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adidas Auckland Marathon 2010, 31/10/10. After months of preparation and starting off as a full-time couch potato in March, race day for the 2010 marathon arrived with a bolt of reality, especially considering it was only 48 hours after touching back down on NZ soil. After clocking 100km+ in Tokyo over the trip and promptly carbo-loading myself until I was ready to burst, I figured I was as ready as I would ever be for the big run. With over 14,500+ people in attendance and record numbers for competitors and spectators, it was set to be a blockbuster of a day.
Heading to the start line, which involved taking a cross-harbour ferry from the Auckland end as the marathon starts on our North Shore, and loops around before crossing the harbour bridge (the only time during the year it’s closed to cars for runners/pedestrians) and then back into downtown Auckland. We thought we’d be smart and get there at 5:45am, in time for the 7:00am gun start. Guess we didn’t anticipate the other 1,998 people who had the same idea…. absolute chaos.
Ended up catching the last ferry, meaning we missed the gun start @ 7:00am, arriving at just past the hour and not actually starting until around 7:20am. It was pretty eerie on the ferry ride over, with hundreds of people quietly focusing or getting themselves into the right mindframe for the upcoming race. Running, 80% mental game.
Ivy was running with an injured knee/ITB, which blew out a couple of weeks ago during a 15km training run, on top of a few recent hospital visits for other issues. After a couple of weeks with the sports physio, she received the green light to run the half marathon, but had to tape up her knees. Still, she was determined just to complete the half marathon, whether she had to run, or walk/run the distance. When there’s a will…
Suited up and ready to go. Naturally, running in the team colours.
The start area was empty when we arrived, since we missed the gun start @ 7:00am. Not the greatest start to the day, but unavoidable given the delays at the ferry; we figured we could time ourselves using our Nike+ systems anyways. We spent quite a bit of time walking around trying to figure out what was going on, along with the rest of the people on our ferry since most of the starting line staff had left, before passing our equipment bags to the remaining event staff so they could courier it across to the finish line over the harbour.
The first leg of the half marathon was pretty tough; for those who don’t know, Auckland’s nickname is the “City of Volcanoes”, a reference to the city being founded and built on top of a volcanic field of 50 odd volcanoes. I guess you can say we’ve got a pretty hilly terrain. Starting from sea level, it was a pretty fast climb in-land, with some climbs reaching up to 33m of elevation over a 500m or so, with more gradual climbs over 1-2km distances. Running with over 14,500+ people in attendance was also pretty difficult; you tend to get held up a lot by traffic, especially if there’s only a single lane closure on the road. Since we started late, we had to run through all the marathon ‘walkers’, which was a little difficult. It’s quite easy to lose your pace and run to the crowd’s pace, so be sure to check your Nike+ unit or watch periodically to figure out your pace.
After the course undulates through climbs and rather steep downhills on the North Shore, it descends sharply back to sea level, in preparation for the harbour crossing over the bridge.
@ ~ 15km, going over the harbour bridge.
@ ~ 19km, rounding the Tank Farm.
@ ~ 21km, sprinting to the finish at Fanshawe Street.
Ivy’s Halloween “costume”; fake blood that she splashed all over her face as she was crossing the harbour bridge. She ended up having the St Johns ambulance team following her in a golf cart to make sure she wasn’t just delirious and trying to finish the half marathon, along with being stopped by dozens of concerned onlookers. Success?
Post-run, looking rather contemplative, but actually trying to look for a hole to crawl into and sleep for a couple of days. It’s a pretty surreal feeling crossing the finish line, with your legs feeling like they need to be in continuous motion for a few minutes after, not to mention the hundreds of people yelling at you during the final stretch. I can see how this becomes addictive… I crossed the line as the elite class of marathon runners were wrapping up their < 3:00 hour 42.195km full marathon runs. Cripes…
Final run data (Nike+): 31/10/10
21km / 117min (1:57) / 5′55″ pkm / 1934cal.
Ivy: 21km / 153min (2:33)
Very pleased with the result, as I was aiming to complete the half marathon around the 2:00 hour mark, but was glad nonetheless to have finished the half marathon without having to stop. I know it’s not a super fast time, but it still felt like a huge accomplishment, especially looking back to March where you would have had to put a gun to my head to make me walk more than 2-3 blocks. It feels pretty good to set a goal and nail it.
Now aiming for either a < 110min half marathon, or ~ 4:00 hour full marathon next?
Thank you AJ & Sarah, adidas Pacific for everything. Truly appreciated guys.
Here are some tips, just from my experience for half/full marathon first-timers. Nothing overtly technical, just some observations from one former couch potato to another.
1. Go to the toilet before the race, even if you don’t feel like it. Believe me, feeling like you want to drop a deuce when you’re 15km in isn’t the greatest feeling in the world.
2. It’s very easy to lose track of your pace with so many people around. Check your nike+ or other running device constantly to make sure you’re at the pace you want to be.
3. Although it sounds stupid, make sure you train running & drinking/eating at the same time. It may not be a problem @ 8km, but at 18km when your body is in full auto-pilot mode and you need a drink to cool your core temperature down, it’s pretty hard work figuring out how not to choke on your drink/power gel (as I did).
4. Make sure your laces are done up correctly. This makes a stupendous amount of difference. I didn’t check my right foot, and with the timing tag on it, the shoe started to loosen over the km’s. By the end I had a pretty busted ankle/torn ligaments.
5. If possible, go do a running analysis to make sure the shoe is right for you. It makes a shit-ton of difference when you’re pushing longer km’s. I wish I did.