Ross Marathon Debrief

I’m so proud of Louise and I.  Today we ran Ross Marathon.  Four 10.55km laps equalling 42.2kms.  Toombs Lake Road is a challenge four times over.  There is always a headwind of some kind but today there was a full on roar.  The Marathon started at 8am.  The first lap was ok.  The second lap was still ok but the wind was getting stronger and stronger.  By the time laps three and four came around the wind was such that runners had to bend into the wind and take off caps.  But we did it; we finished.


Grant, Louise, Unsporty and Janette at the start. It was cold!

Grant, Louise, Unsporty and Janette at the start. It was cold!

It would’ve been so easy to bow out after completing lap three.  I was hoping to be heading out for lap four at 11:30am.  It was 11:35am so only slightly behind. I didn’t bow out.  I pulled up my big girl pants (with help from my friend) and kept on going.

But let’s go back to lap one.  Lap one was great.  The first 10kms of a marathon is always great.  Even in a small field there is atmosphere and it felt great to be putting the training into use for this long anticipated event.

Up the small hill looking happy...first lap!

Up the small hill looking happy…first lap!

That's the hill...after having the stuffing blown out of me I walked this hill each lap. It felt like a rest.

That’s the hill…after having the stuffing blown out of me I walked this hill each lap. It felt like a rest.

There was a bell to ring at the top. I fair old clanged it the last time ooops. I don't remember this bell when I've run at Ross previously.

There was a bell to ring at the top. I fair old clanged it the last time ooops. I don’t remember this bell when I’ve run at Ross previously.

Lap two was pretty good too.  Not everyone loves laps, but there are benefits to laps.  For example I got into the groove of eating two jelly beans at the 4km mark where the first drink stop was. Then I had a gel going down the hill before the second drinks stop.  It was easy to keep track of fueling.  And today I feel I can say I got my fueling pretty much right.

Lap three was where the wind really started to build up.  Going out to the turn around point was ok, the tail wind was great but knowing that soon runners would have to turn around and run into it was hard to cope with.  Put the smile on.  Check the posture.  Say a positive mantra.  Keep running.  Usually the wind dies down after the hill.  Not so today.  It continued to blow all the way through until we got to the main road.  That was 5kms of headwind on each 10.55km lap.

Ross Marathon is known for the headwind, but this year the wind was the strongest it’s ever been.  Several veterans of the event made this observation.  This is the fourth year I’ve run at Ross (I’ve done the half twice and a team marathon once) and I’ve never known it to be this windy.  Even the 10km runners and half marathoners were finding it tough going.

While I was running Janette and Grant were being support crew.  I so appreciated seeing them.  Pauly was there too and he was out for my first and last laps.  Janette had gels ready so I didn’t have to carry much at all.  The drink stops were perfect and due to the coolness of the day I didn’t carry a hydration pack.  I am so blessed to have such a supportive friend.  Janette is the best support crew ever!

Pauly worked on the farm, zoomed in and managed to come today and ran the 21.1km half marathon. He is now back out at work. He's a good man and wonderful husband. His time wasn't great due to feeling tired and that wind (have I mentioned the wind?). 1:56:00 ish.

Pauly worked on the farm this morning, zoomed in and managed to come today and ran the 21.1km half marathon. He is now back out at work. He’s a good man and wonderful husband. His time wasn’t great due to feeling tired and that wind (have I mentioned the wind?). 1:56:00 ish.

As I went round and into lap four there was Janette with an energy drink and my brand new bluetooth headset.  Yes, I know, not good to try something new on a run.  But oh my goodness.  The music was great, it lifted me up and made the last lap fun (as fun as one can have trying to run in front of an energetic and strong wind machine).  One of my aims for this marathon was not to allow myself to go down into that unhappy pit that is so easy to do.  I wanted to stay bright and positive all the time.  And I did!  My strategies worked.

While I was running I thought about many things.  It’s a lonely road and not many runners so there is plenty of time to think.  Fortunately I quite like my own company so me and my thoughts buzzed away…

  • I remembered the lovely wishes that Sam sent me, I thought about them quite a lot actually, they were a real boost.
  • I thought about the convicts who had been here 200 years ago and how hard they worked and that they would think running a marathon would be much nicer than the things they had to do.
  • I remembered The Canadian and British Cheer Squads.  They were busy little bees popping up all over the place with enthusiastic cheering.
  • I thanked myself for remembering my black headband;  the wind might’ve tried to remove my running cap but my headband worked a treat.
  • I reminded myself that it is a privilege to be healthy and fit and that running is a gift.  Particularly I thought of a post the CeeJayKay wrote recently about loving the run.  She made a lot of sense to me and I kept going back to the essence of that post.
  • I thought about the lovely Julie (a fellow blogger) and how much it is her dream to run a marathon one day.  I love her blog, it’s real and encouraging. I wished her lots of dreams come true while I was running.
  • And I had fun looking at all the half marathon runners to see who I knew, I didn’t do much cheering but I waved and thumbed up instead.  The wind took my breath away if I tried to talk.  Yes, really, it was that windy!
Louie running the last 500m with me.

