On Patriots Day in Boston in April I staggered over the line, shattered after my dream of a strong and memorable finish at the world’s most famous marathon went out the window somewhere in the hills on Newton!
After this race while attempting to drink a Bud Light I decided that after over 25 years of running it was time to find myself a coach.
By chance I stumbled across online coach Sean Williams, and commenced training via email/phone with Sean.
After looking at the first month of the program I was both excited and a little scared of the challenge ahead as it was definitely going to take me out of my comfort zone!
After training in snow (yes I live in Canberra), the wettest September in 40 years (like most runners I look rather mad running around in the pouring rain) and only missing 2 sessions in 4 months I lined up for the Melbourne Marathon.
The first half of the race I settled into my pace, but was a little confused as it took until 3 km to catch the 3 hour marker and I was running sub 2.55 pace! I figured they were putting in some time for the “windy sections” ahead. Did I mention the wind yet? The day before I thought the whole Expo was going to end up at St Kilda!
After grabbing my special needs drinks with reindeer antlers attached I refuelled with Generation Ucan and clocked the half in 1.27 flat, I was on track to smash my PB of 2.57.
After hitting the windy section I told myself this was just like having a few hills in a marathon and continued to run on passing many runners. By this stage of the race I was still feeling strong and lingering thoughts about my legs not feeling good on the day was passing with every K marker.
With 12km to go I focused on all the tough training I have done to get this far and told myself all I had to do now was one of Sean’s tempo runs but slower, and this knowledge of the hard sessions on tired legs boosted me mentally and I held myself together and ran just over 4 min K pace for most of the last 5 K (4.16 for the K that includes gentle rise near the TAN). At this time I was even holding back a little as I was still concerned that I might “Hit the Wall” as I have in previous marathons.
Entering the famous MCG with my wife who happened to be finishing the half was magic (I’m actually getting goosebumps typing this!) and my memory of my staggering finish only months before vanished as I PB’d by 3 minutes in 2.54:52!
I was pumped to run this time in trying conditions and finishing so strongly has given me plenty of confidence for future marathons. I really could have not done this without the amazing program delivered by Sean, those hard sessions and consistent training really do pay off, so again a big thank you to Sean.