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.
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.
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!
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!
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!
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!
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).