It’s 3:40am on the day of the Gold Coast Marathon.
I’m up early to prepare for the 6am start of the Half Marathon event and looking at myself in the mirror of our Airbnb bathroom.
In my head I tell myself, ‘today will be the day I lower my PB’.
I told myself this, not out of arrogance or from being unrealistic.
I was happy with my build up and everything I did in training indicated a time under my long standing PB of 66:28 was possible.
I’d had a consistent build up, averaging 170km training weeks.
My thresholds were right where I expected them to be and I knew I had enough speed in my legs after running a personal best for Deek’s Quarters just weeks before.
The start line for me was simple, the Gold Coast marathon make it stress free for seeded runners beforehand by giving us access to the aquatic centre to store our bags, access toilets with no lines and get to the front of the start line quickly before the gun goes off.
My warm up consisted of 15 minutes of running laps of the aquatic centre. It was about a 2 minute loop around the pools and given there were some pretty elite runners hooking around it made the time pass quickly.
When we were moved to the start line we had enough time to complete some dynamic drills to fully warm up and a few 100m strides to really wake up the body and give it a taste of race pace.
On the start line I was pretty relaxed, the thought of running 21 x 1 kilometres in 3.08 didn’t scare me. I knew I could run the first 10km without too much stress and set myself up for a PB.
My instructions from my coach were to run controlled in the first 10km and to not look at my watch. I was hoping to go through the 10km split in no faster than 30:50 and no slower than 31:20. We knew that if I could hit the first 10km in this zone it would put me under PB pace and it was a split that would set me up to be able to run the last half of the race strong.
The Gold Coast Half Marathon was a deep field and I found myself nestled in the second group with a NZ and Queensland runner. We worked well together and held a consistent pace through to 10km, where we went through right on 31:20. I felt great but at the same time I knew I had to keep it honest the way home as I didn’t have much wriggle room to nail my PB.
Coming home through 13-17km we begun to pick up guys who were falling off the lead pack. At this stage the NZ runner had dropped off and Louis McAfee and I kept things honest ticking along at the same pace. I felt great holding a 3:08-3:10 pace but at the same time was beginning to tire and I felt we were starting to slow a bit.
At 17km I tried to surge and gap Louis but it didn’t work. My legs were heavy and I knew from that attempted effort that I just had to stay on Louis until the final sprint.
We went through the 20km right on my PB pace, after running the second 10km in 31.38 and I knew if I wanted to beat my PB I really had to work the last 1.1km home strong.
My PB was right there for the taking if I could finish strong.
I ran the last 1.1km as fast as I could (at 2.59 per km pace) and picked up 3 positions to cross the line in 66:16.
Although it wasn’t a huge PB (12 seconds) I was still stoked to nail it.
My coach and I went to this race wanting one thing - a PB and we got it.
Now onto the next one.