A different Gold Coast marathon

Mother’s Day, Easter, Anzac Day, Gold Coast Marathon, all cancelled due to COVID-19.

It might seem a little strange for some to include Gold Coast Marathon into this list of yearly events but for 41 years, the Gold Coast marathon has been on the calendar of almost 10,000 people.

For the past 6 years, I’ve been one of those people.

In 2014, I ran my first marathon on the Gold Coast on my 30th birthday and almost every year since (I missed one!) I’ve ran the event.

I ran my fastest marathon there in 2016.

In 2017, I got married on the Friday before race day on Mermaid Beach on the Gold Coast and ran the marathon on the Sunday with my new hubby. There is a running couple statue on that beach now!

So yes, this event is special to me.

When it was COVID cancelled and the race became a virtual one, I couldn’t just let it pass me by.

The Gold Coast marathon with its flat and fast course has been my “try for a PR” course for a while, so why not try and hit those Gold Coast PR’s at home.

I signed up for the Big 4 virtual event, committing to run each distance 5km, 10km, half marathon and full marathon over the course of the month. I opened my big mouth on Instagram vowing to run a PR in each distance. I haven’t run a marathon PR in four years and I only beat my half marathon time last year after four years of trying. Damn big mouth!

To be honest I thought the 5k and the marathon would be the toughest.

On the first day of the month, I set my watch for 5 min per km pace, the pace I would need to break the 10k record. I lasted about 4k and it wasn’t pretty. Oh dear, I thought, this is going to be a very long month.

I took the next day off to go in fresh and on the 3rd of July, I set the watch again, put on my Gold Coast 2019 half marathon playlist (got me a PR last year so…) and went. I wanted to give up at 4km and 6km and 8km. Hell even at 9km with 1km to go I wanted to give up. But I applied the mental strategy that worked so well for me last year and just kept going. I made it with a minute and a half to spare.

I had to wait a little bit before attempting any more fast efforts. I’ve been trying to tailor my running around my cycle (more to come on this) so I waited for my period to come before having another crack at speed.

On the 19th of July, after taking a couple of days off I had a crack at the 5k. If I’m being honest, I’d had a couple of goes at it and given up half way through the first k and just continued on my normal run. Running this fast really hurts.

My watch was set to 4:20 to 4:30 pace to get that PB. After a bumpy start, I kept pushing. My hubby came with, but sat an annoying distance behind me. At 2km I stopped, paused my watch and whinged before restarting and going again.

At 3k, I knew I probably wouldn’t make it but kept pushing anyway. When the watch started beeping in the 4th kilometre of 4:37 pace I almost stopped.

I managed 22:53 (including my meltdown), 22:44 if you don’t include it. Missing my 22:37 PR by a fair bit. But hey, it is my 2nd fastest 5k time so I’m claiming it as half a win.

I have no excuses. I could blame lockdown, but I was probably just lazy. I did run a half marathon but it wasn’t close to fast and the marathon well that was never going to happen.

Writing this now, I’m a little disappointed in myself, but with everything going on at the moment I’m not about to add something like a virtual event to my list of worries.

With level 3 back in Regional Victoria and Level 4 in Metro Melbourne, future in real life running events look like they will be put on hold for now so I need to have a better go at committing to the odd virtual event.

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