My FIRST Race Report – The Melbourne Marathon

The start line

The start line

The whole day was perfect. Not a cloud in the sky, not too hot, not too cold.  The start line was buzzing with anticipation and everyone seemed so excited. I ran with my buddy Cam, who smashed me in the half marathon, so I was keen to try and keep up with him.

As soon as the gun went off, we fell in to a steady pace right behind the 4.30 pacers.  The plan was to stick with them for as long as possible, and just to finish.

The pacers are incredible people.  They were full of encouragement, they pointed out hazards that might trip us (road cones, wing mirrors, banana peels) and they shared jellybeans with us. They were generally so cheerful that you almost forgot that you were running a marathon.

The Gidders Cheer Squad

I stuck to the plan, I trusted my training, I soaked up the atmosphere. It’s an amazing thing to have strangers in the crowd lock eyes with you and call out “you’re doing great, you’re almost there!” Even more exciting was to see your running buddies in the crowd, with banners and yelling you home.

I loved every second, even the tough and painful moments.  And I managed a sprint finish, sneaking in with a time of 4.55.

My sprint finish

It’s safe to say that I’m completely in love with myself now.  I’m 37 years old, I’ve got two little kids, and I only started training in January.  And I just ran a marathon. Nothing is impossible now.

Sure, I had some massive advantages.  I’m married to the best myotherapist and sports massage therapist in the country – Jimmy Wilson.  I had the benefit of having a dedicated run coach – Chris Wright, who I can’t thank enough for all the work he put into me.  I had functional movement expert Michael Jephcott school me on my weak spots and tape me up so my legs ran straight, and I had technique coach Nathan from Enfer Running give me the once-over to sort out my form.

I also had access to our Recovery Centre.  And I made good use of it – I hit the ice and contrast bath every time I had a long run, I dived in the far infrared sauna whenever I was free.  And I spent a fair bit of time on the lounges with the Recovery Pump boots on, flushing out my legs.  It made a huge difference.  Not only did I finish the marathon, but I’ve come out of it with absolutely no injuries. I’ve even kept all of my toenails.

I didn't take my medal off
Kept it on in the ice bath
It burned a little in the sauna
I'm even wearing my medal to bed tonight

So this little experiment really worked.  I’m not a runner.  I hate running.  But with the help of the professionals, and professional-grade recovery equipment, I got there.

And I’ve just entered the City 2 Sea next month, as well as the Carmen’s Women’s Fun Run half marathon in December.  Mostly because the finish line for both races is outside my house, and, I guess, I still am pretty lazy.