Louie running the last 500m with me.

I love finish lines!

I love finish lines! This one taunts the runner with each lap…so close but so far.

Give me my ginger beer and no one gets hurt!

Give me my ginger beer and no one gets hurt!

Finally I got to the finish line.  I was so pleased!  There was Louise already long finished and ran the last 500m with me.  I kept my happy on the whole time until I crossed the line and said a rather rude word to describe the wind and sat on an ancient sandstone curb stone made by the convicts and demanded my ginger beer (a bit like a petulant two year old I was).  Once the hydration and sugar kicked in I was almost back to my old self.

That wind blew the stuffing out of me.  It was so hard to run in it that I made the tough call to walk way more than I wanted to.  I simply don’t know how the really speedy people managed to huff and puff and suck air into their lungs in that awful roaring wind!

I opened this post saying that I am proud of Louise and I.  Louise ran that windy course in 4:02:00.  Imagine what she might have done if the wind had been more civilised?  I ran the course in 4:57:22.  Both our times are not much more than our Gold Coast Marathon times.  We ran good times in trying conditions.  I am proud of Louise and I.   Louie and Dewey, we rock!

The amazing Louise, our Louie, ran that windy course in 4:02:00. She is amazing!

The amazing Louise, our Louie, ran that windy course in 4:02:00. She is amazing!

Louise and I have run three marathons in 2016.  I’m so proud of us.  As always I want to STRESS that if I can build up to this sort of training then anyone can.  Be sensible with the 10% increase rule.  Get some good running shoes.  Read up and / or join a group.  Running is for us unsporty types if you really want to have a go.  Chip away at your dreams.  Don’t give up. Runner’s high happening here.  Did I say I’m proud of Louie and I?  Two ordinary small town ladies.  One who runs like a gazelle and the other who runs more like a tortoise.  But we both crossed that finish line and we are both marathoners.

If I can do this, you can too!

Finished! A photo in front of the famous Ross Bridge.

Finished! A photo in front of the famous Ross Bridge.  What a day.  We did ourselves proud.  Bring on that Ultra!

Happy running 🙂

Ps Oh dear, sorry for the long post!  All photos taken by Janette (apart from the one she’s in, Pauly took that with Janette’s camera).


36 thoughts on “Ross Marathon Debrief

  1. Well done Annie and Louie! I was thinking of you this morning and am excited to read your post. You both did a great job, well done! It sounds like a tough run in that wind.

    As always, Annie, your blog is inspiring. I have 6 weeks until Melbourne Marathon, and I will think about the conditions you ran in today when the going gets tough.

    Congratulations! And all the very best for your next adventure! Can’t wait to read about the Ultra, you are amazing!

    • Thank you Megan, you are so lovely to say the things you do. All the best for Melbourne Marathon. I loved it last year! The atmosphere was so good!!! Lots of people cheering and bands to listen to. All the very best. Go out and smash it lovely Megan!!! Bruny Island Ultra in a team is wonderful. I bet your running buddies would LOVE a trip to Bruny Island to run it together. Come one year and do the team and then you’ll be going solo the next!

  2. Great effort out there today, always nice to see you at these events! That wind sure was a tough one, toughest I have experienced for this particular run, but a good day still.

    • Thanks so much Sam and very well done to you too. You didn’t look like you were having trouble in that fierce wind, you were running so well! It was a great day and good to support a local event. I appreciated your encouragement out there very much.

  3. Woo hoo – well done girlies!!!!! So very proud of the ‘ducks’ today – very trying conditions out there today but you hung in there and got the job done. When you think about it – all goals were achieved – how amazing is that!!!!!! To only be a few minutes out from your Gold Coast times is absolutely AMAZING – you had that hill 4 times AND that wind!!!!!!! I wasn’t even running today but I, too, could go on about that wind!!!!!!!!!!!
    Can’t wait to be out on the track again with you both.

    • Thank you lovely Janette. You are an angel!!! And walking 11.7km; being a support crew is a big job. I can’t wait for you to be out with us again either and I am hoping that I can support you on a goal run sometime very soon!

