Monday, May 3, 2010

The Rotorua Marathon!

I did it!! I'm a marathon runner :)

From Fat (December 2008)

To Marathon Runner

So, this could get long.

First off - at least three reasons running Rotorua was BETTER than running London would have been -

1. The Haka ... wow, now that is an emotional start - it was going to be emotional anyway, to just be there, finally doing it ... but the Haka, well lets just say the first few hundred metres I had to get myself under control to run properly!

2. My awesome sisters! Three of them secretly arranged a road trip up to Rotorua to surprise me and cheer me on through the race. I knew nothing about it until a photographer seemed really intent on snapping a photo of me at about 6km ... the thought process went something like this ... why does that photographer seem to only want a photo of me, gosh she looks like Georgie, oh Sh*t! It IS Georgie, I turned and looked across the road and there is the car full of my other two sisters and my niece :)

3. I can't imagine what the crowds would have been like in London - to go from events of a few hundred people, to running with 2000 was bad enough, I found it frustrating the first few k when we were still sort of packed together. I'm not sure how I would have handled that for 42.2km - at least this way, I had a chance of running a marathon at MY speed, not the speed of the crowd I was with, which with hindsight is probably a good thing.

So, lets see if I can do one of those really good reports that I enjoy reading, with a bit about the splits, I'm not very good at remembering - I think I just get into my head and run!

1-5km: 6:15, 5:56, 5:59, 6:02, 6:14
First km was slower, obviously because we were all bunched up and it took a while to thin out. Also the first few km's were through roads which have had roadworks happening, so there wasn't a lot of room to spread out. It was probably a good thing as it helped me have to stay slow. The last km (6:14) was the first drink stop, it was a mess, everyone stopped at the first table rather than carrying on to the later ones, I for one didn't realise there were a few more tables to run to. Pace was generally good though, I was feeling good, I was on my way!

6-10km: 6:09, 5:57, 6:00, 6:08, 6:07
Its at about 6km that the annoying photographer who turned out to be my sister turned up! and when I looked across the road realised THREE of my sisters were all there to cheer me on, that was such a surprise and such a boost having them there.

What's that photographer doing???

It's my sisters, the sneaky so and so's!! (they'd even texted me in the morning asking me about the weather and wishing me good luck! LOL)

It was still pretty flat up until 10km, I think the 5:57 was probably trying to make sure I kept my overall pace at about 6:08, after the first slower k and then the water stop, I probably pushed it to bring that pace to where I wanted it - then fell back to exactly where I should be the last couple.

11-15km: 6:01, 6:06, 6:13, 6:17, 5:53
and then came the hills :) I stopped and walked through all the drink stops and had a gel at about 13km - there was also the first hill at about then too, so that will be the 6:13/6:17 - the 5:53 was down hill after the first up. My plan was to be strong up the hills but not to worry about the time too much, and to use gravity and make up time and "gather myself" down the hills. I used this method through the race, and it worked :)

16-20km: 6:12, 6:04, 6:08, 6:22, 6:19
From 18km to 21km it was a 100m elevation climb, which you can see from the times! One of biggest proudest moments of the marathon was my strength up the hills, I passed lots of people going up them and felt strong going up - definitely had no desire to stop and walk, hurray for the Maungatooks! The only thing I was slightly worried about was that maybe all those people I was passing were actually very wise and "saving" themselves, and I would be paying for it later. It was here my family found me to cheer me on - at about 16km, it was good to see them!

Running strong up those hills!

21-25km: 6:29, 5:52, 5:55, 6:40, 6:02
Spot where the downhill after the uphills were! LOL the 24km is where I had my second gel stop, not sure why it took so long! It's about here it was lovely and scenic, the road was closed for about 5km, and it was just really nice - just the runners, no cars or crowds and the lake :) Halfway time was 2:09:something, spot on - I was aiming for 2:10 halfway. I was really pleased to get to half way, about 18/19km was probably the only time I had "negative" thoughts, I was thinking how we'd run so far and weren't even halfway yet, I knew once I got halfway it was just a matter of counting down kms.

26-30km: 6:12, 6:19, 5:50, 6:10, 6:05
Still feeling good! Another big hill from 25.5-27.5, another strong run up it and then catching up time going down. Still right on target with my pace, still feeling good. I knew (or thought) that after 30km it was all flattish and downhill.

31-35km: 6:07, 6:06, 6:19, 6:08, 6:49
Third and last gel break at about 35km. From about 33km to 36km it was a steady, slight uphill (that didn't look uphill when we drove around, but sure felt it after running that long!). Once again though, lots of people walking, and I was still running fairly strong. My family and sisters were all at about the 35km mark - it was good to see them! I'd said to David I wasn't sure about him stopping at the 35km spectator mark, I was scared I'd be really tired and the kids wouldn't have good memories of me ;) But turns out I was pleased to see them, and I was still looking and feeling strong :)

7km to Go!!

