So I did Busselton in nearly the same time as Fremantle, about a minute slower. Which isn’t too bad as my intentions of doing serious training flew out the window around January. Also, the turn-around point marshal for the 21.1K distance apparently decided that he wanted to sit in the shade and moved the turnaround point 100m up the road, which took the 21.1K to 21.5K. So overall I was quicker at Busselton than Fremantle.
When I started out I was stuck in a mass of people and despite my best efforts to slow down I kept finding myself running at 4m50s pace. I’d look down at my watch, try and slow down, get back to about 6m00s pace, then look down again sometime up the road and I was bang on 4m50s again. I hit the turnaround point (at the time I thought it was a bit further than last year, but I assumed that the finish line was in a slightly different spot, hence the change. Wrong!) and came across Jenny Lake a bit down the road.
Jenny was having a less than successful weekend; she’d forgotten her Garmin watch as well as her socks for race day and was in a pair of borrowed ones. Worse though, when I asked her how it was going in the socks, she said “Fine, but I left my Ventolin at the accommodation.” I could hear her rasping as she ran and she explained that she’d never had an asthma attack when she was running, but not having the Ventolin on her person was freaking her out a bit and was causing her breathing problems.
I ran with her back down to the start line and she decided to do the second loop. We walked the aid stations as we came across them and it seemed to help her breathing, and when running together we kept around 6m00s pace. Every so often I’d randomly ask other runners if they had any Ventolin, but to no avail. We ran back towards the turn around point and I passed a man in the dunes with a crowd of people around him. I didn’t know it at the time, but Jeremy had been running towards the turnaround when a 10K runner (the man in the dunes) had been running towards the finish line and had seemingly lost conciousness while running. Jeremy and another runner crash tackled the man into the dunes as he nearly ran off the edge of the sand dune and down a 5 foot drop.
Jenny was running fine when we hit about 5km to go so I picked up speed to see if I could make up a bit of time. As it was I think I made up about 30 seconds. Jeremy was running back towards the turnaround point on a cool down lap with Cathy and Greg on bikes escorting him. He ran with me and I explained Jenny’s breathing issues so he headed back towards Jenny with Cathy and Greg chasing, as Cathy was carrying Ventolin.
I hit the finish line and I don’t recall if I had the legs for a quick sprint finish – I know that when Jeremy ran beside me for those few metres I’d managed to pick the speed up but I couldn’t tell whether I’d managed to sustain it any. I do remember that the free watermelon at the finish area tasted as wonderful as last year, and I had a sudden desperate need for carbohydrates and devoured a muffin that I bought from the watermelon stall guys.
Sitting at the finish line I confirmed my lack of desire to do the Bunbury Marathon, but decided that I’d run the half marathon at Bunbury partly on feel – if I found myself running at 4m50s at the start, then I’d run 4m50s at the start. It might go horribly wrong at the 15km mark, but I’ve run the distance before, and if required I know I can walk the distance. The marathon course is two laps of the half marathon course, so next year if I decide I want to do a marathon I will have one option where I have already run the course. Jeremy is running the marathon which starts at 7am, so if it does go horribly wrong for me at the 15km mark, because I’ve started at 8am it might just mean that I get to run to the finish with Jeremy.