 2009 – 42.2km

Race Adelaide Marathon 30-08-2009 street

My second attempt at the Adelaide Marathon, or any marathon for that matter. The first was back in 2007 and I think I am a much different runner now…and a wiser one. The 2007 marathon was an – out too fast, crawl home on your knees affair to be forgotten, well not forgotten, learned from.

The goal for this year was not to have a repeat performance, aiming for about 4hr15mins or 6 min/k pace.

A decent crowd (read close to 300) started the marathon at Santos Stadium with half a lap of the tartan track and then a full loop around the outside of the stadium before heading in the general direction of Glenelg along the old railway line. I settled into a smooth rhythm and seemed to find myself 20 m off the back of a rough group of 8 or 9 other runners zeroed in on 6 min/k pace. It stayed like that all the way to Glenelg North, but as we dog legged around to do a lap of the lake I started moving through the group. I don’t think I increased my pace at all, they all just appeared to slow as we got passed 15k  and I ended up on the foreshore out in front.

On the coast the wind was gusting from the West, off the sea, which was swollen and lapping at the rocks at a very high tide under a dull grey sky. I really enjoyed the wildness of the foreshore this year, especially as the wind was not blowing in my face and instead buffeted me from the side. I was still on pace and ran through halfway in 2hr8mins, 5 minutes slower than 2007, and 2 minutes slower than my ideal pace, but hey, I was still feeling fresh in the legs.

Crossing over the Torrens and heading toward Grange, I was met head on with the mid pack of the marathon and half marathon. I lost a bit of concentration here, as I was saying hi to every runner I knew (which is quite a lot now) and getting some high fives…the pace increased a little as I sped up to look strong for the runners returning from Grange, puffing out the chest and putting on a stupid grin. Luckily it was only a kilometer before the outward course diverted to the city side of the dune, but I had made up some of the time I had lost to be back on 6min/k pace.

As usual, this section dragged on, with the only entertainment being joking with and encouraging the runners I was reeling in and overtaking and greeting all the wonderful marshals. All the while I was straining my eyes to see if the next street sign said Terminus Street or if the cones continued passed the next round-a-bout. So it was with great relief that I eventually rounded terminus street and climbed back up over the now concrete and bitumen dune to the beach and started the journey back to Santos Stadium.

Halfway back to the Torrens the rain started, it was only light, and was rather refreshing, even if it was whipping in off the sea. The rain didn’t last long and I was still making slow and steady progress through the field but starting to fade a touch. To my relief, I spotted George and Jane in the distance as I started down the Torrens giving me someone I knew to chase. That provided stimulus for at least a couple of kilometers as I zeroed in but after catching them I ran out of steam. There was no stopping me this time but the pace slipped a little more.

After a brief bathroom break, I seemed to find new determination to see this thing out and set about counting down the kilometres to go. I was quite surprised at how out of breath I was, given how slow the pace was, when I walked through the last water station and tried to have a drink of water. Running the last stretch through Thebarton, passing all the struggling runners, now walking, walk/running or slow shuffling their way back to Santos Stadium was great for the confidence. I felt their pain, only two years ago I was there, but today I was running the right race strategy and I was going to make it to the finish in one piece.

Then I finally turned onto Henley Beach Road and sputtered toward the home stretch. My fuel tank was empty and I was faced with the fiercest urge to take a non-drink station walk break. Luckily, once I had staggered across James Congdon drive the temptation passed because I could taste the finish (or was that the salt ecrusted on my face?). Running on empty now I willed myself to the finish line, once again puffing out the chest and trying to appear strong and in control as I ran around the track finishing in 4hr18mins  to the cheers of fellow runners and spectators.

Finally a solid run.

Race Adelaide Marathon 30-08-2009, Pace

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Corporate Cup 2009 – Run 2 – 7.0km

Race Corporate Cup (Torrens) 5-08-2009

After the timing malfunction last week, I knew to get close to maximum points for run 2, all I had to do was run the same time for a 60 second improvement. I arrived at 6:30am and got straight into it after jogging a little from the carpark. Obviously the early morning start was a little too much for some Life Be In It staff as the first two signs directing people on different routes over bridges were wrong causing havock to some runners who were obviously still drowsy. No problem for us 7km runners as we just keep running till the end.

