In the last year I had done a 50mile, 2 x 50k and a 45k trail races but yet to do a 42.2k on the road..but now finally I can say I’ve done a road Marathon!
I always thought I was made for the marathon distance- as a child I never had much top speed but could hold a solid pace without much drop off..my 5k to 21.1k pace per kilometre was pretty similar! I also liked the mentality of running hard for that distance and after my success on trail runs of similar distance I was keen to try run hard for the 42.2km event…and it was a change from the hike adventures that often accompany trail events.
I am a runner and a racer and love how I can mix up my events to keep me mentally and physically challenged!
And although I had very interrupted prep and my foot was still only 80% I was excited to give this race a good crack. Before I started I set the goal of 4min ks but decided I would be happy to be under 3hrs (first ever attempt and with next to no speed work!) And if I broke 2.50 I would be stoked.
I had chose this event because it was flat fast and warm and knew a big field of good runners would be there..I do well in events where I can be dragged along in a group and knew it would help get me to as good a time as possible.
I started smart but strongly- i knew an even race was key to a good marathon and that things didn’t really start to the last 40minutes- with a big group of runners I rolled through 10k in just over 39minutes and although a bit scared I had started a bit fast I decided at that point to just run free and fearlessly..I felt good and controlled and was ready to fight to the end.
I tacked onto a man named Greg at halfway and for the next 10ks we rolled through comfortably- I was surprised at how controlled and strong I felt.
Through the first 30ks I had spurts of feeling amazing and small stretches of struggle but at those points I focused on relaxing my breathing, changed my steps…either strode out or increased my cadence to change the muscles I was using, or used the crowd or thought about my Grandad who was in hospital recovering from an op and would have loved to be there.
Through 32k and the start finish area and I was still strong, had lost Greg a felt a bit nauseated from the gels but energy was ok.. an with only 10ks to go I was well and truely on track for a good run! However I was now in uncharted waters and wondering if my quick start might catch up to me before the end. The nausea increased my legs started to get heavy and the road became lonely and I held tough to 36kms before things started to go south- the nausea increased and I struggled to down my gel. My legs got heavier and my body protested at my attempts to maintain pace- I felt light headed and knew that dreaded wall was being hit- my lack of top end speed work was showing and those last 5kms were going to be long!
I lost maybe 90 seconds in the last 5ks but at the time I had nothing to give and knew as long as I kept putting 1 foot in front of the other I was going to make it. I bargained with myself to have 20 minutes more and those last ks were a hot and heavy struggle. The building crowd helped and though the final 250m to the end seemed like a kilometre I ran strong to the carpet and saw the clock tick over to 2.49 as I collapsed over the finish…typical give it everything Steph finish!
Assisted to the med tent I felt nauseated and had instant deep bruising pain in my hamstrings and butt but I was satisfied..that time was so much more than I had expected!
Sick bag in hand I hobbled the 500m to the tent to be greeted by mum and dad. I was still sickly but satisfied and managed to see James pass by and the rest of the Sapphire Coast crew. Special mentions to this group…
-Glenn .. captain calf sleeves..with his 3.05 run a huge credit to him and all his hard work…I had run a lot of June Sunday runs with the ever happy consistent and hardworking Glenn and after multiple calf injuries was so happy for him to get such a good result!
-Tammy and Cath the 2 consistent ever smiling team awesome who ran a solid 4.30 …Graham who did a PB in the half after straining his hamstring less than 1 month ago and having very interrupted training…Clare, Jen, Kim and Brad excellent efforts in the half… Bill and Belinda for the cheering and support…
And to James…proving he still has it doing 3.24 off mainly beer and his freakish athletic and mental abilities.
Mum and Dad for making the journey and supporting me with everything I do..I can’t thankyou enough!
James for being there and running even if jw had no say in the matter.
Brendan and Upcoaching for your coaching and guidance..I don’t think I’m the easiest person to coach…but bring on some speed now!
Sapphire Coast runners near and far for the ongoing support, friendship and inspiration- my running family.
Salomon- for kitting me out – proving trail and road can mix…my sonicpro 2 shoes were the bomb! See the Salomon page for my marathon gear review.
So I am now on the plane to Cairns with James for a weeks holiday..to find Nemo, recharge my solar batteries and plan the next step- one thing is definate…Dubai Marathon in Jan 2018 is likely my next marathon with a sub 2.40 definately on the cards!
Thanks for all your support!
Follow me on strava and Instagram.
Get outside and play.