Thursday, November 12, 2009

Marysville Half Marathon

I had a great weekend of running, on Saturday morning I ran 10km with a good friend who got me started running in fun runs and on Sunday morning I ran my 14th half marathon - the Marysville Half Marathon.

On Saturday morning I arranged to catch up with my friend Leah and go for a run. It was kind of coming full circle. Leah and I both grew up in Wonthaggi, then we shared a house a Melbourne and ironically we ended up sharing a house in Jackson, Mississippi where we both worked at the University of Mississippi Medical Centre. It was in 1999 when I took up running seriously, I had been to an event downtown and happened to watch a 5km fun run. It was really interesting for me to see that while there were definitely some very speedy people, there were also lots of people who weren't quite so fast. After going home and chatting with Leah we decided that maybe we could do a fun run together. The very next weekend Leah and I completed our very first 5km fun run in downtown Jackson. That's all it took having someone to encourage me to run and I have never looked back I even placed second in my age class!

The really great thing now with running with Leah is that this time I am encouraging her and supporting her goal of completing her first marathon in Pittsburgh next year - if all goes well I plan on being there to run with her on the day! We had a lovely run along the rail trail although it was getting a little warm. We finally reached the 5km turn around point and as always felt great knowing over I was over half way finished.

I spent the rest of Saturday drinking lots of water because I wanted to stay well hydrated for the half marathon on Sunday which I knew was going to be warm. Although the Marysville run started at 10.30am on Sunday morning, it was a 1.5 hour drive and we needed to get there earlier to pick up our race numbers so that meant a 7.30am departure time. Luckily for me, my running buddy Rob was happy to drive which was nice. The day was already starting to warm up by the time we reached Marysville and met up some fellow Gunn Runners. This was the inaugural running of the Marysville running festival to help support the community after the devastating fires on Black Saturday in February this year. The organisers were hoping to attract a 1000 runners - they got 3000 runners all entering to show their support of the community.

The start of the half-marathon was provided by the ringing of a bell - another survivor of the bushfire. We took off down the road and then turned onto a trail section, it wasn't until we turned around from the trail section that I realised that the entire section had been gradually rising. This made the return section downhill which was lovely - until it started rising again!. The organisers had told us there was one section that was quite steep going down hill - although it was only a short section of about 100m, but suggested we might want to walk it. I got to the steep section and really enjoyed going down fast!

We then followed the creek bed for a while, ran past the football and started the final 4km climb up to Stevenson's Falls. This is where things started getting tough with the incline and the heat. I finally made it the falls, which sadly had been dramatically altered by the fires and unfortunately hasn't recovered with the landscape still quite barren with very little regrowth. The Falls themselves were still flowing and I was happy to turn around and complete the last 4km section - running downhill!

I was feeling the effects of the heat and the hills - but I didn't feel as bad as I had while running the Alice Springs Marathon. This time when I had to stop and walk it wasn't so hard to start back running again, in comparison to my run in Alice Springs where my mind was willing to continue running but my body refused. I knew I would finish this event running and I did, crossing over the finish line in a Personal Worst time of 02:00:45!!!

Interestingly enough my heart rate data show clearly why I was struggling, with an average heart rate of 163bpm and max heart rate of 171 bpm. When I compare this to my heart rate after running the Melbourne Half Marathon 4 weeks ago where my average heart rate was 154bpm and max heart rate was 163bpm you can clearly see that I was working harder 10bpm harder, phew there is a good reason why I was tired!

My other news of the moment is that I have got my flights organised, I leave Melbourne on December 5th and arrive in Chile on the 6th. I also bought some mittens - since they are better protection against frostbite than gloves. I found it particularly amusing when reading the blurb about the gloves that they come with a built in 'suede snot wipe'.

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