Well last Saturday as planned I set out to complete my first marathon distance run. A tough 26.2 mile course that would see me climb close to a couple of thousand feet in terms of elevation and also included some 8 miles of coastal trail path before crossing the finish line. I had a bunch of family and good friends turn out and run bits of the course with me and at no point along the 26.2 miles was I the only runner participating in this self-organised event. Now it’s all done and the dust has settled I can confirm the day was a huge success and share some of the pictures.
I’d like to say a MASSIVE thank you to – Ben, Simeon, Neil, Bruce, Steve L, Glen, Gina, Phil, Sharon & Husband, Kelly, Chris M, Steve R (and the girls), Darren, Chris B, Dan, Mum, Ali, Lee, Ian, Archie, Charlotte, Luke, Ellie, Chloe, Robyn and Bracken (the dog) for all taking the time to come and run with me on the day (and Josh on his bike). It was a great feeling to be running as a pack along various parts of the route and it was brilliant to have good conversation and words of support from you all whenever I needed it. It made things much easier and the run much more enjoyable. Some of you pulled out your own best performances on the day with probably half the people on the list above reaching far greater distances than they had run before. This made the day pretty special. I think we all deserve a pat on the back, between us I think we ran nearly 180 miles that day. I’d also like to thank all the other friends and family who rocked up at The Cove to cheer me over the line. It all made for a brilliant finish to an awesome day. Special thanks to Ben & Steve R for providing most of the pictures. I wish I had taken more but in the end I had to concentrate on the moving of my legs. I also have to give a special mention to Chloe and Robyn. These girls rock my world on a daily basis, put up with my training plan, my whining, my smelly feet and constant jibber jabber. They both ran well on the day and also provided the best mobile support vehicle/cheering squad a bearded bloke could wish for. I love them both x x x.
I covered 26.45 miles with my garmin recording the moving time as 4hr 56mins. The actual start to finish duration was a good 30-40 mins slower than that but there were two scheduled rest stops on route and a couple of smaller not so scheduled ones. The 26.45 miles also includes roughly a mile of walking where it was just was too hard or too steep to run. Considering the nature of the event and that it’s my first attempt at such a distance that’s pretty good going. As expected we were well ahead of my planned pace for the first 12-13 miles and then the trail over the back half of the route around Portland took it’s toll but all in all things pretty well balanced out as expected.
The strangest thing to come out of the event from my perspective though is the slight anti-climax that has come from completing the distance. This is one of the reasons it has taken me all week to get around to posting this (other than generally being lazy at blog posts). I think in my head I must have thought that somehow I’d feel a little different after covering a marathon (walk taller maybe?). I don’t. That doesn’t mean I’m not happy to have done it and I am still very proud of my achievements, it’s just I still don’t feel like I’ve pushed myself enough (and no I’m not a masochist). It could have been my choice of route (which allowed some walking), or the slow steady planned pace, or the good company doing such a good job of distracting me but I don’t feel like I’ve got close to finding my limits yet. I guess that’s almost what I wanted the marathon distance to be about. It certainly wasn’t easy (and I put in lots of training) but my recovery has been quick and I’m already enjoying being back out running again. I guess if I can sort out participation in a proper marathon race next spring then I’ll get the opportunity to push myself a little further. This must all sound a little nuts to most people so I’ll shut up and finish with a dose of perspective and some pictures….
It was a brilliant way to celebrate my birthday. I couldn’t ask for a better start to another year on this planet and it was great to do it all with friends and family (mission accomplished). I may not feel like I’m yet to reach my endurance limits and I know deep down I’m capable of quicker times but if I start to think about and compare the ME who ran a marathon last Saturday to the larger, unhealthy ME of 18 months ago… I smile.