My better Half in Melbourne
So... how did I almost stuff things up? It was a typical Melbourne "perfect weather for running" day. About 10C, rising to 15C at the finish, with just a zephyr blowing across Albert Park Lake. You'd think a runner of 26 years' experience would be immune to the rush of blood. Race starter Rob de Castella advised the field (the marathon and half started together) to "take it easy at the start" and "try to finish strongly". As soon as Deek sounded the air-horn I stampeded down the first hill with 8,000 others, past Katy (holding a "Not far to go now!" sign), and latched onto the 3hr 15min marathon pacing group.
After 4 kilometres at 4:30s, I belatedly realised I needed to switch to preservation mode. This tactic was surprisingly successful, and I spent the rest of the race trying to guess when I'd be caught by the 1hr 40min group. I survived for a fair way, feeling like the rabbit in that TV ad for the Yarra Valley, running past the brilliant CR cheer-squad for the second time, and back down St Kilda Road towards the city. I was finally captured at 15k, and managed to hang on for another kilometre before being unceremoniously spat out the back.
Pretty soon The G was in sight. It was a finish "to die for". Running 300 metres on the grass of that hallowed ground, then under the finish gantry, to be greeted and handed my medal by yet another smiling volunteer. Melbourne, you were good!
[5k splits: (31sec to start) 22:40, 23:46, 24:13, 24:52 + 1.1k in 5:17]