*Edit* For official results and race pictures, click here and here.
30th Anniversary Perth Marathon... 42.195km...
Honestly, I didn't know what to expect from this race. I was away for holiday in Cairns the whole of this week. The only workout I did this week was a 4.3km swim and even that was at a slower pace as I was recovering from the holiday. And the week before I did no running as my knees were still hurting from the Perth Half Marathon three weeks ago.
The weather for Friday and yesterday was pretty crap... heavy showers with strong winds. But it all cleared this morning. Although it was a pretty cold morning when we arrived at WA Marathon Clubrooms, Burswood at 7am... 0.7 DEGREES!
As usual, I gobbled down my Powerbar. It was Banana flavour... the first one in my pack since my lil' sis hand delivered them to me during her visit in February. Washed it down with Powerade.
I then did some warm up jogs for about 10 minutes. Good to know that the knee pains were no longer there. It was nice having darling around, although the poor dear had to shiver in the cold while her boyfriend runs up and down around her.
Gun off was at 7.30am. There wasn't too much pushing around, no one was in a hurry. Everyone knew there was a LONG WAY to go.
My first 1km was done in 4:36... I didn't think I was going too fast, felt pretty comfortable actually. The course is actually very scenic. I forgot how beautiful it was until I drove back home from the race. It takes you from the south east of the Swan River from Burswood, over Windan Bridge to the luxury apartments in East Perth and back to the Causeway, where we move back to south of the river.
We then run along the foreshore up until the Narrows bridge where we head south, along the Kwinnana Freeway. From there, we head to Canning Bridge and head west until we reach Point Walter and make a turnaround point. All along the way we ran through bike paths, boardwalks and there was always a waterfront. The cloudless sky was perfect weather too... the temperature did rise up a bit later in the morning but it wasn't too hot as it was still winter.
An ang moh girl (whom I think her name is either Denuka or Meluka from the crowd cheering... something like that) caught up with me somewhere before the 2km mark. I stayed with her for quite a fair bit. None of us tried overtaking each other. We probably knew we were about the same pace and decided to make the best of the situation. We stayed around the 4:30 per km range most of the way, speeding up to 4:25 occasionally and dropping down to 4:35 a couple of times.
Having a pacemaker helps, as it wasn't long before I reached the 10km mark at the Narrows Bridge... 45:05 I clocked. There were a few drink stations before this, some serving only water, some with electrolyte drinks. I took my first electrolyte drink somewhere before the 11km mark. The ang moh girl was slightly quicker in downing her drinks, but she waited for me to catch up.
Last year, somewhere along the freeway, I suffered some spasms around my toes and quads but I did not feel these this time round. Maybe the compression leggings helped. I was a bit worried that we had to cross some pedestrian bridges along the freeway as the path was still under construction when I did my bike rides there a few weeks ago. Glad that the works have been completed and it was a smooth route all way until Canning Bridge, the 16km mark. I took my first Powergel just before this as there was a electrolyte drinks station there.
This was where the ang moh girl sped up her pace. I could still see her about 20m ahead of me and this remained for the next few kms but I somehow couldn't catch up.
Reached the 21.1km (half marathon) mark at 1:35.42, which was faster than last year's half marathon race time. I thought that even if my second half was slower by 5 minutes, which was the time I did my 21.1km run at the Busselton Half Ironman, I would be able to do a sub 3:16 finish!
Ang moh girl suddenly stopped. She said she only came to do the half distance. WHAT THE HELL??!! And I was foolish to follow her pace.
I came across the race leaders somewhere after this half marathon mark (the turnaround point is at 24km). And then IT STARTED... yes, I was REALLY foolish to follow the ang moh girl's pace. With ZERO running training for the last two weeks, what was I thinking?
My 23rd km was done in 4:50. And it started going downhill from there. I started going over 4:50 per km for the few kms after. And my feet were starting to feel like they were on fire. Hmm... maybe these lightweight Asics DS Trainers weren't really meant for marathons. But I did a mental calculation, that if I could hold just under 5 minute per km for the rest of the way, I could still do a sub 3:20 which is still a PB. I downed another Powergel somewhere around the 29km mark, about 2 hours and 15 minutes into the race.
If I thought I have hit the wall way too early, I was wrong as it came again. From the 30km mark onwards, I dropped down more than 5 seconds every km... 5.06, 5.11, 5.17, 5.23, 5.25, 5.37, 5.49, 5.59! It wasn't that I felt joint pains or severe tightness... it was just my legs were just TOO DARN TIRED... and it didn't help that there was slight headwind on the way back!
Don't know why but in almost every half marathon and marathon, I seem to be running alone. This was no different. It was less motivating running by my self, but the support crowd were just marvelous. There were some in fancy dress. My favourite is the Wonder Woman going around on her little bike with basket.
I was actually thinking of walking already since I can't do a PB... and I kept on telling myself... I'll run to the next km. One thing that kept me not from walking was Li-Ann worrying about me when I told her I'll do a 3:20 finish. I've also started to feel cramps around my biceps. Must be the stiff bent elbow position. I had run with stretched out arms for a while to ease the cramps.
Things didn't get better after that. At the 36km mark, my watch was showing 2:52.49. I thought that if could hold 6 minutes per km until the finish, I could at least do below 3:30. I downed my third Powergel soon after. I brought four but I thought I could keep one for future use. Yes, yes... stingy me again.
But the next couple kms were done in 6:08 and 6:01 respectively. It was here where the 3:30 bus, a group of pacers aiming to do sub 3:30, zoomed past me. Darn... if I knew I was going to do a 3:30 finish, I would have stuck to them in the first place and not suffer these last few kms.
Don't know why but the 3:30 bus overtaking me was like a wake-up call to my legs. I suddenly had the strength to power through the last few kms... 5:47, 5:45, 5:35...
The finishing was near... having Li-Ann cheering at the last bend... I gave all my might to sprint the last few meters... and finished in 3:28.20!
The time was 6 minutes slower than last year's marathon... but considering the circumstances, I can't do much complaining. Maybe a PB next year... ;)
Click here for full results. I finished 98 out of 366 runners and 5th in my category of 16 people. Here are my lap times and splits.
5km 0:22.38 22:38
10km 0:45.05 22:27
15km 1:07.49 22:44
20km 1:30.37 22:48
25km 1:54.19 23:42
30km 2:19.19 25:00
35km 2:46.50 27:31
40km 3:10.45 23:55
I walked around like a duck for a bit. Got my entry fee money's worth for the free massage and the food for the Canteen appeal. Runners get to eat for free but spectators have to pay. There were hot dogs, burgers, pancakes, savoury muffins and soup. Although most kiasu runners were getting food for their supporters, which defeats the purpose anyway.
Had a chat with Vanessa, a BodyPump instructor whose class I used to attend. She did a PB... 3:52, good on her! We waited until the prize giving which started at 1.20pm. The male overall winner finished in 2:37... same time as last year's winner but a different person. He lowered his PB by 4 minutes. The female overall winner finished in 3:03... over 10 minutes slower than last year's winner. Apparently, last year's female winner is taking part in the bigger Gold Coast Marathon, which is held on the same day.
No lucky draw prizes for me this time. Could be my race number of 114... I'm beginning to attract these sort of less auspicious numbers these days.
No running for the next 3 weeks!