I was hoping to meet Jody or some other runbloggers at the ferry terminal, but arrived a minute late at 5:16 and boarded the next one instead. Fifteen mins later at Devonport I thought I'd make a quick trip to the portaloo before trying to find either my cousin or Rachel (or both) somewhere in the marathon start and wish them luck. Well I spent the next 3/4 hour in the toilet queue listening to the marathon start countdown instead - watching an awesome sunrise over the harbour mind you...
We had gear bags to dump our overlayers and things in before the start, so I dropped my stuff off and headed to the start line with 20 mins to go. Lining up just behind the 2:00 mark I soaked up the atmosphere, retied my shoelaces to the perfect tension, retied my ponytail to the perfect tension, velcroed my cap to the perfect tension - I suppose this must be my way of releasing tension! A couple of minutes to go and I noticed another woman nearby with a Nike Sportwatch and as I was pondering how popular they were I saw her screen all connected and ready to go - reminding me I had better do the same!
I thought the line moved forwards really quickly, probably because it was organised by time, and I reached the actual start line in 3-4 mins. I took the advice of Mr Runner's World's at the expo to not go out too fast. Even though you already know this and read it in every running mag/book 1000 times over, being told eyeball to eyeball by an experienced marathoner made a real impression, and his words rang in my head continuously during the first few kilometres.
It takes me a while to warm up anyway, and those first few hills do a good job of it! I concentrated on my breathing and tried to take advantage of gravity on the downhills. At drink stations I took just water - running to the last stand and grabbing the last cup, pulling off to the side, gulping a couple of shots, and moving on. I took a GU Espresso Love gel around 8km as we approached the 9km drink station, and the Peanut Butter later somewhere around the bridge, can't remember where exactly!
I quite enjoyed the run down the Northern Busway and then onto the motorway towards the harbour bridge (9-14km). I settled into a rhythm and occasionally glancing at my pace I realised I was running at 5:47 which is supposedly my McMillan Calculator half marathon pace that I thought I could never do. Although it felt good I decided to go a bit slower until the bridge to make sure I didn't burn out too soon.
I had settled in behind a lovely lady who I had chatted to a bit, she had a really consistent-effort pace and I credit her for helping me run up the bridge relatively painlessly. We met again at Shelley Beach Road (another uphill) and then I didn't see her again, I'm not sure if she finished in front of or behind me. (Until the photos were released - and there we are running together up that hill!)
Anyway, I kept telling myself that although the finish line looks like it is just over there, it is actually 5km away, ie only 3/4 of this race is yet done. So I sped up! I told myself that this is just like my regular easy 5km route and tried to forget the miles I had already done.
I had worn my little handheld Nike drink bottle just in case I felt thirsty between drink stations. Being thirsty makes me run bad, so thought it was worth carrying as you practically don't notice it. As it turns out I needed the occasional sip, and I tossed the empty bottle to Steven as I ran past him at 18.5km - my son captured this funny shot:
|Steven gives me the thumbs up while I toss my water bottle at him!|
Apparently my camera team had a great finishing line shot lined up, but the phone ran out of battery there and then!
I've just noticed that the race photos are up now - have a look!
http://www.aucklandmarathon.co.nz/ (click 2013 photos, my bib# is 9410)
There are some goodies - shall I get some, which ones?
So I pretty much ran my A goal. I had in mind a range of 2:10 (very happy) to 2:20 (not so happy), but being my first half I didn't really know what to expect. So here I am afterwards looking very happy:
|I thought my Powerade didn't last long, this is why...!|
- Having a wonderful family who didn't mind getting up at 5am to drop me at the ferry terminal, waiting around the backstreets of Victoria Park for me to run past and throw a water bottle at them, and still wait at the finish line for me!
- And then buy me champagne to celebrate my first half!
- That I did it!
- I ran my fastest 10km!
- I ran my fastest 5km!
- I felt so good at the end, I know I can attempt a faster pace next time!
- I now have a PB to beat! (Now, when's the next half marathon on around here...!)
(PS - excuse all the exclamation marks, I am sure there is a directly proportional relationship between the use of exclamation marks and a runner's high!!!!!)