I love running, I really do. I love running with friends and I love the challenge of an event. The Melbourne Marathon Festival, friendly Half Marathon Number Four for 2014 gave all that: running, challenge and above all friends.
And what awesome weather! Melbourne weather can be like Tasmanian weather but with more extremes in temperatures. Four seasons in one day is not uncommon. But this weekend Melbourne turned on a taste of summer with beautiful warm sunny days.
Janette and I excitedly boarded the plane on Friday and then Saturday was full of shopping, eating, talking and a great dinner out with a group of Tasmanian runners. For the first time ever I had a full night sleep. I don’t sleep well before a big event but this time I did. I woke up on Sunday feeling great. I even managed to eat breakfast without that sinking nauseous feeling.
We’d been to the Expo on the Friday and collected our race packs so we were feeling good about how long it was going to take us to get there and where to go. We arrived resplendent in our garbage bags! It was chilly first thing in the morning but the forecast was for a hot day so we decided not to worry about the hassle of the bag drop – we knew we wouldn’t need to rug up after the race.
We got to the start line and found Leigh and Leanne with no trouble. I felt a bit like an old hand. I was nervous but not badly nervous, just excited nervous.
And then we were off. The course was pretty: we meandered through the city streets, out to Albert Park, then back through the city streets again. The drink stations were well organised and plentiful and the volunteers WONDERFUL! (at least the drinks were plentiful for the half marathon middle of packers).
With all the stress and tiredness of the last few weeks I decided to run to how I was feeling. I hoped to finish in 2:10:00 but if I didn’t I wasn’t going to beat myself up. I caught up with the 2:10:00 pacer with about 4kms to go and kept chugging ahead. She was just wonderful, cheering people on and making sure that us half-marathoners made way for the full marathoners. There were runners out there doing it very tough. I haven’t seen so many runners suffering from cramping before. Or runners looking so spent and weary either. I was running with 12,000 other half-marathon runners which was completely new! I couldn’t get over how bunched up on the course we were; I ran the whole way in a sea of people – all up there were over 30,000 across the different events. Did I mention it was 29ºC? It was hot!
How do I feel about this event? I was going to write in detail about the finishing chute but after pouring it all out from my keyboard and seeing how I felt written on the screen in front of me I decided to delete it. Other runners have vented their frustrations and disappointment on the Melbourne Marathon Facebook page. I shall leave it at that. I guess I have come to expect a little bit more than what was on offer and this was the most expensive event I’ve entered. I hope that the organisers take to heart the sadness that has been expressed.
As for entering again, at least I know some of the pitfalls and I know what to do to be prepared for next time. I have a feeling that the issues at the finish were due to the fact that the event didn’t finish inside the Melbourne Cricket Ground this year. Due to resurfacing, the event finished around the outside of the complex. There just didn’t seem to be enough room for everything (or enough drinks).
Overall it was a great weekend with running friends. A shot in the arm really. I had a fun time with Janette, we laughed and talked (and even got a recovery run in on Monday morning). I was really happy with my run in the heat. I love the medal and I love that I felt reasonably relaxed at the start (I didn’t even have to line up at the portaloos!) and stayed relaxed the whole way.
Thank you Janette for a wonderful weekend xxx
I am very happy with my run.
Friendly Half Marathon Number Four? Done! It was challenging, it was friendly and it was another wonderful opportunity to run. One more to go for 2014 and the only way is up! Five weeks until Point to Pinnacle!
Happy running 🙂
PS She’s back!!!! Louise and her family are back from six weeks of touring Central Australia and the wild west. Hill repeats on Wednesday here we come.