*Edit* For race pictures from official photo website.
This is for this morning's Perth Marathon 2009... yes, I don't procrastinate, I like to jot them down before I forget :P
The night before, darling and I had a great carbo loading pizza dinner at Little Caesars, Mundaring, which is 45 minutes drive away. Great is an understatement... it was definitely worth the drive, and also worth the wait (the place was packed full, mainly with Asians. I tell you, Asians REALLY love their food)
We had great company - Eric, Renee, Brendan, Mindy and her mum, Li-Ann's brother came along as well as we brought his friend visiting from Melbourne. We ordered NINE pizzas - 6 large ones and 3 dessert pizzas. We were all stuffed and had to take some home. I, myself had about TEN slices of pizza!
Race morning... I woke up at 5.30am, had my usual pre race breakfast - Nutrigrain cereal and a banana. Did some stretches and mandatory toilet visit. Picked darling up at 6.30am and we headed to WA Marathon Clubrooms in Burswood.
Once arrived, I downed a Powerbar Performance bar, flushing it down with Powerade. Did some warm up jogs for about 10 minutes and did some more stretches - yes, I'm an overkill with the stretching.
As I was doing my stretches I met race buddy, David Tan a.k.a. Mythos. We met at my first Perth Marathon and he was at Langkawi Ironman 2009 too.
Did one last toilet visit, kissed darling farewell (like going to war, hahhah) and lined up for the 7.30am start, with the hope of achieving my 3:20 target, or 3:17 if I played my cards right.
The start wasn't too chaotic. This year's turnout was just over 400 full marathon runners, compared to last year's of 360. I restrained myself from getting too caught up in the adrenaline of starting off too fast. But somehow upon reaching the first km marker, I clocked a time of 3:55! Hmm... something is not right here.
Anyway, as we went up Windan Bridge to East Perth, approaching the 2nd km marker, I did a time of 5:08, giving 9:02 for those two kms. Now, that seems more about right!
I couldn't have asked for a better weather! It was really fine conditions, with some very light winds, the river that we passed was very still. My strategy was to start the first 10km in 45 minutes (average 4:30 per km) and slow down a minute for each 10km onwards (about slower by 5 seconds per km). Because I knew that no matter how slow I started the race, I would still be hit by fatigue in the later stages. I can't do negative splits!
But I found myself averaging between 4:20 to 4:25 per km in the first few kms. Slightly worried that I was going too fast too early, but I was feeling comfortable at that pace, so I kept on. My timing at the 10km mark was 43:44.
I was more flexible with the water stations this race, and not just sticking to the carbo drinks. I drank whenever I felt thirsty, taking whatever was available - be it water or electrolyte. I was also feeling slightly bloated, not sure whether it was last night's pizza or the Cookies N' Cream flavoured Performance bar. So I avoided taking Powergel up until somewhere near the 19km mark.
I amazed myself by keeping about the same pace since the 10th km. I reached the halfway - 21.1km in a time of 1:33:00! That's less than a minute slower than my half marathon PB last year! Just after that, I crossed paths with the top runners making their way back. The turnaround point is somewhere between 23-24km
I realised that in all these running races, I always seemed to be running alone! Too slow for the front pack, too quick for the back pack. Well, I work best alone anyway, don't really like having to pressure myself to keep up with a pacer. I slowed down at the upslopes at the bridges, as I knew there was no point overdoing the extra effort just to keep the same pace.
My pace slowed down slightly after the turnaround point. Dropped to about average 4:30-4:35 per km. I was still way ahead of my target. At the 30km mark, my time showed 2:13:29, that's over a minute quicker than my PB I set in my training 4 weeks ago!
I did a mental calculation that if I averaged 5 minute per km for the remaining kms, I would actually do 3:13 for the full marathon distance! ...and I did just that! Hitting the wall after 30km is DEFINITELY not a myth!
From then onwards, I went from averaging 4:40 to 4:45 to 4:55. From the 36th km onwards, I was struggling to keep under 5 minutes. My legs began to feel tight, the stitches in my sides were getting more severe. My 2nd Powergel helped slightly but I still had to run conservatively to prevent cramps. Ben Swee, if you are reading this, it was your 3:13 at last weekend's KL Marathon that pushed me through the last remaining kms!
Last 1.2km at the 41st km mark, my watch showed a time of 3 hours 7 minutes. If I could still maintain the 5 minute per km pace, I could still clock under 3:13. So I picked up my pace a bit... I could hear the announcer loud and clear...
Last 100m, darling was cheering by the side... there was one guy right in front of me... I didn't want to share my finishing picture with him, but he was slowing down... so I sprinted and crossed the finish line with my arms in the air... finishing in 3:12:40 (average 4:34 per km)!
Here are my splits and lap times.
5km 0:21:56 (21:56)
10km 0:43:44 (21:48)
15km 1:05:50 (22:06)
20km 1:28:08 (22:18)
25km 1:50:37 (22:29)
30km 2:13:29 (22:52)
35km 2:36:54 (23:25)
40km 3:01:53 (24:59)
I hobbled around a bit before getting changed and queued up for a sports massage. The masseur took me by surprise by asking me to remove my track pants, good thing I was wearing presentable underwear! He also said that my right quads were more developed and seemed stronger than my left one. Maybe that's why I seem to get cramps more often on the left leg. Hmm... maybe I need to do some single leg squats!
While waiting for the prize giving, we helped ourselves to the free food - muffin, hot dogs, hot soup and drinks. Although luck wasn't with me this time, no draw prizes for me. But it was great to see the winners accepting their prizes, and hearing out for their amazing times, especially the older age groups! The last runner was an 80 year old man, he was the only one in his category and he came in under 6:05!
Another finisher's medal, the 31 up there is for 31st anniversary, not 31st placing! I'll probably not run for the next 6 days... maybe I'll start next Sunday. Of course swimming and cycling would continue as normal, hehheh.