To quote Robbie Burns "The best laid schemes o' mice an' men / Gang aft agley (go oft awry)"
Not having yet mastered a strong marathon finish, or securing even a single digit difference between first and second half splits, I again crumbled in the last 7 km with leg cramps to finish a full 17 minutes adrift of the original plan.
Thereafter I have had 12 months of various injuries which fortuitously, have also given me a chance to re-evaluate my approach, style and technique.
Pulling out of the Gold Coast Marathon 4 weeks prior after pulling the top of the hamstring in the State 10 km, I have spent the past 8 weeks physioing, running drills, deep water running, backwards, sideways, grapevine to start finally pulling out of what had been an intractable cycle. I got to pace a mate for the first 11 km of his GC Half, helping him finish sub 90 for the first time, and simply cruising in afterwards myself, happy to be running fluidly. Coach Sean and Physio Theo have both been great. I am not fully re-programmed yet, but feel i am on right path, now have the right tools, recognise the signs, and able to manage the patterns.
It is all finally coming good, and so 6 days out I decided to enrol and toe the line again for the Westlink M7 Marathon last Sunday, as a training session.
A few simple goals: Not to race it, but to pace it well. Run it to a 3:30 plan (soft target). Try to finish strong.
Finished in 3:28:47. 5 km Splits were mostly ok, but my lack of any long runs in training over the past 8 weeks featured at the end: 24:13 / 24:52 / 24:24 / 23:19 / 23:36 / 23:53 / 23:56 / 27:24 / 13:33 (read 42:50 on the garmin)
I felt stronger for longer than last year, giving myself some slack over the last 7 km. But I did still finish overall with less that 4 mins between the first half and second half splits. Thats a first!
If i had more in the legs, and dug a bit deeper there was a good 3 to 4 minutes to be retrieved in that last 7 kms.
I have taken lot of heart from it:
Injury clear (touch wood)
Better pacing control
The tiger is ready to be unleashed again!
The old dog has learned some new tricks!
Hopefully I will now have a clear run towards Melbourne or Penrith Lap of the Lake in October, with a 10 km and half marathon to benchmark progress from here to there.
Soft Targets are under-rated!