Saturday, 8 March 2014

Grounhog Marathon PB

I set out with one goal in mind today: get a marathon PB.  And I wasn't disappointed.  The running track at Wrockwardine Wood isn't scenic, but that didn't matter.

I didn't feel great before the run - up early in a nearby hotel room when Arthur woke up.  I was tired and it was gusty outside - not great for a fast time.

Familiarity always helps with a race.  On arriving at the track everything was much the same as last year, except this time the trackside toilet was unlocked.

There were more faster runners this year and I set off knew fast, knowing that I would suffer for it later.  I put in as many laps as I could at about 4:40 - 4:50 per kilometre.  But my pace gradually slowed.  At halfway it went over 5 minutes per kilometre.  There was a marked slowdown at 30 kilometres, but I managed to mostly keep the pace below 6 minutes per kilometre.

The PB, which had felt comfortable at halfway and still at two thirds, was starting to slip away.  But I was growing in confidence that I would get it towards the end.  My 3:30 target was long gone, but I finished 75 seconds ahead of last year to secure my marathon PB in 3:35:56.  I'll have to come back next year.

What could have gone better?  More sleep the night before.  Possibly less coffee at breakfast.  And no headwind on the back straight.  105 times into the headwind was too much!  But there wasn't a lot I could do about that.  I didn't take anything on board other than electrolyte drink, unusual for me as I'd typically be eating sultanas and peanuts or some energy bar.  I did finish feeling light headed but I think the big fry up for breakfast was sufficient to get me through the run.

Groundhog Track Marathon medal
I get a lot of comments about how boring a track marathon must be, but it is all about your attitude to it.  Of course it wasn't scenic.  But this isn't like one of the beautiful LDWA countryside marathons.  This was all about focus: headphones on, keep an eye on the pace, drinks whenever I wanted them.  With my mind on the music, maintaining the pace, and concentrating on passing and being passed, there isn't much time for boredom.  It requires plenty of effort to not trip or bump anyone with such frequent lapping of each other.

Here is the route for marathon #58 on Strava.  Very compact!