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Marathon report – Almost the fairytale ending

** Spoiler alert **   we both made it 🙂  … keep reading for the detailed report

It was an early start – although our race didn’t kick off until 7:20am we wanted to be all ready and at the race precinct to watch the 10,000+ competitors start the half marathon at 6am.  It was an amazing start – watching what seemed like an endless flow of runners trail out on an epic 21.1km journey.  We had many friends taking on this challenge and many of them attempting their first half marathon. To all who started ‘well done’, to all who finished ‘WELL DONE !’

OK, now the half marathon is underway …. we’re next.  I was a little nervous, my preparation this year was last minute and underdone due to niggly injuries, but excitement and anticipation was overtaking nervousness.  My primary objective this year was to get Diana up to the 30km mark and set up for a sub 4hr marathon with nice even pacing. All going well after that, I would stick with her and we could finish ‘fairytale ending’ hand in hand under 4 hrs.  Diana seemed calmer than expected, so things were looking great.  We headed over to the start line and self seeded ourselves ahead of the 4hr pacer.  The Gold Coast turned it on with wonderful weather conditions and streets lined with supporters and entertainers.  We relaxed into a rhythm and were even pacing mostly between a 5:30-5:40 min / km pace.  Di got quite relaxed and enjoyed ‘high-fiving’ all the kids cheering along our southern journey.

We turned around at Burleigh (15.6km mark) still feeling comfortable and began our journey back north. Conditions were still comfortable and everything was going to plan  …. thus far.  I know to some it sounds crazy, but the first 30k of the marathon is actually quite an enjoyable experience.  If you have been running with plenty left in the tank earlier in the race you cross the halfway point (21.1km) feeling comfortable and like you could keep running all day.  We hit the half way mark in 1hr 57min (or 1hr 59min gun time)

This put us on target for our sub 4hr marathon, with the 2min lag time at the start made up, but still not trying to go too fast at this stage.  If we could average a 5:40 min / km pace for the second half we had it in the bag.  Di was definitely still running within herself and heading north towards our start point she was still taking any opportunity to ‘high-five’ excited supporters (especially young kids).  We were both very comfortable as this following image demonstrates …..

…this was taken at about the 27km mark (that big tall building in the background – the Q1 – was where we were going to spoil ourselves as a reward the next 5 days).  It was just after the 29km mark that I started to have some early problem signs.  Some mild cramping was starting to show itself 🙁

Despite the early signs of danger for me, Di was still feeling very strong so I suggested she still hold back until 32km and then spend whatever was left in the tank in the last 10km.  Well, I was able to maintain a pace in the low 5:30’s up to the 32km mark and checked in with Di again.  She knew the reserve tank didn’t have much left in it so she was happy to just continue with the same pace we had been setting all day.  Unfortunately my cramps got worse, but I found (for a while at least) that if I didn’t slow down, speed up or do any significant turning they weren’t making me stop …. until …. just after the 35k mark.

I had achieved my primary goal of setting a restrained even pace to this point and Di was looking strong for her sub 4hr goal.  With only 7km to go I had to let go of the ‘fairytale’ ending – Di had to push on to nail her 3hr ??min marathon debut, and I had to reset my goal to managing these crazy cramps and just securing a finish.  I think it was a tough call for Di when she looked back and saw me walking but she made the call I was hoping she would and pushed on.  With all the injury niggles I had been having, we had discussed this being a probable situation. For Di to run sub 4hrs and for me to just finish was the next best thing to the ‘fairytale’ ….. and it was looking probable.

Even though we had a tough head wind from 38km to 41km, Di still managed to run her second half in 1hr 59min.  Coming through the fininshing shoot, she was focused on the goal and the elation of finishing her first marathon under 4hrs was being realised …

The cramping might have slowed me down (a lot), but it didn’t stop me, I still finished – 17min behind the dynamic D’Muchkin (Di), but not too shabby considering the challenges I had through training this time round…

Finally, we are both marathoners … and both get to sport these bad boys…

So, dear readers, should we go again? A marathon in Disney World – Florida, or the Athens Marathon perhaps?  What is your opinion?  “D’Munchkin” Di showed promise and could probably better her maiden marathon time if she goes again? Should I take the hint from my recurring marathon cramping issues and just specialise in half marathons or shorter?  It’s obvious we are both good at hamming it up for the cameras, so should we just ‘marathon up’ to go for the ‘fairytale’ finish? Let us know your thoughts 🙂

~ Craig

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  • Cat ThomasJuly 15, 2013 - 11:49 AM

    You two are so inspiring! Like you said Di got her sub 4hr marathon and you dug deep to finish with those horrible cramps, there’s plenty of time for the ‘fairytale’ finish; which if you ask me, should be at the Disney Marathon! Fairytales and Disney go hand in hand after all! My question to you is why the ‘or’? Why not BOTH the Disney Marathon AND Athens?! You are both marathon runners now, you can do anything! 🙂ReplyCancel

    • DianaJuly 15, 2013 - 11:59 AM

      I agree Cat! Power of the ‘AND’ 🙂 You could join us maybe. I reckon running 42.2k is waaaayyyyy easier than doing 96km Kokoda!!! You have done your fair share of inspiring too!! From 10km last year to Spartan, Bridge to Brisbane run, half marathon and Kokoda this year!!!! You’re mad girl!! But we like mad! That was a monumental effort and I take my hats off to you too!! Go girl!!ReplyCancel

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