Just 4 weeks left before this year's London Marathon now and yet it still seems so far away.
Week 8 didn't disappoint in terms of being eventful, that's for sure, but more of that later. After flying from Melbourne to Adelaide on Monday a good chunk of this week has involved becoming acquainted with the various non human inhabitants of South Australia, including kangarois, koalas, Tasmanian Devils, pelicans, camels but thankfully no snakes.
All the various routes used around Adelaide have been very picturesque and with the weather generally being sunny in the 22-28c range running a 70 mile week couldn't have been more pleasurable :)
Saturday saw a visit to Mount Barker parkrun approx 25 miles east of Adelaide and then Sunday involved a trip to the Murray Bridge Half Marathon, which promised to be flattish but challenging nonetheless due to various changing off road surfaces.
Week 8 of 12 (Mon 23/3 - Sun 29/3)
Mon 23/3 : 2.5 miles @ 9:01/mile (Melbourne)
Tues 24/3 : 9.0 miles @ 8:45/mile (Bel Air National Park, Adelaide)
Weds 25/3 (am) : 10.0 miles @ 9:12/mile (Sturt River Linear Park, Adelaide)
Weds 25/3 (pm) : 3.6 miles @ 9:01/mile (Mt Barker Freedom parkrun)
Thurs 26/3 : 6.21 miles @ 9:12/mile (Coast to Vines Trail, Adelaide)
Fri 27/3 : 9.0 miles @ 9:01/mile (River Torrens Trail)
Fri 27/3 : 9.0 miles @ 8:45/mile (River Torrens Trail)
Sat 28/3 : 4.0 incl Mt Barker parkrun 17:54 (3.1 miles @ 5:45/mile)
Sat 28/3 : 3.6 @ 9:01/mile (Christies Beach)
Sun 29/3 12.0 incl Murray Bridge HM 1:09:35 (11.2 miles @ 6:08/mile) (1st but DQd)
Total Mileage - 68.9 Miles
Thurs 26th March
Not strictly running related but Thursday involved the promised pre-run kangaroo cuddling. Despite the fact that I had eaten one of their relatives the previous evening they still seemed friendly enough, thankfully resisting the urge to kick or punch as severe bruising at this stage might not be particularly optimal preparation .....
The koalas were sleeping off whatever they had been up to the previous evening :
Fri 27th March - Torrens Trail Run
Friday contained two 9 mile runs along the River Torrens Trail, a path which runs for 37km from the coast through the city of Adelaide and out the other side. We ran the coast to city section and then the same in reverse later in the day. Very relaxing :)
Sat 28th March - Mount Barker parkrun (17:54)
It is becoming apparent that in Australia they like to keep their parkrun courses simple and site them in breathtaking locations. This one was no exception being a flat out and back course to the Laratynga Wetlands.
As for the run itself it was a bit surprising how good the legs felt after the 18 miles the previous day. It could have been a bit quicker too had it not been for an over exhuberant first half of 8:41. Encouraging signs.
Hannah also overcooked the first half a little but still recorded 18:29 or 5:57/mile.
Sun 29th March - Murray Bridge Trail Half Marathon (1:09:35 (1st - Or maybe not!)
Sunday was the main event of the week and a chance to see what a few sustained hard miles would feel like just 3 weeks after the Wrexham Marathon.
Knowledge of the course was limited but we knew that a good chunk of it from miles 2-8 would be on a levee bank, which sounded like compacted soil. The rest was to be a mixture of gravel, Tarmac and a few short rocky sections. One way or another it should give a reasonable feel for current fitness.
And what a gorgeous setting:
The race was new this year, being an addition to the regular 10k and 5k events, and as such had a small field of about 60 runners or so.
As we got under way I was hoping that the course would be nice and gentle for a mile or two so as to give the legs a chance to loosen up a bit. The idea was to ease into it for the first third, get a strong rhythm turning over during the second third and then see what response there was for a big push in the final third.
It was a bit wiggly to start with as we crossed the Murray Bridge but once on the levee bank it was time for a 6-7 miles of straight flat running. As I had the race lead it was just a case of switching off and trying to click into a sustainable rhythm.
The first 5k was laboured but the second 5k seemed more flowing to get to 10k in 38:24. It was feeling better the further it went so I was quite happy with events, just being careful to check with each marshall re route directions. I have been known to take wrong turns every once in a while after all ;)
After coming off the levee bank it then became quite twisty and technical but there seemed to be plenty fluorescent coats about. My only concern was that there were 10k runners on the course as well and the mixture of the two races may cause confusion, so there was a deliberate question to each marshall asking 'is this the half marathon course?'.
At one particular junction (at about 10 miles) it looked logical to turn left past a drinks station but the Marshall insisted that the Half Marathon was straight on and reiterated the point when I queried it.
Anyway, at this point the time was looking on target for 80:00-80:30 so it was going to be interesting to see if a lifting of the tempo over the last 5k could bring the time in under 80 minutes. This would be quite a result considering the running surfaces involved.
So time to get stuck in .......
The only problem was that as soon as the effort had been lifted, this appeared around the corner ....... The Finish! And it was barely past 11 miles. The clock was showing 1:09:35. Had it really been that badly under measured?
Without any delay the race organiser came over and said that the marshall had radioed him to advise that she had made a mistake and sent me the wrong way but had realised in time to send the second and subsequent runners on the correct course.
So I was disqualified there and then!
It was a bit of a struggle to comprehend how I could be leading a race by three minutes, obey all marshalling instructions and then end up disqualified for a marshalling misdirection.
It was even odder watching the prize giving as the 'official winner' picked up the trophy.
On the other hand, I'm not entirely sure what else the organiser could have done in the circumstances? The mistake was acknowledged after all and referred to as a 'mishap' in dispatches:
This was Hannah winning the ladies race, and little beknown to her at the time, 2nd overall a mere 37 seconds from winning outright in 1:24:59.
As we often say though, as long as there's a story the chances are that you'll end up remembering an event for a very long time.
And on that basis our trip to Murray Bridge is likely to linger on in the old memory cells for some time to come.
So 8 weeks now complete. The 9th week will be in Adelaide until Friday and then a flight up to Sydney to see what trouble we can get into there :)
Marathon Building Blocks:
15th Feb: 18.6 miles @ 6:16/mile
22nd Feb: 10.0 miles @ 6:04/mile
28th Feb: 3.1 miles @ 5:48/mile
28th Feb: 3.1 miles @ 5:50/mile
1st March: 13.1 miles @ 6:24/mile
8th March: 26.21 miles @ 6:23/mile
14th March: 3.1 miles @ 5:46/mile
14th March: 3.1 miles @ 5:36/mile
15th March: 20.0 miles @ 6:25/mile
21st March: 3.1 miles @ 5:45/mile
22nd March: 9.65 miles @ 6:18/mile
28th March: 3.1 miles @ 5:45/mile
29th March: 11.2 miles @ 6:08/mile)