I wasn’t trying to push the pace and wasn’t interested in looking at my watch either, I just dawdled along at what ever pace I felt like. It was all too easy.

Boy did I get a shock when, with 1km to go I finally looked at my watch and realised…Ooops…I have 5 minutes to get to the end to run the same time as last week. Time to Boogie. The legs were a little slow to respond, but after some ducking and weaving across the weir they brought me home in a 4:45 split to stop the clock without any dramas this week at 37min49sec.

My goal for post marathon runs is to get down to 35mins, but it is a testing little course, so it will take a gut busting run to get there.

Race Corporate Cup (Torrens) 19-08-2009, Pace

Race

1

2

3

4

5

6

7

2006 Time

24:36

24:30

23:01

DNS

25:43

22:30

22:29

Pace

5:41

5:40

5:19

5:52

5:10

5:10

2007 Time

22:46

21:43

20:50

20:30

21:59

DNS

22:53

Pace

5:17

5:03

4:51

4:46

5:07

5:19

2008 Time

24:18

22:56

22:30

22:59

DNS

22:51

24:39

Pace

5:23

5:06

5:00

5:07

5:05

5:59
2009 Time

38:15

37:49

         

Pace

5:28

5:21

         

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Corporate Cup 2009 – Run 1 – 7km

Race Corporate Cup (Torrens) 5-08-2009 Another year down, which means another Corporate Cup series. This year my place of employment has entered three teams including a full team of Mega Cuppers (7km). As the chief organiser of the teams I couldn’t very well wimp out and do the 4.5km again, so I am in a Mega Cup Team. It took quite a while to make up my mind on which distance to do and it was only pride that led me to the 7km, as I would have like to have had an indication of my level of fitness compared to other years where I completed in the 4.5km class.

For this first up baseline run, I was aiming in my head for 40 minutes…that would give me a good 5 minutes to slowly knock off down to, what I see as my goal time of 35 minutes. With this goal in mind and the tendency to run a little faster when there are other people around, I tried to take the spring out of my legs by running 37km on Sunday and 12km relatively hard yesterday. It seemed to work.

Another change this year was from lunch time running to 6:30am running (my preferred time). The route itself is quite an annoying one with about half a dozen short sharp rises and tight turn-a-rounds (due to track maintenance on the Zoo section), but I felt like I gave a pretty even effort over the entire 7km.  My legs definitely didn’t have any spring in them, but rather moved on muscle memory, propelling me around the Torrens with a solid amount of effort. Every time my concentration started to slip, the legs would take over and slowly increase the speed. I had to quickly remind myself to just take it easy and not push too hard, shoulders back, breathe deeply and relax.

I crossed the finish line in 38:15 according to Garmy, but after staring at the finishing time LCD display for a while I realised my time wasn’t coming up, so I had to wander back to the finish and scan my RFID tag for an official time of 39:XX. Now that is something to work with.

Race Corporate Cup (Torrens) 5-08-2009, Pace

Race

1

2

3

4

5

6

7

2006 Time

24:36

24:30

23:01

DNS

25:43

22:30

22:29

Pace

5:41

5:40

5:19

5:52

5:10

5:10

2007 Time

22:46

21:43

20:50

20:30

21:59

DNS

22:53

Pace

5:17

5:03

4:51

4:46

5:07

5:19

2008 Time

24:18

22:56

22:30

22:59

DNS

22:51

24:39

Pace

5:23

5:06

5:00

5:07

5:05

5:59
2009 Time

38:15

           

Pace

5:28

           

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Race Report – River Run – 30km bike path

Race River Run 26-07-2009 Marathon confidence booster. That’s what the River Run was supposed to be. Following a hard demoralising 30km trail run during the first Yurrebilla Training run 3 weekends ago, I only ran once on the next two weekends for a total of 4km. With that in mind, I should have been well rested for the River Run 30km.

