no longer a marathon virgin….

2 Nov

Me..(behind the blues) about 1minute after finishing...magic morningHow lucky am I?
The top pic is me (in black) 1minute after finishing, and the bottom one is an hour before the start!
A friend looked after the kids at home while Deane and I flew to Auckland on Saturday..(still hate flying..). We hired a car at the Auckland airport and drove directly to the marathon registration center which I flew through…(after spending ‘a couple of bucks’ in the adidas shop…which you had to walk through after registering..good stuff adidas). We then drove to the Westin, our hotel, which, I must say..was absolutely fabulous. My goal for Saturday was to relax and eat carbs…which is just what I did. Knowing that I would not sleep much at night, from about 11am I lazed around in my white dressing gown on the white kingsize bed after having a white bubbly bath, and snoozed in between popping grapes into my mouth….I’m sure that’s what all elite athletes do?. I started getting a tad hungry at about 5pm, so we found the hotel restaurant and dined on pumpkin ravioli and wild bread with dip…
I was in bed by about 8pm, and slept fitfilly till 1am, at which time I was wide awake..hyped and hungry. In between the hours of 1 to 3 am, I drank coffee, ate a power bar, porridge, sustagen, annoyed Mr Drew, and figured out (repeatedly) what I was going to wear, I settled on my black skirt, black icebreaker t shirt, white adidas cap and of course mizuno’s. Whew!…I looked cool… which is very important. I forced Deane out of bed at 3.30am. We were out the door by 4.05am and walking along the waterfront to the ferry terminal. We were met by an old guy (70+) wearing tiny old guy shorts, tiny tshirt emblazoned with ‘THAMES’ and he was wrapped (sort of) in an old green transparent plastic jacket. He was clutching a can of coke and started chatting. Man! could he talk! (Tell ya what! I love the old guys and gals…down to earth..real). He had been running marathons since he was 42, had run them all over the world. He said he drank a can of coke just before a race and that was it. He talked to us till I was in the starters shute a few hours later.(The hype at the start was almost too much for me..I was nearly an emotional mess..gulped it all back..wiped away tears…). I was joking around that I was an elite 4.30hour athlete…he told me I should therefore start of in the front with the elites. I didnt quite start in the front but very close to it so it is the best start I have ever had in a race. I just breezed over the start mat and kept running-no crush, no hassell. I pulled myself together as I started the run, I felt comfortable and happy. The k’s seemed to melt away and although I was attempting to save myself-i did break my 5k record and my 10k record by 3minutes each which of course was fun but not a great thing to do on ones first marathon!
I again was a tad emotional as I started running up the Auckland harbour bridge. It didn’t seem that big actually. As I was running up it the elite half marathon men sprinted past following a loud beeping motor bike telling us to make way for them. I applauded them as they went. I wish…I wish…..
I started feeling the run from about 20k. Body bits started being a tad grumpy. I felt a blister forming on my small toe (weird) and a few ks later, under the ball of my foot..(weird #2). I kept running. Deane surprised me at 20something k by calling my name and jumping onto the road with a handful of gu and a bottle of powerade…lovely man! I really needed the gu too as my other four had dropped somewhere on the road about 10k back. The most depressing part of the run came at about 30k (surprise surprise) when I knew the turn around must be close but all I could see were runners snaking up ahead of me for miles and miles and miles. Well, thats what it seemed that point, the fast marathoners began passing me on their way back..(more sad applause from me…).
After descending the bridge, the course was as flat…(I like hills). The sun was hot and the streets were shadeless. I grabbed 2 waters and one powerade at every station which were about every 4k. They were the best support stations also having port-a-loos…(usually with a small queue..luckily I did not need to use them..). I hydrated as best as I could and was consistant with gu. But still-I really started to struggle at about the 36k mark. I kept running..I never walked which I am very happy about. I kept my head mostly ‘where it should be’. The people along the way were very encouraging, clapping, urging us forward. I thought I was running fast enough, but every so often my gps told me I was running at 8.6k…so I would speed up, try and lift my feet higher, hold my core, shoulders up…It worked but I did not run at a consistant speed. I think this is why I am rather sssllllooooowwwwww.
At about 38k, I got nearly uncontrollably emotional..I couldn’t take in enough air..I was gulping back waves of emotion…tears. The realisation I was nearly finished my first marathon, that I was going to make my time, I had done it! Luckily, I had glasses on, a cap so all anyone could see was a trembling chin…
However, 38k is a long way from 42.2, which I also realised. So before patting myself emotionally on the back too much, I had a hell of a lot of work to do. The k’s from 38 to the end are a big journey…I was in pain, I was so close but..ya far away. So-I just kept running. I choked back tears on and off, the best comment from a bystander woman was…keep going…you only have to find 400meters! (Thankyou lady!).
I ran into the finish shute, I saw the clock tick over..4:29:20, 4:29:21 I gave it my all and hit the finishing mat at 4:29:30. (My goal was 4:30).
Then Deane jumped the fence, and helped me walk. He took off my timing chip, handed me pretzels and more powerade. Medal in hand, I limped back to the hotel.
I spent the rest of the day limping around…
Today I am still legs are very sore…but I am thinking about my next race.