  4. GREAT JOB! You and Pauly are such inspiration! Head winds are most annoying especially when you are tired! I always have music for motivation – luckily the cows and horses don’t complain about my singing😊

  5. Fantastic effort under tough conditions, your physical and mental training certainly paid off.

  6. Anniebabes and Louise you are SO inspiring… to girls totally rock this whole marathon thing!!!! so proud of you, so proud! Thank you for mentioning my blog post… keep loving it babes… love you too! xxx

  7. We did do a great Job out there in that terrible wind it would have been so easy to stop on that last lap, that’s when the mental part of the training kicks in and a growling at by your friend when you want to stop and have a good cry and a cuddle 🙈 It worked I got angry and finished on a high. Thanks for the hard words and for being a great running buddy 😄 One week off and into Bruny Trainning,can’t wait. Thanks for all your support Janette is fantastic to think you would give up most of your Sunday to come and cheer us on. Fantastic Marathon Dewey you rock xo

    • Oh dear. I didn’t write about growling at you! As long as it worked. You inspire me with your ability to keep on going even though the hurt and pain is overwhelming. I would really like to reach that point where I can run the whole way like you do. Melbourne was the only time that I have. I’m so proud of you Lovely Louie! And you came 5th. That is awesome! One week off and then Bruny training starts…I’m looking forward to a chatty run and hearing about the tips Matt gave you. We both rock! I’m so proud of us. I could burst! xxx

  8. Yay!!! So proud of you Annie. I would have had to have a good hard cry in such wind. I loved the way you had such a reserve of positive thoughts to get you through. Those crazy Canadian Canucks were definitely cheering. Bravo and good for Pauly in light of his marathon of work at the farm. Big hugs across the miles and so glad the music helped!

    • Thank you so much Sue 🙂 I heard you alright! I simply can’t believe I snuck in under 5 hours. It really was tough out there. It was heart breaking to see a few people stooped and demoralised for that last lap. Be happy no matter what I say. Running is something that I don’t have to do so I may as well be happy doing it. The big test will be Bruny Island. I’ll not forget how down Pauly go from 50kms onwards. I hope to be sore and tired but feeling happy to be out there making a dream come true. Thanks again for your support. It means so much!

      • It’s amazing to be under 5 hours in that wind Annie! So impressive. We are so lucky to be well enough to be active. Each day a richer gift on this planet as the clock ticks on. Bruny will be a challenge but just one Km at a time. The Canadians will be cheering wildly.

  9. Kudos on finishing a tough race in tough conditions. You called that a small hill? Yikes. I’d be crying knowing I had that nasty bit of work to do 4(!!) times.

    Congrats!! 🙂

  10. Fantastic effort Annie – you really are amazing and Louise too! Congrats for a great time and I heard it was a bit windy! All the best for your next run, I’m cheering you on at all times.

  11. Hi Annie, congratulations on your third marathon ( so far ) THIS YEAR! What an amazing achievement☺️ Thank you for thinking of me and mentioning me! As you know I’m back to basics this year, just trying to build up a strong base – but you never know what next year holds! Running into the wind is hard work – but isn’t it great when it lifts you from behind !!!! I think your last statement is true too ( who knew that Harry Potter was so wise😆) I hope that your recovery is going well juliexx

  12. Huge congratulations Annie. A wonderful and inspirational blog, as always. You have such tremendous mental strength and positivity. I hope you’re enjoying your rest and recovery now. 👏🎉

  13. What an amazing result in difficult conditions, all 3 of you did so well! I’ve only done the 10kms at Ross and can’t imagine doing a marathon up and down that long road, that “little” hill was challenging enough running it twice but you had it 4 times over 42 kms, what a good idea the little bell was at the top.
    3 marathons this year, you really are my inspiration, I’ve not run for 6 months now but hopefully one day I’ll be back at it, motivated by you and your never give up attitude xxx
    I hope you are enjoying some rest before your next adventure begins 🍷💤🍫

    • Thanks Sam, the bell was fun (sort of like a death knell the first time!). I really hope you get back running soon. You are an inspiration to me! Training for the next adventure starts on Monday. I have a bit of a sore knee courtesy of an over zealous calf on Monday. I’m looking forward to going for a little run on Sunday (hopefully).

  14. Well done – I imagine it’s hard enough to run a marathon but I hate running in the wind so you have my admiration for not giving up once that started! And you’re right, with the right attitude, we can do anything. I am the child who made excuses not to do cross country but I have my sights set on a marathon. One day!

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