Canberra marathon story

Ah the marathon what a beast you are indeed. A mighty glorious beast that I love. 

I flew into Canberra on Saturday morning and the picture perfect Autumn weather thrilled me. Crisp air, golden and red autumn leaves that we just don’t see in Brisbane filled me with good vibes. 

   

     

I walked to the start line and got my bearings for race day and swung by Maple and Clove for some lunch. 

Stocked up on a chicken and sweet potato open sandwich with a side salad for the win. 

   

 

Dinner in Kingston at La Dolce Vita and I had my all time favourite spaghetti Bolognaise. I also managed to not stuff myself stupid or give myself a food baby like I have previously. Again winning. 

 

 I even managed a fairly decent nights sleep which is incredible pre race. All the race gear ready for the morning helps.

 

 The morning of… Nervous, calm, nervous again. Fueled up with white bread, honey, coffee, Gatorade endurance and a banana. 

 

 Got myself ready. 

 

 Got myself layered up. This Queensland gal take no chances with cold weather clearly…

 

 The race set up was brilliant. Bag drop was so easy and the kind ladies gave me two bags since I had every single layer I own on and it didn’t fit into the one dedicated gear bag.

 

 Even the toilets were good. Well other than the men’s and ladies really joining up. And boys you really are gross. 

Found my brilliant pacer Andrew at the start line as the pace groups were so well marked. And then we were off!

The first few kms up around Parliament House are stunning and offer gorgeous views and of course you feel good. Great in fact! A cold morning and wet grass meant I couldn’t really feel my toes but hey I’ve got this marathon in the bag I say.

And keep running… 10km in and I get chatting to a gent from Sydney who has done the Six Foot Track marathon a bunch of times and some ridiculous marathon in Interlarken in Switzerland. He tells me there is just one hill… The whole race that is. Yep not for me. 

In our little pace group we have Dee who is from South Africa and lives in Mackay and she is using this marathon to qualify for Comrades and head back to South Africa for the first time in six years. Pacer Andrew is doing Comrades again for the fourth time.

That’s what I love about the martahon. Running is an individual sport but oh it’s a team effort. 

These friends we make along the way like Dee offer words of encouragement. Like at the 24km mark and my hip hurt and I told Dee and she said relax and keep going. And I did. 

Pacer Andrew gave me the best possible advice though that somehow managed to work wonders. He said that’s pain not fatigue, there is a difference, you can block pain. 

And I managed to do just that and kept with them right to the end. 4 gels, 1 cliff shot block and an entire packet of snakes later and I was done.

Don’t get me wrong I had plenty of bad thoughts: why am I doing this? Man of the House told me to have fun, this is not bloody fun. This is awful. I want to cry. This is why people do 10km’s. Even a half. Oh god how am I ever going to do a fast half at Gold Coast when this is so hard. You’re an idiot, why on earth would you think you could ever qualify for Boston in your lifetime (recent all time running goal I decided)… 

But you put your big girl pants on, suck it up and keep going. And the you hit 37km and think well I’ve come this far. And then 38km you’re still on pace and then a nice hill at 39km and you know you’re going to make it. 

Pacer Andrew says to take off so we do. Dee the South African flies to the finish and I’m just behind her with the BIGGEST smile on my face and a rush of adrenaline to bring it home in 3.58.55!!!! And then you cross that finish line and you’re happy and you want to cry and you survived and you just did this really hard thing and feel on top of the world. 

And that’s why I run marathons. And will continue to run them. 

 

A banana, coffee and Emma and Toms bar in me right away and I hobbled back to the hotel to freshen up and check out. 

Lunch back at Maple and Clove included the good fats my dietitian said to have – salmon, quinoa and egg salad with sweet potato fries. 

 

  

  

 

And then a continuous stream of snacks and a flight home. And then the I just ran a marathon I’m going to eat whatever the hell I want feast…. The Smoke BBQ hot wings, shared wagyu beef burger and pulled pork burger, fries, champers, ice cream and chocolate. I actually had serious water retention going on and could barely fit it all in. Anyone else had this?

 

  

  

  

I will say this when choosing marathon. Do what you want. Don’t listen to others. Each race is its own experience and different for every runner. 

People raved about Melbourne to me and it was hot, the water stops terrible and bloody hard. Hey I’m doing it again but it still sucked… Let’s hope second time lucky

People told me Canberra was awful, hilly and had bad water stops. I loved it. Water stops were great and I loved the hills. Gives your legs a break and use different muscles going up and down. So each to their own when picking your race. Make up your own mind. 

I’ll be back Canberra. I loved you. 

I’m walking around okay today. Stiff but okay. A massage and some rest and I’ll be good as new. 

And no work so HAPPY MONDAY!

What to pack for a marathon?

Packing for a marathon is a marathon in itself. I admit I am an over-packer at the best of times, let alone when facing 42.2km away from creature comforts.

One lesson unfortunately thanks to some good friends losing luggage before a race, is that race gear goes in my carry on bag. 

So carry on:

  • Shoes and socks 
  • Garmin and charger
  • Skins
  • Singlet
  • Over shirt
  • Race bib
  • Visor
  • Fuel belt
  • Race underwear 
  • Body glide (can’t have enough)
  • Gloves (given frozen temps)
  • Gels, snakes, cliff shots
  • Carmens and Emma and Tom’s bars

  

Now for luggage or basically all the other stuff I know I can live without:

  • Spare run gear
  • More body glide
  • Travel foam roller
  • All warm gear – tracks, hoodie, jacket, throw away jumper
  • Spare snakes
  • Actual clothes for non race activity
  • Pyjamas
  • Recovery skins
  • Compression socks
  • Toiletries
  • Bandaids, strapping tape, scissors 
  • Panadol and anti-inflammatories

  

When I arrive in Canberra I’ll stock up on Gatorade, bananas, white bread and honey for pre race breakfast. 

So I think that’s it… Now just get myself used to the freezing cold and I’ll be right.

I’ve been feeling good all week but the nerves are starting to set in. 

Thankfully Man of the House is always full of good advice – he says I’ve already won. A reminder that two and a bit years ago I was a smoker, wine and junk food lover and I’m now onto my second marathon. 

  

A reminder that I do this for fun, training is done and to go and have the fun like I always do. No matter what happens on Sunday I’ll be winning at life. Plus I think these nerves will just mean these little legs of mine will be ready to run! 

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Running a speed session after two days of eating not so great food and drinking beer is not very fun. This runner is starting to understand that perhaps fueling the body properly is a much better idea and makes you feel really awesome. I was in struggle town today. 9.5km’s all up with 400m and […]

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