Sunday, July 19, 2015

Gold Coast Airport Marathon 2015 Race Report

I don't mean to be a chef, but I have been cooking for this year main road race for more than 5 months plus, or was it 6? Anyway.. Back in January I was training for my first major triathlon race in April and running was pretty much in the menu week in week out building up to the race. With the rest of the team starting their training sometime in mid February, it makes perfect sense joining the rest to making the training a lot more interesting, fun with loads of Alibabaing (as a no names mentioned put it to describe our after run breakfast at Ali Baba restaurant/cafe )

With my personal best achieved back in Nara Marathon Dec 2014, I was looking to top my personal best once again. From the start of the training, we have carried out quite a number of base training sessions, progressively we shift into a higher gear picking up the necessary mileage along with tempo, track work, intervals and hill repeats as part for the recipe for the dish. My goal pace was set at somewhere in the region of 4hr 30 mins to 4 hr 40 mins initially, with the 70.3 race completed with a not so good time; somehow I was confidence that I can improve my target time further. After a couple of long run with 6:15min pace, I have decided to revise my target time to between 4hr15mins to 4hr30mins jeng jeng jeng.. LOL 

This was on my mind in my many iteration of goal time

Fast forwarding to Gold Coast.... it was a crazy affair just like last year, I signed up for the Southern Cross University 10 km (Race Report Here) before the main race Sunday, whether it was a mistake or not, I had the best ever 10 km road race to date with the fellers.

On Sunday, Me, Foo and Jeanie leave our apartment to 5:30am catching the tram to race site. This time there is no incident with the tram service and we reached the race site on time and meet up with the rest of the gang who is doing 42km. After a few group photos and catching a Taiwanese celebrity for more photos, everyone is going into the warm-up routine and get ready to hammer down the pedal to the metal. No drama there

Celebrity from Taiwan - GinOy

I have told one or two from the group before the race that I will be taking the risk and ready to screw up the earlier planned goal time in the race, henceforth again I revised my goal time to 4hr to 4hr15min and if I'm in luck maybe a sub4. "Today is the day..."

I was assigned with corral D but I snugged up to corral B along side with Nick along side with the 4hr 15mins pacer. To our disappointment, "Digger" wasn't part of the 4hr15mins pacer group and later we found during the race, he was with 4hr30mins group. Back to the start line, after more warm up, we wished each other good luck and off we go with the group of pacers.

Nick and I started as planned ...slow but steadily picked up the pace after crossing the bridge. Soon after we were both going under 6mins pace moving in front of the pacer group. At 3km mark, Nick shifted into another gear and sped off, I was tempted to follow him but knew his pace would be way faster than what I can handled and decided to stay put running my own race at 5:35min pace. Then on I never spotted Nick until after the race.

5km done soon crossing the 10km  mark at 56mins, fueling was on planned only with a small technical issue with the zipper on the fuel pouch stuck, trying to yank it with no luck grrrr elevating some stress fearing the fueling will be a problem later on. Before reaching the 16km U-turn point, Jamie was on the other side of the road heading back to the start/finish direction fully focus on doing his stuffs, gave him a shout and was given a cold shoulder, he was that focused :P. Soon I find myself reaching the Burleigh Head U-Turn and the feeling was really good and told myself to keep it up as I have a good shot of hitting the revised target time. Then it was my turn to give Nick a cold shoulder. Apparently he called out at me but I was too focus keeping the pace and didn't hear him

18km, there's when nature call. I have to decide which portable loo to go without taking to much time away from what I have gained so far and to missed the coming one I would need to hold until reaching The Esplanade. I needed to crossed the half way mark at slightly under 2hrs  for a 4hr race and I was banged on queue on the timing so I kept going. With the discomfort feeling building up, I've decided to run to the portable toilet about 100m away from the 21km timing mat, after which I crossed the timing mat sharp at 2hrs (net time on the watch, gun time 2hr02min).

Running along The Esplanade
Second half of the race, I tried continued with the same pace stride by stride but I just couldn't hold that pace as consistent as the 1st half anymore. My pace was dropping off the cliff for the next  4Ks, determine to still do a good finishing time I stayed focus but it proves to be disaster. At 25km mark, the drama starts, I hit the wall and for the next 10km (25km-35km) I couldn't chug along and only master an average 8mins15sec pace, stopping at all the water station longer than planned and soon the 4hr15mins pacer and 4hr30mins pacer dropped me at 26km and 28km respectively.