The last time I completed the 30km River Run (2007) I ran the first half at desired marathon pace of 6 min/k and then ramped up the speed on the return leg because I was feeling good finishing in 2hr56mins. This year my goal marathon pace is 5:42 min/k or 4hrs, but I knew that that would be a tough run and what I really needed was a confidence boosting run.

Standing on the starting line I was still uncertain as to what pace I was going to be aiming for, so just went with the flow. I tried to control my pace down a little, so I wasn’t going out too hard, but I didn’t really look at my watch all that much.

In the group of runners I was running in, there was quite  a bit of surging and slowing down, so much so that I don’t really know if it was me, them, or a combination of both doing all the surging. That first ten kilometers through Thebarton out to Lockley’s really set the scene for the final 20km. My legs were already tired, and my mind was constantly thinking about the pair of runners I was wearing, which had over 1000km on them. (I bought a new pair on Friday but haven’t worn them yet). This is where I lost the plot. The mental battle was over and I  had lost.

I pushed on, 10km in 57 minutes and I was running my goal marathon pace and still running strongly. I passed a couple of other runners having a bad day and with 2.5km to go to the turn around the lead 30km runners went passed the other way looking fresh as a daisy. Great. But at least the next 4km went by quickly with the distraction of the rest of the field running by to keep me on target.

Heading for the finish back along the Torrens I set my sights on some familiar faces bobbing up and down along the track up ahead, trying to find a rhythm. I caught one then two, but I was hanging on by a thread, mentally speaking. With 7km to go the thread severed. My left foot, particularly the achilles had been troubling me for 3km and I slowed to a walk with disappointment strewn across my face.

Now the floodgates opened and I struggled home with a few walking breaks thrown in, fighting hard the urge to cut back across the weir and DNF. I did manage to shuffle out 2km uninterrupted to the finish when I saw another regular SARRC runner struggling more than me in the distance, didn’t catch him though. So much for a confidence building run. After a final 7km dominated by thoughts of marathon failure I am going to need to get in some seriously good training runs over the next month to rekindle a bit of spirit. The 2hr59min time has caused me to rethink my marathon strategy and re-align my goalposts, I will now be aiming for 6min/k and hang on.

Race River Run 26-07-2009, Pace

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Marathon a go go.

With the official results for the Barossa Half marathon about to be released I can tell you that my official time was 1hr54min20sec, or 8 minutes faster than last year and 173rd out of 266 runners. I suppose one day I would like to be in the top half of finishers, but at the moment I am just happy with the improvement.

Now with three months to go until my second marathon…what am I going to do differently to improve my time?

For starters I am going to run a different race plan (ok, ok, I mean stick to my race plan), which will hopefully mean that I can run out the 42.2km, rather than walk the last 10.

I feel like I am not running as much as I did in 2007, though my log would seem to indicate that totals are about the same. I don’t think I am putting in the same number of runs, they are just on average longer.

The biggest difference by far is the quality of the runs. This year I am running them faster and harder then in 2007 and it is to this that I contribute most of my faster times so far.

My weight is about the same as it was in 2007. I have tried to get it down, but to no avail…I like food.

What I want to do now, while there is still 3 months to go, is build from my 2 halves and the 28km Pioneer Women’s Trail Run this month and get in a lot more 30+ kilometer runs than in 2007. If I can get 2 of those in during the month of June I will be 2 ahead of 2007. Add to that 2 four hour long runs in July and I will be smashing my PB come August.

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Race Report – Barossa Half Marathon 2009

Race Barossa Half Marathon 24-05-2009

I wasn’t filled with much confidence of a good time in the lead up to my second Barossa Half Marathon. For some reason I had an overwhelming feeling of failure, or was it lardiness?

Never the less I lined up at the start line at the more civil time of 9am, half heartedly ready to give my all. Time for a new game plan. Time to learn something different.

