Monday, 7 March 2011

Vaal Marathon–I did it!!!!

Yesterday was my second marathon this year and it was so much better than I expected!!  I finished in under 5 hours – 4:48:50 to be more exact.  That means I achieved my goal of doing a sub-5 hour and that I have qualified to run The Ultimate Human Race, The Comrades Marathon, on May 29, 2011.

I had a really early start, 3.45am.  I ate breakfast before 4am – two tablespoons of oats, microwaved with a little water, cooled down with a little milk, two teaspoon sprinkling of chia seeds and a small pouring of honey.

My race went really well from the start.  Ian was aiming for a sub 2:10 (a bet with my dad that earned us all a calamari dinner when he did achieve a time of 2:09:38) so he ran off without me. 

Ian and my feet at the start

I was determined to run my own race, following my own pace and learning to be with myself over the long time and distance.  I had my pacing chart from my January marathon which had me at 10km in 70 minutes and 21.1kms in 2:24.  I was 4 minutes ahead on both targets and was thrilled.  I figured I had enough time for a loo-stop at 21 and then even had 2 more “pit-stops” in the second half.  I stuck to my 9 Run/1 Walk strategy and really enjoyed the rest time.  I averaged a walk of at least 100 metres each time.  I also stuck to drinking coke at each watering point as well as a few sips of water each time.  I also had a small bit of an almond/cranberry energy bar at the 24km and 32km marks. So, the nutrition aspect of the race was sorted and I feel confident that I have a handle on it. 

The weather was good, the route was shady for the first half of the two loops. The second loop wasn’t as shady and I need to pour water from my sachets over the back of my neck. This led to a very wet skirt – so much so that it was slapping against the back of my legs when I ran.  It wasn’t enough to irritate me but enough to notice.

I was anticipating finding Johann of RunTallWalkTall along the route.  I was very surprised that it took me 32kms to do that.  I saw him in front of me and it took a while to get close enough to call his name.  I eventually caught up with him only to hear that his back was stiff.  He told me that I was doing well and sure to make my 5 hours and then sent me on my way.  It was a boost to have him say that as he is a veteran ultra running with loads of experience.  So, off I confidently went.

At 32km I knew I had it in the bag, so to speak and I was elated.  I was confident that I could do the last 10kms in the 82 minutes remaining.  It‘s amazing what a confidence boost it was to know that I have gone the distance before and therefore had no need to worry if I was capable.

I reached the last km feeling great and was surprised to see my husband on the side of the road about 500 metres from the stadium entrance.  (I had told him and my dad not to find me at all – I wanted to be on my own!)  He ran with me for a bit until I asked him to get me a cream soda for the finish, which he duly did as I entered the stadium for the last few hundred metres around the field.  My dad was standing on the left hand side, just before the finish banner and he had a big smile on his face.  Apparently he had been huffing and puffing and checking his watch for the last half hour.  It was making my husband so uncomfortable that he had left to find me on route.  As I got thru’ the time-keeping, collected my medal and t-shirt, I grabbed the can of Cream soda and drank it in one huge gulp.  I was incredibly thirsty and needing a taste other than coke.  I sat at the club tent for a while just to gather myself and experience the moment. (and to rest my weary legs if the truth be told. My calves felt solid and incredibly heavy and I really only got up to walk because I was concerned that if I didn’t get up, I might not be able to get up when I did want to)

On the way out of the venue, I stopped at the Comrades Marathon tent and filled in my qualifying time!!! 

My feet, dirty and in need of a shower

It was a long and hot drive home, and it was a relief to step into the swimming pool and cool off my legs for 20 minutes before my shower. My feet were very dirty, but
“dirty gets clean”.

I will do a race rating during the week, but already I know the Vaal Marathon will score well.


Paul said...

Awesome! Congrats on your smooth, well executed race!

Comrades is probably going to get added to my bucket list.

(PS I've been to S.A before but that was before I was running)

Kate said...

Wonderful, Staci! Way to take everything you learned from your first marathon and improve on it. I'm so happy for you. Sounds like a great race!

JK said...

What a fantastic race for you. I love how you ran your race and stayed with your plan. Congrats!

Johann said...

Fantastic Staci, well done! I knew you would do it. As I said you would be fine if you stayed ahead of me. I eventually got rid of my stiff back and just cruised home for a 04:59:13. Comrades it will be! Congratulations!

Paul said...

Hi again Staci,

I tagged you with the "Stylish Blogger award". If you want to keep it going check out my recent post.

Congrats again!
How are your quads today?