Just finished the Auckland marathon with a net time of 3:08:15. Mixed feelings really. Was adamant that I was going to finish under 3 hours, but it wasn’t to be. My excuse for not doing so will be due to a rookie mistake!
A minute before the start I was jogging on the spot and positioned up near the front (where the 3 hour runners line up). I looked down and then my stomach sank. I have forgotten to bring my timing chip! I swiftly moved to the side and jumped the metal barrier. I frantically ran to the race official who could give me a replacement timing tag. By now the race had already started, and due to this ordeal my heart was racing already! The official put on a replacement timing tag and gave me another race number.
I was now at the start line 4 minutes late and ready to race but everyone, including the walkers, had left. For the first 10 km or so my pace was quite high and erratic. Not ideal. I must have passed 2,000 or so competitors at this stage. Despite feeling amped, I would later pay for this in the second half of the course. Before the half way mark it was a real treat being able to be able to run over the harbour bridge (it is otherwise strictly for motor vehicles).
I was stonking along and reached the half way mark at 1:25. I was happy with this, but a few kms later I really started to feel my legs. I think the constant weaving between people and lack of a consistent pace must have put unnecessary stress on my legs. I realized this and eased back on the throttle. What a shame I thought, especially since the first half of the course was the hard hilly part!
Unsurprisingly it was a struggle to get to the finish line. During the last quarter of the race I had the humbling experience of having 100 or so people who I would initially sped past overtake me. Serves me right for lack of preparation and poor pacing. I sucked it up and gave it all I had in the home run. Since I had to change my race number at the start of race the announcer didn’t call out my name on the loud speaker as I crossed the finish line. This kinda sucked.
The split for the second half was 1:43, some 18 minutes slower (-21%!) than the more difficult first half. But all was not lost. I still completed the run with a respectable time and improved on my previous marathon time. The legs are quite stiff and I think I’m going to be sore for a few days. But today’s lesson was to always put the timing chip on your shoe the day before the race!