I picked someone out, a rabbit if you will, someone to chase from the start. My target…the six foot man…well he really isn’t six foot (I would say not even 5 foot) but he does like to wear his six foot singlets. I knew Kym ran less than 1hr50min at the Greenbelt HM, so if I chased him from the start I would be in line for a good time.

No more of this – start out slow, bring it home strong – for me today. The gun went off and I moved along at a decent clip, trying not to let Kym out of my sight. Down the finish straight and on towards the first hill. By the top of the hill I was level with Kym, but never again.

Race Barossa Half Marathon 24-05-2009, Elevation - Distance I stretched out the legs, letting my long legs do all the work down the hill and came up the other side already struggling to keep up the pace as we rounded the corner into the finish straight for the second time.

 Barossa half 09-01 At the next drink station I took a longer than usual walk break while I sipped some water. I was losing touch with Kym and was in hurt town big time. Over the next lap and a half I had to give myself a stern talking to on many occasions, and the urge to walk was become overwhelmingly strong, the more I struggled on.

I was sure every time I heard footsteps behind me that it was other SARRC runners, about my speed, running me down. I was fading badly, and yet still catching people every now and then.

By 2km to go, only a couple of runners had actually passed me and I was pushing harder then ever with a 76 years young gentleman I had never beaten before running alongside.  He stopped for a walk and I pushed on, urging my legs to punch out just 500 more metres as I was sure I could hear people sprinting up behind me.

Barossa 09 finish With a final burst, some high fives for Colsy and Cakeboy and a bit of silly arm waving, I ran down the finish chute, to finish in an unofficial time of 1hr54min22sec. A hard fought course PB (8 minute PB to be precise) and my second fastest HM time (after the Greenbelt earlier this month).

I was disappointed the rain held off, I could have done with some cooling off on that last lap.

Race Barossa Half Marathon 24-05-2009, Pace

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Pioneer Women’s Trail Run

  Pioneer Women's Trail 10-05-2009 Set on Mother’s Day of all days, the Pioneer Women’s Trail is the trail the Pioneer Women of Hahndorf in the Adelaide Hills used to carry their fresh produce to market in Adelaide before any roads were built.

Me getting my bus ticket. The trail we ran today was not the same as the original trail, but rather the trail marked out by the Department of Recreation and Sport (who by the way haven’t finished the trail yet because of the little matter of a $400k footbridge at Vurdon).

In excess of 80 people had signed up to participate in at least some part of the trail run and in the gloom of the pre-dawn day most gathered at the finish (Hazelwood Park, Burnside) for the bus ride up the Freeway to Hahndorf.

start The bus ride, on a double decker bus mind you – to fit all of us in, didn’t seem to go as long as the bus ride the previous week to Athelstone for the Greenbelt Half. This to me was a good mental sign that I was going to have a good day as this run was 7km further (if you didn’t take any wrong turns) than a half marathon.

We were greeted and set on our way in Pioneer Park, Hahndorf, by the mother of descendents of the founding families of Hahndorf, and the chief ambassador for the marking of the trail. Following a brief recount of some of the trials and tribulations of previous walks of the trail, we set off down the main street of Hahndorf on our journey to Adelaide.

hahndorf streets Don’t get me wrong, with the official trail markings and the detailed trail instructions and maps, you would think it would be easy to make it all the way to Burnside without making a wrong turn. History tells us that this wouldn’t be the case and it was barely 5 minutes later that reality set in.

Terry C had made an announcement minutes before that we were turning left at The Cedars, the home of Hans Heysen, but as The Cedars came into view we were greeted with shouts calling back at least a dozen of the front runners who were obviously too busy nattering away to notice it.

It felt like minutes later that I looked at the Garmin to see how far we had come and lo! we had already covered 7km. Gee time flies when you are having fun and then to cap things off an unexpected drink station appears before you complete with lollies and chocolate.

