Tuesday, May 22, 2007


Great Ocean Road Marathon - Race Report

Purpose - Use as a warm-up for October's Melbourne Marathon, to see if I can maintain a consistent pace (slow), and to see what I need for food and drink during a race of this distance. The pace that I was looking for kept changing, originally, because of when the race took place during my training, I was going to do somewhere between 8:20 and 8:30 miles but after doing pretty well in a couple of races and checking my pace during training runs 8:00 seemed to be doable.

The race would start at 8am on Sunday and the course ran along the Great Ocean Road from Lorne to Apollo Bay. The Great Ocean Road is one of the main attractions in Victoria and is a cool place to drive along to see the beach, ocean, cliffs.. that sort of thing. I have a post from my drive along the road in November, check it out.

The run was from Lorne to Apollo Bay

Let's start this story on the Sunday before - as stated in previous posts, I woke up that day with a nasty soar throat and was stuffed up. I spent the entire week trying to get rid of this cold, which meant no running but I just couldn't shake it until the Saturday before the race. I decided not to run on that Saturday either because I wouldn't gain anything from it and could possibly bring the cold back so I didn't do too much that day except go into the city to buy some Gu for the race and sit around to rest.

Runners needed to be at the start line at 7am for check-in and Lorne is about 2 hours away.. leave at 5.. breakfast beforehand.. I'll wake up at 4:30. Oh man, when that alarm went off I was full of cuss words, whining, and thoughts of skipping the race altogether but I got up, had some breakfast, finished packing my bag and I was off. Coming up to about 30km away from St Kilda (still 110km away from the start line) I realized that I forgot my watch - in my defense I've worn a watch maybe 5 times while running, it's not a piece of gear that I normally bring - and now I'm not happy at all because whole point of this run depended on me having a watch to pace myself. It was already well past 5 and I thought about going back but at this point I would just get there around 7 and it just wasn't possible to go back.

I was somehow able to convince myself that I can get on without the watch and just enjoy the run but I wasn't sure when those pissed off feelings would creep back into my head but the issue was off to the side for now anyway. I arrived, checked in, it was a little cool because it was morning but otherwise looked like it was going to be a nice day, no rain, some sun, not too hot. At 8 the gun was about to go off so I lined up right up front, not looking to take off too quickly but there were only 400 something people in this race and we had the entire road to ourselves. If I had sprinted the first couple of meters then I would have been leading the race for a few seconds but I left that up to the Kenyans who were 4 or 5 people to my right.

I came to realize that the watch wasn't even necessary because they didn't even mark the kms, the first marker wasn't until 7kms in and someone that did have a watch said that it came up too quickly so I was fine with not pacing myself. The first 13 miles went very well, although, a bit faster than I would have liked but it felt good. The scenery was great and the course was nice, a lot of turns on the road and quite a few hills, which make the race more interesting when you're not going for time. I never knew where I stood for time, they didn't have clocks anywhere along the course, not even at the half-way mark.

After around 16 miles I started to slow down considerably and then around 20 miles in my legs just froze up and the muscles didn't want to move anymore. This brought me down to a very painful and slow shuffle for the remaining 6 miles. Fortunately, it was just the muscles that were bothering me, everything else felt fine, even my ankles, which was encouraging, and the endurance was there. To get over this for the Melbourne Marathon I just need to do a lot of miles during training and between now and October my schedule is telling me that I have to run 834 miles so I think that should be enough.

It seems convenient that the two towns happen to be a marathon apart but that's not actually the case. They're really 45km apart and not the marathon distance of 42km so instead of moving the start or finish lines they give you your time for a 42km marathon and then make you run (or walk or crawl or whatever) the extra 3k's into town and then give you a time for that as well. So, does that mean that I've run an ultramarathon?

Aside from not being able to pace myself and my painful breakdown and my not very welcome marathon time of 3:52 (that's 8:52 mins/mile - my 45km time was a lot worse) I was happy with the race overall. Once I finish this Melbourne Marathon and can run races just for fun and forget about the time then I would come back to this one because the course was so nice. I did learn quite a bit about where I am in my training as well and what I need to do in the next marathon. I didn't run on Monday after the race but I think I'm going to try to go out today even though my ankle is a bit messed up... Maybe I'll just walk.

Next race (that I'm signed up for) is the Run to the G Half Marathon in 4 weeks.

Sun coming up over the ocean in Lorne (why do they start these runs so early?)


Lorne over the Toyota (doesn't the car look like a pool?)

I ran with this dude for about 5 miles - he's fast

That's me

Running with the ocean behind me
Bigger ocean

Nice job. And it's good to see pics of you running. Since it's your blog, we read everything you're saying, and see pics that you take, but if we're reading then we're interested in what you're doing....so it's good to get to see you in the pics.

Keep 'em coming. (and apparently keep up the training. I wanna hear about you finishing a marathon without any muscle/blister/health problems)
Mr. Keith,
We just got our internet up after leaving you stranded on that little island. Glad you finished, had a good time (view not race time), and learned to be ready for Melbourne. I've run once since I left you. I see you still don't have your "race legs" yet and are not ready for your comfy shorts.

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