Portland 3 Bays – 21.1km

Long Post Ahead

I first found out about the Portland 3 Bays Marathon via some running friends at our local running club.  

After Run Melbourne, I knew I wanted to tackle the half marathon distance again. However, I couldn’t decide when or where I wanted to do it.

It wasn’t until the colour run registrations opened that I decided yeah why not.  So I booked in to do the half marathon at Portland, and also to do the colour walk with the family as well.

My running preparations started months ago.  I did my last long run about 3 weeks before the race.  For whatever reason, that run took a lot out of me.  I’m not sure, but it took me a good week to recover from it.

Then I got sick. Kayla got bronchitis, and gastro (bronchitis overrode the gastro), who then gave it to her Miles, who thus gave it to me.  

Race day arrived and I had no idea how I was going to go, considering the weeks leading up to it.

Portland is a great town to visit.  But if you do visit, word to the wise, bring water or buy it.  Their water tastes AWFUL, and I seriously mean HORRID!!! Besides the water, we had a good relaxing pre-race day.  

The Upwelling Festival was on Saturday (they coincide it on purpose to get more tourists in), and there were jumping castles, and face painting, a parade, a market, music, and installations.  It ran all day and we enjoyed it.  Except for the vomiting part, but that’s another story (don’t worry it wasn’t me).

Race Day – 4th November 2012

The half marathon started at the halfway point of the full marathon, which was over in Bridgewater, which was the 2nd/3rd bay point (see map below).  This meant that the half marathon runners (like myself) had to take a bus out to the start line.  Pick-up times were starting at 8:45 am for a 9:45 am start. We had to be at our pick-up location (which was the finish line) from 8:15 am.

I sat next to a man from New Zealand, we had a great chat about different runs we have done, stories, training, and hills.  I was telling him that we drove part of the full marathon course the day before (as we driving to Bridgewater to see the Petrified forest), and let me tell you there are some nasty hills on that section.

I will have to say that running a course that is in one direction is and can be a little daunting.  In fact, I have only ever run a course that was a loop or laps.  So running this course was interesting for me, for the pure fact that it was one way.

However, at the same time, it was good to drive the course (as we didn’t drive this section of the course the day before, only part of it), to actually see what it would be like, and to also see where the water stations were.

When we arrived at Bridgewater off to the toilet I went.  Yep, a queue but the race was still another 30 mins away so waiting didn’t bother me.

When the 2nd bus arrived friends from my running club were on there, so it was good to catch up with them and see how they were going.

Once all the busloads of runners/walkers/relayers had arrived we made our way the starting point, which was the halfway point of the full marathon, which by the way is on a hill!

Marathon, Half Marathon
Full Marathon Loop

We also got to see the lead marathon runners come through, which of course we cheered on.  One of those runners was Susie, who is in our club.  This woman is a machine! I mean you would be if you complete Ironmans.  She was funny though, cause when she saw us, she just stops running and decides to wait at the halfway point until we were ready to go.  How awesome is that!  She wasn’t in it to win it (she still came 2nd), but the fact that she was there for more social support was awesome (she also ran with her daughter who was competing in the half).

The time arrived for us to start.  Because of the hill and the congestion of all the runners, I did not go flat out.  The race official state that one year one runner when out too hard on the hill and pull his hamstring.  I did not want that to happen to me. So km 1 was at a very slow pace of 6:48.  Which for me is very slow.  Being one minute behind my pace meant that I may not make my sub 2hour time (if I kept at that pace).  Once I was over the hill, I felt good and ran at a 5:20 steady pace for 7km (which is how long it took me to gain that 1 minute back).  I kept that pace until about 15km, when I did start to slow down, to a pace of 5:30.  However at this point, I was ahead of my pace, so aim for my sub 2 hour time.

It was also quite hilly.  Now I don’t mind the hills, but the hills seemed to be constant.  Up one, down one, up again, and so on, but a hill is just a hill and I will get over it. 

So the image above is the elevation gain/loss according to my Garmin.

There felt like there were more uphills than down, but stats can be deceiving.

Now there was this woman in front of me, wearing a purple/lavender/lilac shirt.  It was like we were playing cat and mouse.  She would overtake me, then I would overtake her, and vice versa.  However by the 17km mark, I was starting to tire, and I just couldn’t keep her pace, she got further and further away from me (in the end it was only about 100-200m). See below to see my pace times, and how I was slowing down.

By the 18km mark, I could feel my legs starting to tire out, but I pushed through.  At the last water station (18km mark) I couldn’t even say I wanted Gatorade.  They were like water or ‘Gatorade. I just pointed to the Gatorade.  That mouthful really helped.  Also seeing the sign “last hill, we promise” helped too.  The hill wasn’t steep or long, thank goodness, but I was slowing down, I was tired.  But the combo of the Gatorade and the smidge of a lolly I placed in my mouth helped.

Runner 125, half marathon

So I ran, my pace didn’t pick up as much even though I was going downhill, but I could see the finish line. So I just kept putting one foot in front of the other.  Then I saw the family.  I waved, and that pushed me further.  Then I could hear the cheer of the crowd, which helped me to push that bit more.  Then I heard my name and my finish time.  I did it I crossed the finish line.


(Yes I’m aware the above image is sideways, but it’s direct from the Portland 3 Bays Marathon Flickr page. )

The time on the clock corresponds to the Full Marathon, which I didn’t run.  My time was 1h55m36s | 1:55:26.  So yes I got my sub 2 hours time.  That’s a pace of 5:27 per km.

So I smashed my previous half time taking 8 minutes off it.  Yay me. Overall It was a great event.  Next year will be their 30th year anniversary.  Will I be racing? Quite possibly yes.

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