Three days later - legs and lungs intact - I registered.
The following weekend I found myself back in the medals (so to speak, please do not think I got a podium finish!) at one of my favourite events, the Pub2Pub. It does not start at a pub and since the renovations at the Newport Arms it no longer finishes at a pub. But the new finish is, in my opinion, far more conducive to sticking around for a brew-or-two; the finish festival, behind the surf club at Newport Beach, features a pop-up 4Pines beer garden.
This is a lovely event, despite the first bit being in calf-destroying sand along the beach at Dee Why. I finished in under an hour, which I was pleased with. That got me 58th place. At a little after 9am I had my first beer, and despite the drizzle I stayed and had a couple more with a good friend who also has this as an annual event.
It's poor form to turn up at a new job wiht a hangover, so finishing drinking by noon on the day before my first day at Blackmores seemed sensible. Don't judge me, it is one day a year!
My final run was one of the two home from work at which point I started my taper. By which I mean I didn't run for the last 10days. Normally I stop a bit further out, but this time around I felt I should get a few more miles into my legs and as I had no intention of going for a time I didn't need to be fully rested; this one was going to be treated as a long training run.
The Tuesday before race-Sunday I got a call from school saying my oldest was sick and could I collect her. If I'm honest then I'd say i should not have shoe-horned her into school because she had been barking like a seal, but she wasn't running a temperature...Anyway, collect her I did. Wednesday morning I took her to the doctor who confirmed she had a cold, said there was no point in giving her antibiotics and saw no reason to keep her out of school - my kinda doctor! So as she rapidly got on the mend I felt a familiar snottiness creeping up on me and got myself on the Lemsip. And Robitussen. And Vicks Sinex.
Situation normal then; feeling undertrained and battling a cold I went to bed on Saturday night wiht metaphoric fingers crossed that the cold I kept in my head would still be there in the morning. And lo, Sunday rolled around and although I was not feeling a hundred percent I could draw a full lungful of air.
It is an early but not too early start to the Sydney Marathon. I feel for the runners in the half, who go out at 6am, an hour earlier than the full runners. There was a c-o-l-d wind blowing on Sunday morning and many of the waiting runners were huddled behind anything they could huddle behind to get out of it; I ended up in the entrance to the car park of a nearby block of units. I should not complain too much though, because Saturday had been a mad-warm 31degrees with bushfires, before a "polar blast" brought things crashing down.
The wheelchairs went at 7am and five minutes later the marathon headed out. I was somewhere near the 3.30 pacer as the gun went but found that a bit crowded and slower than I could go, so by the time we got onto the bridge I found myself just in front of the 3.15 pacer and formulating my plan. I was always going to take it easy and aim to come home in 3.30. I'd thought that I'd do it by staying on the 3.30 bus but changed my mind because I felt OK to go out a bit quicker. So I'd stay in front of the 3.15 pacers until half way and allow myself to fade in the second half but not get overtaken by the 3.30 guys. Simples.
And that is pretty much how it panned out. I'll not dwell too much on the run because I'll end up bitching about the course (too many sharp turns, clearly created by someone who doesn't run it.) The weather turned out ot be almost perfect; there were a couple of places where the wind hit, but the course was far more sheltered than that start and the temperature was lovely. I got to half way reasonably comfortably and still nicely in front of the 3.15 guys. So I decided I'd stay in front until I got back to the city - which I did - and then that I'd try to stay in front until 32k - which I think I did. It was close run thing at the 32k mark as they bus overtook me.
With 10k to go I was having to gig a little deeper than I wanted to. At about 28k my right glute had
started to grumble and at 32k most of the rest of my right leg muscles had joined in so I felt a bit hobbley. I was likely being a bit soft as well.
The last 10k of Sydney is a trip out to Pyrmont and back. It can be quite soul destroying as when you run back through the City in the late-20s you pass about 500m from the finish line. But this time it came and went OK. Yes I was huffing and puffing, and yes I was shouting all sorts of insults at myself, but I knew I had it in the bag and I knew I'd get home - slowing up quite considerably - in under 3.30.
Just. OK, I had a bit to spare, 3.26ish. I was all sorts of aches at the end and the cold has lasted for the best part of following week. But hey, I got my medal and have put the Goldie behind me. The cold has stayed up in my head, so I should be back on the road again soon.
The men's wheelchair winner was Kurt Fearnley, who I regard as Australia's greatest athlete. In November he will be off to try and win New York for a sixth time. He is awesome. Go read about him.
And while on awesome, this weekend Eliud Kipchoge, who beat me in Berlin last year (and everyone else!) smashed the world record this year back in Berlin.
All in all, a good weekend over the full distance. Now, what do I do next...
...next I could start blogging more regularly #justsaying