22 May 2007

The Great Ocean Road Marathon

I ran a 10K on Sunday in 58:30. Not to bad, considering I still had nearly 32K to go.

Add it all up, and I participated in the Great Ocean Road Marathon, a leisurely stroll from Lorne to Apollo Bay. The run is shown on the map above. To view the full map at Google Maps, click here. Check out the satellite view and zoom in on parts to get an idea what I saw. As you can see here, my final time was 4:29:17. For my first marathon, I'll take it.

Especially considering how difficult training has been for me this year. My training runs have been significantly slower than in the past and I have been dealing with nagging injuries the whole time. To be honest, I was pretty discouraged heading into the race, and had resigned myself to enjoying the ocean views and trying to finish before the road opened back up. I had originally set a goal of 4:30, so to actually beat that after all the difficulties felt great.

And the views were great—the road traces the ocean the entire way, weaving back and forth. The only exception is a stretch about 500 metres surrounded by eucalypts, but that is where the koalas are hiding. I spotted five. If you look at the elevation chart further down, you'll notice that some parts of the road are almost at sea level, while others are quite high up, so you enjoy both the sounds and spray of the surf and the wide, panoramic views. It's almost enough to make you forget that your knees are killing you.

Because of my difficulties during training, I did not intend to run the entire distance. So I was quite surprised when I did, excepting brief walks (30-60 seconds) through the drink stations every 5K and walking up two steep climbs at about 27K and 33K, about two minutes each.

Of course, I don't mean to imply that I didn't want to walk, or that I wasn't hurting. At the end of the race, I rated my body pain like this:

  1. hips
  2. left big toe (blisters)
  3. knees
  4. feet
Other than that, I felt great.

After three days, I am pretty well healed. My only remaining concern is the toe. Turns out, the blisters on the side were nothing. The real problem is the blister that developed under the nail—I think I'm going to lose it. Pictures, anyone?

Below are a couple of my charts from the race. The first is my 'lap time' for each kilometre and the second is the previously mentioned elevation chart. These charts (and many others) and the map at the top are courtesy of my Garmin Forerunner 205 (also pictured above) and MotionBased. If you run or cycle, I would highly recommend one of these. Yeah, they are a little pricey, but absolutely worth it. It tracks your distance, time, pace, bearing, elevation, calories burned, etc. You can set it to auto pause when you slow down or stop. You can 'race' yourself against a previous run or a preset pace. It can auto lap at preset distances, times or points. Basically, it's like having a state-of-the-art treadmill on your wrist with one exception: while it is a little bigger than a standard watch, it is definitely smaller than a treadmill.

Plus, you can load all that data onto your computer, get all these charts, graphs and maps. You can create specialised training sessions or trails on your computer and load them to the Forerunner. I could go on and on—just go to the websites and check it out yourself. And tell them Chris sent you.

Time chart

Elevation chart
Key stats from the race:
Distance: 41.66K
Time: 4:29:17
Minimum elevation: 1 m
Maximum elevation: 72 m
Temperature: 12-16°C
Koalas: 5

Finally, supersportimages.com already has pictures from the race up. Click the link and select 'view photos' under the May 20 Great Ocean Road International Marathon—my bib number was 139. In one picture I show a five for the koalas. In another, I flash a 'hook 'em Horns'. There are a few other good shots with ocean backgrounds.

I said I was discouraged before the race, but I'm glad I did it. I didn't expect it, but I do have a sense of pride and accomplishment about it. Will I run another marathon? I don't know—we'll see after my toenail grows back.


Kevin Hayward said...

Chris, nice work on completing the marathon. That's no small accomplishment!

BTW, thanks for reading my marathon articles.

Jonathan Williams said...

Chris, Sounds like an incredible run. I'd love to train and compete for a marathon--especially one along the coast. Sounds beautiful! Loved the pictures.
-Jonathan Williams