Rematch?

Two months after completing the half marathon, I went for my first run this morning. Remember when running 500m was hard work? Well I’m back there again. I’m hoping the road back to run fitness won’t be as hard this time around.

A lot has been happening in the last two months and I’ve had neither time nor inclination to write. That’s not true. I had time, but couldn’t think of anything worth writing (or reading).

I had planned to stop and take photos along the way and enjoy my one and only half marathon – the only reason I took my phone with me. However, as I settled into the rhythm of the race I decided I wouldn’t stop and take photos. I didn’t want to be able to use the excuse “I was only slow because I stopped to take photos”. It’s time to stop sabotaging my own results.

I did take a “before” photo though. (The reverse camera on my phone is really not high quality.) The atmosphere was amazing – so many people! Being in the last start zone, I had no idea when the race actually started. All of a sudden the crowd just started moving. So we moved with them. Then they stopped. Then they started again. Eventually we crossed the start line – 8 minutes after the race started!

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I mentioned in my short post-race post that my body gave out before my mind did. 10km into the run I started getting a very sharp pain below my right knee. Until that point I was spot on my target pace. After that point, everything started to fall apart. I was overtaken by about 500 people in the second half of the race. I pretty much had to hobble the last 11km. As long as I kept my leg straight I could (mostly) put pressure on it. Trying to bend it backwards and pull my foot up to take another stride was incredibly painful. I’m the first to admit that I have a very low pain threshold and I’m the last person who would just “suck it up”. I’m that person who tells people to stop if they’ve hurt themselves. “It’s not worth risking permanent injury” I would say to Kevin’s squash team mates if they rolled ankles or ran into the wall during a match. “It’s just a social competition.”

On the day, I finally got a taste of that determination to finish no matter what. That was new. I’ve paid for this race, I’m not planning to do another one, so I should just stick it out and hope I can still make the cutoff. So many new thoughts!

The ladies I’d trained with had the same time goal of 2:30 but they were planning to start slow and speed up at the end to overtake people and feel good that way. My plan was to start out faster while I was fresh (controlled faster – not stupid faster) knowing that I would slow down as I fatigued. They passed me about 1km after I started my crazy lopsided dance.

You can see in some of the official photos how badly I was swinging my foot to get it in front of the other.

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Then of course, there is the photo sequence of “before and after I saw the photographer”. #smileforthecamera #whataposer

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For a short time, I was disappointed with my finish photos because all the cameras I could see were focused on the wheelchair marathon winner who was coming down the chute with me which made me feel insignificant and unimportant. As it turns out there was a camera still on the finish line… and it’s not about the photos anyway.

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I actually shed a few tears between the finish line and the shirts/medals area. I know they aren’t the point either, but I was thinking “how could they have run out already” because I’m so used to being given that stuff as soon as you cross the line. Instead, I just crossed the line, walked into an open space and had to look for signs where to go next and how to get out. They were tears of relief that I’d finally made it I think as well as just feeling lost and all my running insecurities came flooding back.

I was disappointed for a minute or so that I didn’t go close to 2:30 but I had said all along I’d be happy just to go under 3 hours, and to do that while “injured” is pretty amazing.So where to from here? I went to see a physio when I got home a few days after the race. It turns out the knee pain was the symptom of an ITB problem. Another running milestone! So I’ve been under “no running” instructions until this week with lots of exercises to do.

My next race is the swim leg of a half ironman triathlon (1.9km in the river) at Port Macquarie. 6 weeks from today. Needless to say, I’ve been doing a lot of swimming. Every day this week. I went for a training swim in the river, on the actual course a couple of weeks ago and it surprised me just how much more energy I expend in the “open” water than in the pool. I can now swim 2km easily (albeit slowly) in the pool, but put me in the river in a wetsuit and I’m ready for a break after 5-10 strokes. This race is going to be all about my mental state.

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I’m the shorty on the left. The one who was still trying so hard to smile after the
swim that she didn’t think about taking her goggles off yet.

The race itself was not a goal of mine, being a part of the Tri Freedom team is the goal. This is a local charity which raises funds and awareness for the A21 Campaign – “Abolishing Injustice in the 21st Century”. That is my incentive. I’ve wanted to be a part of it for years but have never been able to consider the distances required in the cutoff times. When it hurts in the swim, I’ll be thinking of the unfortunate people who have been trafficked and have no hope of getting out. I only have to endure the water for an hour. I’m hoping I won’t be “enduring” at all, but it gives me some perspective. I’m there by choice, with a purpose. They have had all their rights, dignities and respect stolen from them.

After that, it’s a 5km fun run in Armidale on 1st November followed by the Forster Sprint triathlon on 7th November. I’ll be trying to beat last year’s time.

ASIDE: I have wondered if I should start a campaign asking people to boycott the Armidale fun run so I have a chance at a podium finish. (I’m kidding – if, you’re reading this, you should go and register to support the local events!)

armidale

From there? Who knows. Maybe, just maybe, I’ll take on the Gold Coast Half Marathon again next year for a rematch. I’d love to have another crack at that 2:30 time. So, yes, all those who said “you’ll do more than one”, you can now say “I told you so”. Maybe.

And my running? Well, this morning I did 4 x 500m with a one minute rest between each. The first two felt good but slow. The third had a niggle in my knee, so I’m obviously still not activating the correct muscles, and the fourth was just plain hard work.

I’ll have to make up a bit of time on the swim and bike at Forster because it looks like my run leg will be a bit slower than last year. There’s still two months to get it sorted, so it’s onward and upward and it’s good to be back!

We’re off to Port Douglas tomorrow for two weeks of holiday so I have a relaxed, unstructured training plan that involves the lagoon pool at the resort and some beach walks, and of course Cairns parkrun next Saturday.

Speaking of parkrun, we’re coming up to the first anniversary of Tamworth parkrun. It’s been an amazing twelve months of new friends, new skills and lots of warm fuzzy feelings.

So, that is the last two months worth of posts in one. Possibly still not worth reading, but thanks for reading anyway. Smile

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6 responses »

  1. I really admire your determination to do all this for such a good cause! I’d hate to swim in open water so good luck with that! Hope the knee improves. Julie x

    • Thanks Julie, it’s not open like in the ocean so there shouldn’t be much swell which will suit me just fine. 🙂 You’re pretty amazing yourself. I’m enjoying reading about your current training plan, it sounds like it’s working for you.

      • Thank you! So far so good with the plan. It takes the deliberation out of ‘should I run today?’ And that saves a lot of time and energy!

  2. keep it up, and also once you do it and take a break it will come back quickly. that is what 1 of my swim coaches said to me after taking a year off of swimming, and notice how fast i was improving. he learn i swim before then the school i went to cut its team, then i joined his team… keep it up

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