Auckland Marathon '15

Run - 30 Jan 2016

I wasn't planning to run Auckland Marathon. After completing it in 2012 and having a melt-down of a race, I didn't want to toe that line at ever again. But as it happened, I was up in Auckland for a mates' engagement party 8/9 months prior, and that's where the weird idea of running Auckland Marathon for a second time started to blossom. At the time, I was running along the waterfront – around Mission Bay – where I started picturing myself pushing the pace over the final 10k and winning NZ's biggest race. So, that's exactly what I trained for, and went into the race with the hopes I would be in the mix over the final 10.

If you've read my Gold Coast post, then you'll remember that 2 weeks out from the event my Achilles pulled, meaning I wan't able to complete the race. So, this time around, I was certain I was going to make it to the start line ready and rearing to roll... well that was the game-plan anyway.

My buildup started more or less at the beginning of August. For those of you who like milage stats my weekly totals reached:

  • 124.4km
  • 162.5km
  • 153km
  • 152km
  • 162.3km
  • 134.5km
  • 170.5km
  • 141.3km
  • 162.5km
  • 184.4km
  • 202.5km
  • 174.7km
  • 121.7km
  • 103.4 - Race Week

This 12/13 week patch was my best period of training yet, including some of the longest and most demanding workouts.  Each week I put together 2 long runs and two workouts –  of which, one was a long tempo, while the other was a long reps session.

So, two weeks out, I started to get excited. The boxes had been ticked. I'd trained really well, my workouts had gone great and I'd made it to the taper. But then, like clockwork my right quad got really sore - this lasted for 5 days. I managed to train through it, but it was hung in there, nagging at me on every run... And then, adding to my taper escapades, on the Tuesday before Sunday's race, I arrived at work to find 4 people sick... I did my best to stay away, but the head cold and sore throat flooded on. Thanks air-conditioning. An $80 trip to the pharmacy got me a bunch of goodies to gulp down, which I'm sure helped to slow the cold from escalating further. Luckily, I felt fine on the morning of race day. But, the 4 days before the race I was in mental turmoil over having to run a marathon with a cold. Having put a heap into my training, and to see it potentially get thrown away by some shitty cold, was devastating to say the least. But, I tried my best to keep my cool and not freak out (outwardly, anyway).

Race Day. To be fair, I felt fine on race day. No sign of my cold at all – coming as a huge relief. The conditions were chilly with few spots of rain and a strong wind whipping in off the harbour. And, with the addition of the race being held at the same time as the Rugby World Cup final - it was, in reflection, a crappy morning to do anything other than sit in front of the telly and cheer on the ABs, downing a few crafty brews to celebrate the occasion. This unfortunately wasn't to be.

I'm not too sure why, perhaps partly because of the conditions and partly because it was the final, but the pace went out dreadfully slow. My first km clocked 3:44. I should have really started to push the pace and run constant splits from that point on, but I sat back like the other guys and went along for a social ride – chatting to everyone we could, getting updated scores on how the AB's were going. 

At the halfway point we clocked a little over 1:16:00 which was way too slow for any of us to run super quick times. As we headed out toward St Heliers the pace started to drop – with the lead pack of 7 hitting splits of 3:20 - 3:22 per/km mark. This sudden transition in speed stitched me up, where I dropped off the pace at the 30km mark, then slugged the  final 12km home to finish 6th in 2:31 – about two minutes slower than my current PB, and about 5mins slower than what I wanted to run.

So my second attempt at Auckland was considerably better than my first. But with the slow start and quick transition, I really didn't help myself, or my style of racing for that matter. There's a good lesson in here; where I need to set a good rhythm early and keep to my goal pace if I'm to run as fast as the training suggests I can. Trying to do a negative split ain't my style.

Not too sure what's next up. I'm sure there will be plenty more marathons to come... so watch this space.