Crossing the 30km mark, things did not improve much and I've gone into run/walk mode and saw Yvonne cheering with her camera. I walked over telling her I'm struggling and she encouraged me to keep going and off I go. The 10km wall was to me huge and I have given back everything I've gained for the 1st half and started running again slowly from 32km mark onward.

Things start to take a turn for the better, soon I was able to run decently and consistently albeit still at a much slow pace of around 7mins pace. Along the way I took up the offer from the little girl giving out to runners watermelon. The 2nd U-Turn at 37km mark proves to be a blardy long journey to reach, with struggling pace up the bridge towards the roundabout, finally made the last U-Turn heading back to the finish line with 5km to go.

Drinks and Melon.. Picnic walk
Shortly before reaching the 38km mark, I bumped into a no names mentioned on the other side of the route looking for something frantically not moving his feet. WTH is he doing? I shouted out to him urging him keep going. Apparently he was looking for his Go Card (Tram&Bus service fare card) and he eventually crossed the finishing line just a mere minute beyond 5hours. Boy that feller could have made it to sub5 if is not for the Go Card and I still don't understand what was he thinking carrying a Go Card with him on the race. Was he thinking to take a tram ride back to race site should he decided to quite LOL

Anyway back to the remaining 4km of my own race, time was really running out as I'm at the edge of not hitting a personal best for the race. It was hell deciding whether to chase down that small PB or just to screw it up and take my time enjoying the rest of the journey back. It may be a small PB but no PB is too small for anyone even if is just by 1 sec so I decided on the former and kept going. At 39km, I bumped into Jeanie who is all smiling and give her a final shout before finishing up my own business.

I struggled and they are all smiling for the camera
Down  to the finishing straight, the best stretch ever. The support from the packed crowd was electrifying, giving every runner a good and loud shout for the last push. I kept looking at my watch telling myself I've already screwed up my goal time and I wasn't going to lose that PB. Picking up my pace for the last 400m or so sprinting down to the finishing chute with more crowd cheering down the finishing line. I have to say the race and support received was really a gold class without a doubt, and I finally crossed the finishing line with 1 min improvement (4hr47min) in the bag over my PB in Nara.

Final sprint

After picking up some food&drinks, my medal and finishing tee, I walked to the place where the rest has agreed to meet up post race. With Yvonne, Jamie, Bin and Nick's wife there, I was surprised that Nick has not come back yet and I kept telling the gang he sped off after 3km and I never spotted him again. After some time, Nick and Foo finally came in and we are all were very happy for Nick finishing the race with a respectable time fighting injury. With Yee Hoo and Jeanie coming back, we celebrated each other achievements and was really really happy for their respective big PB.

Looking back, have I not take the risk (maybe too much risk taken) on the goal time, would I have done better and be happier with a bigger PB? Not really. I guess I would never find out if I didn't push for that early pace would I have achieved the earlier goal time and there is no guarantee if I raced conservatively things will turn out better. It is all about taking the risk sometimes and be happy with the outcome regardless of good, bad or ugly, in the end a minute improvement is still a PB. I'll take it with pride.

Overall, the race was very well organized, water/aid stations were sufficiently spaced out and ahem the portable loo was greatly placed. The crowd and support was second to none or may I say 1st class and thank you to the little girl who offered me with watermelon making my walk like I'm having a picnic walk LOL... Thank You Gold Coast for hosting me and for your hospitality!!!

Some photos are courtesy of Jamie, Nick, Yvonne, Bin and Jeanie
A little about the shoe I ran in. Is an Asics Gel Electro33 pair that I have grown to love. Together, we have made 2 personal best and finishing the Ironman 70.3 Putrajaya 2015. Time to retire the shoe with the best memory


  1. Time to bring out the secret RM140 weapon for the next PR!

  2. Dammit! Jamie beat me to the comments!

    Congrats on your PR. Like you said, 1 minute or otherwise, it's still a huge PR!

    And I love your final sprint pic. Off the ground, man!

  3. Yeah I never get such photos ever!


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