Zooming down the Costanera and around Punta Arenas, Chile…better known as windy Patagonia…day after day was how I trained for this marathon! The plan was to go for a 3 hour marathon…resistance!
I started off good the first month, hitting times and feeling great, even with the wind but I couldn´t keep that up for long… My volunteering job began demanding lots of time from me as the last race of the year kicked off. For 2 weeks I was left very tired and with little time to get runs in, only managing enough runs to keep muscles up which would have been fine but on top of that I went off hiking for another 2 weeks after volunteering…In the end it was like taking a month off in the middle of training…the peak month…hum. I didn´t think hiking was going to affect me much as I also got in several runs while out camping but traveling days were long and the pack was heavy…when I added runs on top of this I was zapped of energy, couldn´t get all runs needed done and the quality of them was quite lacking….so by the end of December I was no longer meeting times or focusing on that desired 3 hour mark. I was just able to get in the necessary runs to finish the marathon…again having to give up hopes to this 8th marathon of mine being the 3 hour beast…I planned to just run and see what happens (again)…
I started the trek toward my marathon destination landing in Sydney, Australia 2 weeks before. Once there additional set backs came about, stomach problems, my knee…grr! In Patagonia I had often dealt with bloating and it would come and go, I figured it was food related… This bloating once I got to Oceania was now constant and often made me feel not so great, so running was an effort and so was getting out of bed early….I began seeing doctors…I think I ended up seeing one in nearly each city because I was constantly moving around…nothing was easy…and needless to say $$$.
Well, it seems to be food related now that I have seen a few doctors and no tests came up positive plus after the race I actually tried changing drastically my nutrition…and it has subsided….literally 3 weeks into January I was still a mess….great start to 2019, right…eh for me I really ring in the new year on my birthday in February so things are brightening up for that date :D!
At the same time my knee was bugging me, probably from all the mountain runs and downhill with a heavy backpack on top of that….so when I got to Sydney I also went to a physio who said it was the IT band so they massaged the crap out of it..ouch….Luckily I was already doing lots of stretching and strengthening to this area because I knew it was lacking through all the volunteer stuff and hiking when I had stopped going to the gym and forgot about strength training. I basically knew I had these last few weeks to get the kinks out..my focus for the next 2 weeks was strengthening/massage and keeping KT tape on it in hope I would be fine…especially since the physio said I could run, so green light means go!
With all these problems I did wonder if these were signs that I should not race….it was one after another….I kept contemplating it during the 2 weeks prior but decided as always it´s a race day decision.
Race day neared so I was off to Hobart, Tasmania!
Tasmania is a fairly large island just South of Melbourne, Australia (bottom right corner-ish) that you can reach by plane or ferry. I have always wanted to go there because it seemed exotic and unknown…to tell you the truth for a long time I actually thought it was a different country!!…it is not, it is part of Australia :D. Silly me…
…..Did you know it was originally called Van Diemen´s Land? The name placed on the island by Abel Tasman, the first explorer to land there…the name was changed in 1856 as a marketing ploy to get people from Europe to move there after it´s original name had been associated for years as a penal colony where criminals were sent…good ploy, right?
The marathon I was headed to…Cadbury Marathon, a marathon (they also have 21km and shorter distances) that starts and ends at the local Cadbury Chocolate Factory…remember those Cadbury Eggs for Easter…well this is the Chocolate :D. Any way I found the race online looking for a marathon in January or early February….it fit the bill…13th of January 2019…a date that I could take off if I had decided to keep working where I was or include in my worldwide trip if that was my decision…so I liked it, it was in Tasmania where I wanted to go and it included chocolate!!!….aligning the stars for me I signed up even before making decisions about work. he he
In total I had a week in Tasmania to get to know it. I was told to rent a car but somehow failed to take my Drivers License (left it in Sydney among other stuff since I was returning afterwards) so when I arrived I had to figure out what to do there. Of course I had barely researched so I headed to the Visitors Centre where the hostel directed me. This was the best plan since they were literally experts and helped set me up with tours for the week (yeah I ended up doing tours…not my usual) and they were superb at working around my Sunday marathon schedule…yeah! The tours were only part of the plan as I also had a few things I could do on my own. If you go here the best plan is to rent a car and know that this place is not super economical….if you don´t rent then tours will be your plan as their bus system is almost non existent.
I had 4 days before and 2 after the race which I used to set up 3 individual day tours to my top spots on the island (ok I vaguely researched, had tips from friends, and found more info at the visitors centre)…a good mix that left me with some flexibility to do my own thing too. Tours started on day 2 giving me my first day and second morning free to explore, see a doctor then head to the opposite side of the island in order to get my first and second tour for the 3rd and 4th days. The travel agency reserved everything even the hostel and buses :D. After these 2 tours I would be back to Hobart for the race and then have 1 more tour, a day for my own day trip and a free day after the race. Too good to be true….as the first tour in Launceston never came to get me and I had to call and get it sorted out…ended up with a free tour for that day to somewhere else and a new refined tour schedule which packed my schedule more than I wanted but whatever.
