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Last minute anxieties

Anticipation as the field lines up for the start of the
1978 Australian Marathon Championship
at Caboolture in Queensland
The anticipation for tomorrow's Melbourne Marathon is building, and as usual, some small hiccups are being encountered.

On checking my gear this morning, I discovered I had forgotten to pack my Terrigal Trotters singlet for the trip to Melbourne.  It's not a big deal, but it's a colourful and recognisable design making me easily identifiable to club-mates and others.  I may miss a few cheers along the way.

The weather forecast for tomorrow also looks a little dicey.  A cold front is forecast to move through some time during the day, and could be heralded with strong winds, rain showers, some thunderstorms and possibly hail.  Of course, this is Melbourne and there's every chance it could be fine.  If I thought I was a borderline chance to break three hours, I might be concerned.  However, without that pressure, I won't mind battling the elements if that's what happens.  Some of my most memorable running experiences involve outrageous weather.

Going OK (second from left) in the early stages of the
1978 Australian Marathon Championships
It's easy to lose your perspective as a big race approaches, and it's important not to be derailed by hiccups, or try do do anything special and/or different.  I have made mistakes in the past, and would hope I have learned some lessons, but still feel tempted to worry about little things or do something different.

I met yesterday with a friend's son who will be running his debut marathon tomorrow and much of our lunchtime conversation revolved around last minute race preparation and plans.  As usual, I'm good at telling other people what to do in such situations, and my advice was not to use "Goo's" during the race if he hasn't tried them before, not to buy some new socks for the race, not to drink too much, not to go out too fast, and so on.  He's a naturally talented athlete and I'm sure he will do fine and have some good stories to tell.  No doubt, within a week, he will be planning how to run a Personal Best in his next marathon.  There's no substitute for experience and we are all different.  He will work out over several races how best to get the most out of himself in a marathon.

Exhausted at the finish after a disappointing 1978 Australian
Marathon Championship (13th, 2:34:28).  [Three months
later I was 2nd in the first Melbourne Marathon in 2:23.]
For my training today, I walked an easy 5km.  My right Achilles was stiff and sore for the first kilometre or two, but loosened up after that and I enjoyed a sunny breezy Saturday morning.  I'm expecting the Achilles to be troublesome for the first 5km of tomorrow's race and I will need to avoid forcing it.  Hopefully, once it warms up, I will be able to settle into a good pace.

While walking, I thought about my race strategy for tomorrow.  If I feel I have lost ground in the early kilometres because of the Achilles, it will be tempting to try to make up time.  Overtaking runners can become addictive if you are running well, and I will need to avoid expending too much energy between 5km and half-way.  A guide will be the pacers provided by the organisers.  There is a group for every ten minutes between 2:50 to 4:30 (I do wonder about how accurately these groups will be able to judge their pacing given they are so close together), so my goal will be not to fall too far behind the 3:30 group at the start, and not to get ahead of the 3:10 group if I'm feeling good after the early kilometres.  This translates to no slower than 5:00 per kilometre average and no faster than 4:30 per kilometre average.

Now I just want the race to start.