Had a dream run - got into the 3hr pace group and hung in the pack which was going along at around 4.10/km after a slow start. It was a pretty big pack and the course was a bit narrow in places.
Conditions at the start were perfect - about 7C, clear and no wind. A southerly wind did kick up later on and was a headwind for the last 4-5km.
We went through halfway in 1:27:35 and I felt like I was cruising. At around 23 or 24km I missed a drink station (I had taken something at nearly all of them until then) and as result came out the other side in front of the pack. I decided that I would continue on at the same pace and see what happened. I found that I actually sped up slightly and was making my way through the field in front of me.
I was feeling really strong and even ran a couple of kms (29 and 33 from memory at 4.02/km). The trip out to the turnaround at Runaway Bay seemed to take forever and when we did turn we were heading back into a bit of a headwind. The fact that I was still passing other runners and that I knew I was on track for a good time were sufficient motivation to keep me going though. I was only passed by 3 runners (a pack of three at about 34km) after I broke away from the 3 hour pace group.
When I hit 40km in 2:46:30, I knew that sub 3 was well and truly in the bag and that if I could hold it together I would get close to 2:55. Wasn't able to get under 2:55 though despite my best efforts but still absolutely ecstatic with the result.
Conditions were obviously favourable and it is a flat course but things still got tough in a few spots. A couple of days beforehand, Sugar left me a message on Strands saying that when things got tough, just think back to the Choo Choo run and I'll remember that I can get through it. "Choo Choo" became a bit of an internal mantra especially over the last 10km - so thanks Sugar!!
I would definitely recommend the Gold Coast Marathon. It is a very well run event on a great course. I went to the carbo loading lunch on the day before the race where we heard from Mona, Lee Troop, Jackie Gallagher and Rob De Castella - good food and good advice.
Here are my splits:
Five Kilometre Splits
5KM 00:21:14 04:14/km
10KM 00:20:45 00:42:11 04:09/km
15KM 00:20:29 01:02:40 04:05/km
20KM 00:20:34 01:23:15 04:06/km
25KM 00:20:33 01:43:48 04:06/km
30KM 00:20:36 02:04:24 04:07/km
35KM 00:20:36 02:25:01 04:07/km
40KM 00:21:28 02:46:30 04:17/km
Finish 00:09:15 02:55:45 04:12/km
Half Way Splits
Half Way 01:27:35 04:09/km
Finish 01:27:59 04:10/km
Had an ice bath (after a quick shower) when we got back to the apartment and then a bit of a snooze. Also had a spa as my legs were feeling pretty trashed. Feeling a bit better now after a couple of Nurofen and a big meal and my first 2 beers in a while.
Not sure when my next run will be - might go out with Rox tomorrow as a bit of a body check or might wait a few days as I have in the past.