Well, it's now four days out from marathon number 5. The first one was in 2009; then 2011; 2012; 2013, and now 2014. As a mere hobby-jogger I refuse to do more than one marathon a year - it wouldn't be healthy for my sanity or the sanity of those around me!
I've learnt new things with every marathon cycle. Things that range from 'when I try to take in a gel I feel like throwing up so this invention called shot blocks is a lifesaver', to 'don't steal your sister's shorts', to quite simply that I CAN finish a marathon at all. Let alone in less than five hours. Don't laugh.
This time round? I've focused more on the process than the outcome. (As Holly put it - "Well, you'll have over four hours of process, so that'd be a good thing to channel.") Last time round it was all about the sub-five or die. Which is more entertaining than slowly and methodically making small changes to training, but, you know...kind of a crapshoot.
And so here is the theoretical race plan.
- Take a shot block every 5km or 30 minutes.
- Take a short (1 to 2 minutes) walk break every 10km.
- ABSOLUTELY NO FASTER than 6:22/km pace for the first half.
- I am allowed to run/walk the last quarter if I am cramping as usual. (I will probably cramp.)
I have no time goals except for 'maybe finish under 5 hours again?' Nobody cares about my race time but me anyway, and I don't care so long as everyone has a good time and I get cake at the end...
So far this trip to the Gold Coast has been remarkably amusing in all sorts of ways.
First at the immigration and customs line, one of the security officers asked me (because you have to be over 16 to go through the e-passport gates on your own) "You look very young - are you sure you're over 16?"
To be fair to her, it was 8am and I had just got off the red-eye and I had my glasses on and my hair in pigtails and she probably hadn't had any coffee yet.
What I thought: Aw, I look 16? That's cute...I'm closer to twice that, honey.
What I said: I'm definitely over 16, but thank you!!
Next, this afternoon, I was trying to get my prepaid SIM card activated and Vodafone's automated system refused to accept my hotel as a valid address.
And then neither did Vodafone's call centre representative.
Of course it's a valid address, I said. I'm standing right here! Even Google Maps knows where it is!
And finally, I was enjoying a coffee at a little coffee shop by the beach in the sun, when a shadow the size and shape of a small dinosaur fell across my ankles.
Startled, I looked up to be greeted by one of these, loitering about for crumbs:
|What's black and white and terrifying the first time you encounter one? An Australian white ibis. SERIOUSLY.|
It's always a strange adjustment to run in a drastically different climate. It's super sunny here, and if you're in direct sun it feels pretty hot. On the other hand, it's also very dry, and if you're standing still in the shade, it's chilly thanks to all the wind. How am I supposed to run in that?