36-40km: 6:18, 6:19, 6:15, 6:22, 6:26
Its these kms where I finally started feeling tired, you can see I got slower, I thought it was going to be more "down" hill, but infact it was a very slight continous downhill that felt flat. I think 39-40km was a drink stop, I seem to remember my Garmin beeping the 39km before the drink stop, but the sign being after it. The later drink stops I'm pretty sure I stopped longer and slower!

Three of the supporters ... isn't my niece cute??? She is wearing the red hat in support, I just finished knitting it for her - plus a matching red jacket, but she wore the hat to support her Aunty Lisa ;)

I do have photos of my family, I haven't uploaded them anywhere though! I'll do that later and maybe do a Rotorua holiday post :)

41-42km: 6:16, 6:16 0.45km: 2:35 (5:49 avg) The last couple of km's I just dug it in and ran, numbers girl I am, I was checking my time from about 38km and working out how slow I could run and still break 4:30, by these last 2kms I knew I could run at about 8-9min/km if I had too, but I just dug it and ran the best I could, turned out I didn't do too badly!

As I hit the finish line my sisters were just before the finish and my family lined up by the finishing shute, it was good to see them AND the finish!

Chicked at the finish line! LOL

VERY happy to be finished!!

Feelings and Thoughts
I feel like I ran a perfect first marathon, I never hit a wall, when I finished I felt great - legs were sore, but "health" wise I was amazed at how good I felt - no dehydration headache, dizzyiness or anything, I just felt normal. Stopping and drinking was definitely good planning. My first half was 2:09, second half 2:13 - I would have liked to have negative split, but reality is, it was probably hillier in the second half. Plus, 4min difference is close enough to knowing I paced myself really well.

... and okay, what is with the pacers??? the 4:30 pacer was in front of me for the first 10km, I was at the time, before the hills started, running a 4:15-4:20 pace. I *think* knowing the course that maybe they planned to run those first 10km faster and then slow down during the hills - but surely, from everything I've read, running too fast in those first 10km wouldn't have been a good plan? I passed and left them at about 15km (when the hills started which is why I think they were maybe planning for the hills) and never saw them again - but I dunno, makes me think I'd never run with a pace group. I never saw the 4:15 group, so they must have gone off faster as well ... and of course finished a good 7min before me, but in the beginning my pace would have matched what I would have thought they'd be running.

and lastly, I've decided marathon running is very much like childbirth. I've had five natural/drug free births (more from luck and speed than being any sort of super woman!!). I'm the third sister of six, when I was pregnant with my first one I heard ALL the horror stories from my lovely older sisters ... after giving birth the first time, my first reaction was "wow, that wasn't *that* bad" ... well, I feel the same about this marathon too - it really wasn't so bad, in fact I can honestly say I enjoyed the whole race! I just hope I don't get to marathon no. 5 and finish it by saying "that's it! I'm not putting myself through that pain EVER again" LOL.

Official Results Net time: 4:22:40
843/1541 Total Finishers
212/528 Female Finishers
41/89 Age Group

... and Cameron (14yo) ran the 5km - his results:

Net time: 24:26
15/180 Total Finishers
10/69 Male Finishers


  1. OMG!!! Congrats chicky!! I was thinking about you all day yesterday and hoping you did well! Look at you blowing expectations out of the water! And what a wonderful surprise to see your fam out on the course! Congrats!!! You rock my socks! What a great race and recap!

  2. I was thinking about you over the weekend. What a great race you had! Well done.

    And I must admit the first thought I had when I saw the photo of the guy in the orange shirt was "She chicked him!"

    :) Fantastic effort!

  3. Congratulations Lisa! WOW! What a great race and I am so happy for you that you had such a great experience. All that training and hill running certainly paid off.

    So when is your next marathon? :)

  4. Great effort! I LOVE Rotorua!

  5. Congratulations Lisa... that is AWESOME!!!!

    Loved reading your report and seeing all the photos.

  6. I'm just sitting here in awe of you girl! Just amazing! are something else and I'm proud of you! look great too! ;-)

  7. Congrats on your finish - you should be very proud!

  8. Great effort and a great time. I made the mistake of trying to keep with the 4 hour pace group but we were going way faster than that pace for the first 12k. Leader said it was to make up for the hills but I was f@cked by the hills. Maybe I'll run my own race next time. Congratulations on a great race!!!