Between the tours was the marathon out at the chocolate factory that now does not let civilians in for tours anymore…soo that was a bummer that I found out after the race but oh well. On race day I woke up at my airbnb feeling fine, grabbed my cereal then out the door jogging a few kms (I was in N. Hobart, highly enjoyed that neighborhood btw) to the bus pick-up. It was fresh out but not too cold. I arrived just in time for the bus, obviously no seats were left but I somehow managed one from a friendly race supporter who offered her´s so I could eat my cereal….he he…yeah! The start (in Claremont, Tas) was a 20 minute drive toward the airport and I was on the bus about an 1:15 before start time. The course was a 2 loop course along the local roads, freeway and over a bridge for the turn around with the last 300m to the finish straight up a hill (I was dreading that especially once completing the first loop)…21k started after us and the shorter races had a different circuit…
I was happy on the first loop to notice that my knee was okay, the farthest I had tested it the weeks prior was a 10k so that made me quite happy and in the end it actually never bugged me…I must have done it right…and miraculously the stomach was fine. I was taking it easy on the course just in case, not pushing myself much…well…until some ounce of motivation came on the second loop. A lady was coming up on me and I decided to stick with her pace but this was short lived as I realized I wasn´t going to make any record time or anything and it wasn´t worth risking the knee or IT problem acting up.
On the second loop, after the turn around, I also caught myself getting comfy (for the first time ever in a race) with the run and had to tell myself ¨hey, don´t forget, you are in a race, maybe speed it up and push a bit!¨ The lady passed me of course but I made sure to keep her in my sight to keep me motivated, but that hill eventually came and I really didn´t care to push, just arrive and ta da finishline.
Performance wise this was probably my worst effort ever….although my time is not bad at all…3:14, it doesn´t reflect what I am capable of nor does it show any real effort on my part. The race I enjoyed quite a bit, the weather was perfect, cool and fresh most of the run, had Mount Wellington and the pretty river in view for a good chunk, decent size field (near 3000), quite a bit of hills (nothing nasty until the end really) and a twisty loop start around the neighborhood a few times that I didn´t quite expect. When I look back at my splits (times per mile) it was a horrible race…I did not keep the pace like I usual do and after the halfway point I was noticeably slower…not even the push from the lady really made a difference in the end. I am still glad I ran it and didn´t cancel due to all these added problems weeks before and well the medal is really cool….
In the end the huge chocolate bar received at the finish I didn´t eat much of to avoid stomach issues plus I decided I am not a huge fan of Cadbury (I prefer my dark chocolate…). Surprising me again were my legs that were pretty much perfect after the race….which I think is happening now because my muscles are used to the distance after repeatedly running these races, after the last 3 my legs have felt great…that or I really should push myself harder and faster or pick hillier courses and punish the legs…one of the 2…lol
This race was also my first marathon in Oceania, which adds to my Europe, N. America, and Central America marathons. I think completing one is each region might be fun…so maybe I will look into doing Africa, S. America, Middle East and Asia…which potentially could be broken down even further… Regions defined Then there is still the 3 hour goal…someday when I can focus on it…hum.
After the race I rested and then crammed in a visit to the MONA Museum because it was recommended by everyone. I wasn´t going to go after the race but now my tour schedule changed and had only Sunday to see anything else in Hobart. The museum was probably the trippiest one I have been to, being modern art there were plenty of installations that got your senses really well (and I didn´t do any of the additional paid ones..imagine!) Also as a tip, you can take a local bus to MONA, the ferry is not necessary. Sadly I actually passed the museum several times on the course ha ha but didn´t want to walk the 7km over after racing…LOL.
The tours I did all cost around 120-180 $AUS each day…no food was included in these, just driving, park entry (if needed) and local information from drivers. Although tours are not my thing this time I was very happy I ended up on them. They gave me time to just sit and take it in without much movement…I felt very low energy and had the stomach issues on all tours. Even the visit to the mountains where you can hike I barely wanted to do the loop. What can I say, they were perfect for the situation as these things happen for a reason, right.
The mix up on my first tour got me on to a Bay of Fires tour with another operator, Day Tours by Dave, and it was not somewhere I thought I wanted to go but the guide was awesome (very informative about Tasmania, history, industry, etc) plus I had no clue the itinerary which was fun…especially when the first stop was to the lavender fields which I did want to see…needless to say I loved the tour and it was probably my favorite… Dave was also my guide the next day to Cradle Mountain my #1 tour destination… I would have loved to hike here a bit more so I might have to return….with a car and feeling better. The last tour was to Freycinet National Park (Wineglass Bay) which is beautiful and again would love to hike and camp on the beach here…just imagine beaches and mountains mixed together…Tassie really offers awesome stuff scenery and more. My self guided tours (me, myself and I) were a hike up Mt. Wellington (in Hobart) taking the local bus out to the hiking trails (Pinnacle Track) and a trip to Maria Island (pronounced Mariah there) – camping here overnight would have been Amazing…I only went for the day. I went the day after the marathon and rented a bike as I was over walking…LOL.
I would go back to Tassie without thinking twice…I loved how pure it was, I loved seeing animals, mountains with beautiful beaches and running in the fresh air there. If I run again I would likely do the Point to Peak 21k race held in November…as it is rated as the toughest half marathon…you run up to Mount Wellington from town (via the road)…aka I cheated by taking the bus to the hike.