14 Responses to “no longer a marathon virgin….”

  1. Rachel Harris November 2, 2009 at 10:40 am #

    Oh mate, well done! You did it, and what an awesome time too! Your report was like being there – I could imagine how you must have felt at that 38km mark – knowing you’re so close but that 4km may as well be 10km!

    Congratulations, rest up and bathe in the post marathon glow. 🙂

  2. Andrew November 2, 2009 at 11:30 am #

    Fantastic report! Well done to you. 🙂

    We must have been pretty close together going over the bridge as the half marathoners and the beeping bike passed me just before I reached the crown.

  3. Elaine November 2, 2009 at 2:42 pm #

    …fabulous..marvellous…..amazing….legendary…the start of something BIG Catherine….xx

  4. Becs November 2, 2009 at 3:36 pm #

    Awesome!!! I was looking forward to reading all about it…thank you! Well done you!

    As Rach said….rest up and enjoy knowing that you have done it! You finished your first marathon, and did it really well too! Great job. 😀

  5. deborah1066 November 2, 2009 at 5:48 pm #

    Absolutely fantastic Cath! Great story too. Thanks for sharing it! You’reeeee amaaaazing!!! xx

  6. catherinedrew November 2, 2009 at 6:37 pm #

    thanks for the positive comments!! funnily enough…this blog is part of the whole marathon thing for me…thanks for the support.

  7. Aaron November 3, 2009 at 4:46 am #

    Good stuff. Awesome that you got your goal time too!

    The crowd support at the end, and actually through out, was great.

  8. lindsay November 3, 2009 at 1:23 pm #

    congrats!!! very cool that you hit your time goal too! hope your legs feel better/normal again quickly! the post-marathon hobble is not too graceful 😉

  9. Pip November 3, 2009 at 7:06 pm #

    Oh Catherine well done! I am so happy for you! I know what you mean about the last stretch along the waterfront with the out and back on the flat and in the sun. It’s one of the reasons I feel hesitant about Auckland! I hope you’re starting to walk a little more normally. Take a break and then start chatting to Dave about another goal!

  10. Nades November 5, 2009 at 8:42 pm #

    Congrats!!! I knew you would do it! Way to go marathon lady 🙂
    I hope you’ve rewarded yourself with something special after all your hard work!

    And well done to Dean as well, he sounds like an awesome support crew to have around 🙂

  11. Reese November 6, 2009 at 2:05 pm #

    What an outstanding job, and told in such a captivating manner.

  12. Kate November 10, 2009 at 10:54 am #

    Congrats! Nothing quite like conquering the marathon 🙂

    On the issue of consistency, I wouldn’t trust your GPS’s “current pace” figures- mine are all over the place in Auckland! You’re probably running much more steadily than it indicates.

  13. oz runner November 11, 2009 at 11:45 pm #

    great race report..congrats on finishing, that is a super time!

  14. iliketocount November 21, 2009 at 6:12 am #

    Jealous now. I tore my calf 4 weeks before London last year, just picking things up for a re-match in April – this time i’ll get to start and (like you) hopefully finish!
    Nice blog. Glad you found mine…i’ve something else to read now!

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