Caboolture is an easy 45 minutes drive north of Brisbane from the airport. The event is held in the Caboolture Historical Village. This is a wonderful place were old building from around Queensland have been rescued, restored and placed here to form a quaint old time village atmosphere. Woven in the village is a 500m somewhat circular dirt track. We run on that track and for the marathon 84 laps and a bit.
I flew to Brisbane arriving about 1.00pm and was in my motel room just after 2.00pm and then rested for a few hours before leaving just after 5.00pm.
This marathon is part of a number of events of various distances and time. The big event is the 12 hours so they all start at 6.00pm Saturday night. That start time and day throws out my usual routine and the weather is usually warm and quite humid. This year was no different with 34 degrees at the start and high humidity.
The track is not quite symmetrical up one straight and down the other side with a curve at each end with one a bit longer that the other but being about 100m in length. It is very difficult to get a nice steady rhythm up with the continual changes and off course there is a lot of people running/walking at various paces and so you have to watch that as well.
I believe I am a rhythm (who isn’t). That is when I get into a good rhythm on a usual road course I can hold it well as my momentum works well for me and on occasions I can push through the fatigue and hold the momentum. On this course that does not happen.
I never run this event well mentally or physically but I come back each year to face the unique challenge the event presents. Also being relatively early in the year my fitness is not were it should or could be.
This year as is the case each year with this event I merely want to complete it with the least amount of mental and physical damage as possible. So I set my thoughts of setting out at a very conservative pace and was aiming to hold it the entire event and to have walking breaks but ones that I initiated as part of the race plan and no ones forced on me by growing fatigue. There is a large clock at the timing mat but quite frankly it does not take long before the memory is not able to hold the time from one lap to the next and so it is very much running to feel.
For me I set a max heart rate that I did not want to exceed and could monitor that easily with the Garmin. That heart rate would have me running at about 7.30 minutes per k. Not fast but taking the track and weather conditions into account for me that was comfortable and hopefully sustainable for all of or most of the 42.2k’s.
A finish just under 6 hours while not fast would be okay. Last year I blew out to 6.44 and that was one ugly run. I didn’t was that pain again so it was slow and steady for this one.
I went through halfway in 2.54 and that made a sub 6 hours very difficult unless there was minimal slow down in the second half. We all know how difficult that is. But I put me head down and prepared myself the challenge I had put myself in over the next 3 hours.
The first half plan was to run 5k take a drink and walk 250m and then run another 5k and repeat. That was working reasonably well although as the marathon went on I was drinking more often and resisting the temptation to walk other than when I was letting a drink settle. I was managing to do that. The challenge would be to do that in the second half as the fatigue began to accumulate.
My memory of the second half is not as clear as it could be. I was just willing those last 42 laps to be over. I was watching my heart rate closely but not really the pace. I considered keeping my heart rate below a level was the main aim and the pace whatever it was would just flow. But at 30k I began to make some pacing calculations. I had 24 laps to go and I needed to maintain about 8 minutes per k to finish under 6 hours.
I then to pay attending to the timing clock on each lap and knew I needed to keep on 4 minutes per lap. That could have been 4.01 or 4.59 the brain was not computing seconds that well. I kind of tuned off a bit on that and just focused on heart rate and resisting the temptation to walk other than for a drink break.
Checked the position again at 35k and did the maths and I was still needing 8 minute k’s to the end to make sub 6 hours. At least I had not lost time. Short story is that I ran the second half in about 2.03 for the 5.57 finish. I was pleased that I held my pace well over the second half and was satisfied the slow first half enabled me to hold a good pace in the second half.
In bed by 1.00 am and out of the motel and heading back to Brisbane by 4.30 am and at home in Sydney by 9.30 am.
Shoes that did not come back.