In defense of all those who took a wrong turn, or missed a turn somewhere, the autumn colours of the leaves did a marvelous job of camouflaging the trail signs and you had to be really alert to see some of them thanks to some challenging placement by the trail markers (Rec and Sport).

frankFRANKY! That was my cries as we emerged from under the bridge in Bridgewater to be greeted by the medicated wares of Frank and his beautifully arranged water stop at the Old Bridgewater Mill. The Mill was the gateway to yet another stunning part of the trail through wooded forest like landscape.

carey gully roadThe hardest part of the run for me, started on Old Carey Gully Road. We came out from the Mt Lofty Golf course onto the road and began the slow climb up over the freeway into Stirling. Not actually knowing the exact route I approached the intersection with Spring Gully Road with trepidation.  I knew if we turned up that road I would definitely have to give it my all to get to the top without walking…we have history, that hill and I. Fortunately for my legs we passed by without turning and I think I became lazy after that as the fog started to close in. I stopped frequently to walk and take photos. 

It was not far past Spring Gully Road that David C, Zacman and Chilliman came up from behind…”Where the hell did you guys come from?” I joked. Another bunch of lost runners. They had been on a detour up the Heysen Trail to the the Scout Camp on Spring Gully Road. I suppose it helps that I was always following people who knew where they were going, with the downside being that I have no stories of misadventure to report.

CrafersAt this point I wondered why the Pioneer Women had weaved around to Stirling and then back to Crafers when they could have headed straight over Mt Lofty, passed the Scout Camp (well obviously the Scout Camp wasn’t there in the 1800s) as these three had tried to do. It was not to be the last time I thought the Pioneer Women of Hahndorf to be completely barking mad masochists.

Chilli in the mistThe scenery through the Crafers/Stirling area of the trail was stunning. The dark autumn reds and yellows of the trees as seen through the mist were splendid and complimented the historical buildings beautifully.

Across the freeway on the footbridge and we were in Crafers preparing to makeSimlin on the run the last uphill climb before the descent from Eagle on the Hill to Burnside – The Old Bullock Track. The random assortment, or pack, of runners I had been running with since the start had spread out over the slow climb up to Stirling (with me bringing up the rear) and I thought I had been left behind.  But lo, as I came over a little rise on the way to Eagle on the Hill, there was the rest of them still “galloping” along. Had they slowed down? or was I going faster? Charging on, suddenly the group splintered again and I sprinted up the short hill to the final aid station as Chilliman fumbled in his bag for his camera…just getting it out in time… 

Pioneer Women's Trail 10-05-2009, Elevation - DistanceAfter the long gradual 18km of uphill it was refreshing to be finally running down and the legs just ticked over, drawing me quickly to the finish.

The top gate of the bullock track (otherwise known as “The Big Kahuna”) by the Friday Morning Running Group came and went. I knew how far (well I though I did) it was to the finish now!

Old Bullock TrackThough I have seen it before, many times up the Big Kahuna, the view of Adelaide as you round the Mt Osmond golf course still took my breath away.  Everything was so green, the sun was shining, what a beautiful contrast to the autumn colours and mist of Stirling and Crafers.

This is were things got silly. Instead of heading straight down the “Centre Track”, the trail wound itself around the hillside in what seemed like never ending zig zags. At one point we ran a kilometer and were only 10 meters further down the hill! WHAT WERE THEY THINKING! “Surely the Pioneer Women were barking mad.” someone muttered, “If it was the Pioneer Men’s Trail we would have gone straight down the hill” someone else muttered (OK, that might have been me).

finish

So add two kilometers to how far I thought it was to the finish at the top of Mt Osmond and then fast forward through zig after zig and zag after zag – there is me, belting down Glynburn Road at 4:30 pace, sprinting like a mad man for the finish – because I can, there was sausages to be eaten.

Now in the defence of the Pioneer Women, I am informed that the original trail did infact go straight down the hill and it was the wise old heads at the Department of Rec and Sport that decided it was too steep and that, in the interest of safety, they would add an infuriatingly frustrating wiggly bit to the end of a stunning trail.  (more photos)PWTpanorama

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