The day dawned warm with a forecast of late rain. Breakfast and preparations were first on the agenda, then we picked up Mark and headed off to the forest at Waitarere Beach.
Once we had arrived at race headquarters it was easy to collect race pack, transponder and begin last minute pre race preparations. I always like to arrive an hour before start time and this strategy worked perfectly for this race. The marathon was set to go at 7.30am and as we entered the forest it was still pretty dark although the sun was beginning to peak through.
On the Tuesday before the run I had completed my last real training with a 2 km time trial – 7mins 48 – a good time for me so I knew I was in pretty good shape. The rest of the week wasn’t exactly restful however I stood on the start line warmed up and ready for a good run. No injuries of any note and some solid training kms in the bank.
The first 6kms went by quickly. Plenty of chatter and an honest pace around 5 minutes a km. I was feeling good and had decided that I would attempt to stay around 5s or 5.15s for the whole race. So 5s it was ! Pretty soon we were down by the Manawatu River and the view was serene and tranquil. I was travelling well but had gone through my first tube of Peak Fuel pretty quickly. By halfway the time check was 1.44.09 and I had a chance for a personal best. I needed to beat 1.31 and half the job was done.
In the distance I could see three runners coming back to me and I tried to say to myself just maintain – do not surge and pick up speed – just maintain. I did not want to catch them too quickly but the first runner was caught soon and the other two at around the 30km mark. One stopped for a problem and the other hung in behind me.
As every marathon runner learns the race does not really begin until the 35 km mark and today was no different. My peak fuel was empty and I was starting to wane. About this time the runner behind me made a move at a drinks stop, blasted past and put 4 minutes on me at the finish. I chose to walk briefly three times to recover and regather then resumed running again. Three kms to go and about 14 minutes to do it to go under 3 hours 30 for the first time. I gave it a good shot but was plodding by this time. It was good though to be along the course a bit and avoid too much traffic. The track gets pretty full of runners doing the 10 km and at the latter stages of a marathon it is pretty hard weaving in and out of too many walkers. Not a problem this year !
I recovered quite well and after returning the transponder and grabbing some food I headed down to the start of the 5km race to watch Tim. He had been waiting around for his race and had taken photos for me and originally I had thought I may run the 5km race as well – but I wasnt feeling like running again just at that time ! Tim #7501 was part of a 590 strong crowd. The start was a stampede with the kids roaring off at the sound of the gun. I headed back to the finish line to catch a few of the finishers –
So there it is – another Waitarere over. I love the 2 lap couse and had a fabulous time. In hind sight I may have been able to go a little quicker but was simply too tired. I will run the next marathon in Rotorua for fun and take my Flip video along for the run weather permitting.
For the record there were 55 finishers and I was 8th. My best result at Waitarere. My time of 3.32.15 was my second best time ever about 50 seconds slower than my 2006 Waitarere time. Read the results here !