Sunday, November 1, 2009

Finished! Auckland Marathon 2009

Gun Time = 3:43:35
Net Time = 3:43:00

The longest and hardest 8km ever from 34km. However I'll start at the beginning...

The Night Before

Spaghetti on Saturday night and went to bed early at 8pm. Unfortunately the nerves had really started to catch up with me and I didn't really sleep much at all. I'm guessing this is fairly normal. At around 3.30am I thought stuff this and got up...


Breakfast consisted of the pack of muesli that came with the race bag, a peanut butter on toast, and a black coffee. I had organised to park in the work car park (ANZ tower it the city) and walk to the ferry. However on the way stopped off at the 24hour Foodtown to buy a packet of jelly dinosaurs (I couldn't find the jet planes!) and some vaseline (to prevent chaffing).

The dinosaurs were quite good, had some in each pocket of my shorts. Different to be eating lollies during a run. Good idea this (thanks N!), I never really hit the wall on the run, although I was getting close. Cramp was more an issue but more on that later.

Along the second half of the course people were handing out jet planes but it was good to have my own.

Caught the 4:30am ferry from downtown and got chatting to a few other marathoners. Everyone looked in pretty good shape - no suprises there I guess. Training will do that for you.

Got to the start at Devonport at just after 5am. Spoke to a few people - saw Andrew and also S from work (who I didn't know was running). Work colleague N caught up with me at the start line and wished me luck. This was her 7th marathon for the year and she was aiming for sub 4 this one.

I had taken a bottle of water with me and had sipped myway through this in the hour leading up to the start. This was a good tip.

First Half

The first half was quite good. I was being good, holding some back, and keeping close to 5min/km. There were a few hills but not nearly as bad as I had thought.

Chatted with a fellow first time marathoner from 6 through to 9km. Interesting getting perspective on what motivates people to do this.

The Auckland bridge was quite a novelty to run over. Great views - shame you can't do this all the time.

Split time at the half stage was 1:46:40 (5:03min/km). Pretty close to my planned pace.

Was feeling pretty comfortable at this point although it was starting to warm up. One person I passed remarked I was looking "quite fresh".

Second Half

The second half started well tracking pace roughly the same through to about 28km. However after that I could feel myself slowing up.

I was starting to feel the onset of calf cramp and tried to combat it by taking on more fluids at the stops. In hindsight really should have hydrated more on the first half.

The return leg from St Hellier's Bay wasn't pretty. However some of the other runners looked in much worse shape than myself. Carnage but misery loves company. Passed a few people walking. Saw N and Andrew heading out to St Hellier's and waved. :)

Longest 8km ever after the 34km mark. I was trying to keep myself districted by coming up words to describe how it felt, by about the 38km mark I settled on "brutal". I guess the hardest part is the part you don't train for. It is true what what you read - this part is all mental toughness to keep going.

Second half split was 01:56:19 / 5:30min/km. Which is almost 10 mins slower than the first half. Ouch!


The 500m I managed to "sprint" or at least run semi normally. Crowd support was especially good at the finish - lots of people cheering. Fantastic!

Pulled up just over the line with a wicked cramp in my left calf. Got to the end just in time! The St John ambulance person asked if I needed help and then suggested I take in some fluids. Hobbled over to the drinks table. Helped a bit. Looked in the mirror afterwards - covered in salt crystals!

Absolutely stoked to have finished! This was a big challenge for me :)

Would I do another? Actually I probably would - perhaps another crack at this next year. A number of lessons learned here - the importance of early hydration being one big one. That and more endurance training. Now that I know what is involved my next goal is that 3:30 time :)

Congrats to everyone that participated!


Mike said...

Congratulations! That's a great time. Really makes me want to go for that Sub4 time :)

Andrew is getting fit said...

Awesome effort mate! You looked good when I passed you.

Kate said...

Congratulations! Now that you know what it involves, I think you'll be able to smash 3:30 next time.

MD said...

Congratulations on an awesome time!
Feels good to get the first one out of the way doesn't it?
I learned so many things yesterday that I would do differently next time.
See you next year :)

cath said...

great report-congratulations! You are quite fast!

Andrew(ajh) said...

Excellent job Aaron a wonderful time for a first marathon.