this happened yesterday. i still have my medal on!
ok, so in the last 5 weeks of the training programme, things turned a bit to custard. my longest run ended up being a 30k 5 weeks out, then i got a chest infection which sidelined me for nearly 2 weeks. i panicked a great deal and needed a lot of reassurance because my previous (and 1st) marathon was just a horrific experience for me and i worried that that's just what a marathon was. i had also ran the Auckland half the year before, and remember it being incredibly hilly. i was worried that i hadn't done enough hill training but just kept remembering the words of a few MFP peeps- Foxy saying 'hills ain't no thang', and carson saying that there's no point worrying about the training now because 'the hay is already in the barn'.
so, race day came around rather quickly. i carb loaded, hydrated and immodium'd well for 3 days. i was as well prepared as i was going to be with the training i had.
my friend angie was running this marathon too- her 6th. she said that she was going to stick with me throughout. i felt quite bad about that- she's faster than me and i didn't want to slow her down. she also changed my gameplan- i was going to walk up the hills and take breaks when i needed them. angie told me 'we don't walk- we're runners'. she really kept me motoring.
we lined up with a few other people we know, and waited around for the starting bell. there were about 3000 nervous people around us, chomping at the bit to get going. at this point i felt strangely calm.
so off we went. it didn't take us long to find our groove. and i was running at a 7 min km (previous record over distance was a maintained 7:30 min km over a flat half). i was worried that keeping this pace may burn me out, but my friend wouldn't let me slow! i barely noticed the hills- they definately weren't as bad as i remember. i just chugged up them all- passing my friend in the process! it's amazing what change more experience and a different perspective can make :-) before i knew it we were at 14ks in and crossing the auckland harbour bridge. i was a warm morning with clear blue skies and the view was amazing- not that i really looked!
so, on we continued. i started to tire at about 18kms. but i started to play games to keep myself distracted- naming a veg that begins with each letter of the alphabet and stuff like that.
we got to the halfway mark in 2hrs 30! let me share just how much of an improvement that is- this half last year took me 2hrs 50, and this was my fastest half time ever. i was feeling a bit more rejuvenated to take the turnoff for the marathon. 21kms down, 21 to go.
so the next half is pretty flat, around the auckland waterfront. it was 10.5k out and 10.5k back along the same route. we passed people on their return leg, and were waving people on and making conversation with supporters. we passed a stormtrooper, who must have been boiling! he was carrying a big gun and everything!
things really slowed for me at about 25k in- i slowed to an 8min/km pace- still not tragic, but i didn't know if i could keep it up or if i would have to walk some. well, the only places we could walk were through the drinks stations, so i just kept focussed on the next drink station. at about 32k i said to angie that i may have to stop and walk a bit at each km marker- she told me not to be so daft, and that as runners we run!
she started to flag at about 38kms, and it was like showing a red rag to a bull! revenge is sweet! i was shouting at her that we've come all this bloody way, and that we finish as strong as we can. i was still only going slow- but i was going, which meant she was too!
500m from the finish line, angie's son (who's 32!) joined us to keep us going! he held his mums hand and mine, and practically dragged us to the finish line! my hubby had come with the kids, and i could hear them shouting as i got to the finish.
their clock said 5hrs45, but my stopwatch said 5hrs38- i'm taking my watch time.
it was such a better experience than my last marathon- i feel like a rockstar now! i didn't hit the wall (i don't think), and i just kept on going. i wouldn't have done as well if my mate wasn't there- i know that. but i did it, and, for me, i smashed it!
it is the day after. my legs ache. i have some chafing. i'm tired. but i wouldn't change a single thing. i'm a fat chick that ran a good marathon.