The bumpy road to marathon greatness.

Grab a coffee, this could take a while…

Normally I would put a link to a song here… but I can’t find a good copy of Garth Brook’s “Do what you gotta do” to link to, so if you know the song, whistle along.. If you don’t, you wouldn’t have clicked the link to listen to it anyway, so I’ll just get on with it.

It was no secret this year that all my best laid plans of running two marathons (GC & Syd) went west quite early in the season. I ended up with two non-running related injuries (a torn pec and a skin infection that would not respond to antibiotics and threatened to put me in hospital) and the first (planned) marathon at the gold coast, where I had a 30min PB in my sights, turned into a half marathon PW (personal worst) where i struggled home in 2.09. At this point, I mentally gave up on the season of greatness and settled for the season of ‘fun’ half marathons. I ran 4 in total and did have a lovely time, no complaints, but no soaring dizzying heights of greatness either. I had some really nice runs with my friends.. (that was pretty much every weekend, race or not) ate some breakfasts and even bought my dog along.

I decided to not go to Melbourne for financial reasons and when registrations for the half sold out… I gave up on the idea altogether. Well, that’s what I said to everyone, but the idea still niggled away at me. I had such a brilliant time last year, tk and I rarely go away together and I am unashamedly in love with Melbourne and it’s Marathon Festival and it’s architecture and it’s hole-in-the-wall cafes and it’s simplicity of navigation, it’s heritage and history.. to be honest,  mostly I like the marathon…. I  am certainly not in it for the weather!

As it turns out, I wasn’t the only one that hadn’t completely abandoned the idea and every time an accommodation special came up my persistent friend Karlee would email me the details… and I would be a pain in the arse and resist… Until webjet came up wtih an offer that I just could not refuse. Less than $200 for 2 nights in the CBD.

SOLD! To the lady who has her ambitions mixed up with her capabilities, again… (remembering here, the half had sold out, it was full marathon or bust!)

With just 6 weeks to go til marathon day I started training. I backed the Sunshine Coast half marathon up with a 32km training run the following week and went from there (I did 4 long runs in total).

Here is where I started to run into trouble. My right ITB flared up at the knee after last years marathon and once I started regularly running over 20km the left one didn’t feel any better than the right. I had to admit that I was in trouble. Being that I couldn’t really afford to go to Melbourne in the first place, I couldn’t really afford to go to the physio regularly either. I felt really torn with what to do about it.

Earlier on in the year, just after I tore my pec lifting something that I shouldn’t have been, some friends of mine attended a running workshop that they were absolutely raving about, however I hadn’t finished my ‘injury bout’ and whilst their enthusiasm was great, I wasn’t in a good place with my running and I didn’t think too much about it…. Until now, where I was 5 weeks out from a full marathon and my training runs were starting to become painful and I *really* doubted myself to be able to cover the distance in the amount of pain that I was going to be in… So it was time to revisit ‘those guys’ that my friends were not only raving about, but had become quite good friends with, what were ‘those guys’ about anyway?

Running Injury Free

ahhh? Really? hmmmmm, that sounds as though it may be beneficial to my cause at the moment, might be worth a look.

The RIF-REV blog is an absolute gold mine of information for runners, as I was soon to discover.  It cost me nothing but my time to watch a couple of videos and learn what was causing my ITB discomfort and also how to correct it through running technique and taping. I used to think that the tape was for sissies (yea, like I used to think that wearing compression pants to bed was for wankers) but after watching ONE video, I taped my knees after (yes, after… that’s when I got the tape) a long run and all the pain went away. Immediately. Yes, I looked a bit silly with tape on my knees, but they didn’t hurt and I was able to complete my long run schedule which 2 days prior I was ready to scrap. We were back in business!

I booked into the next introductory ‘RIF-REV’ session, which just happened to be the week before the marathon. (yea, we all know that if it wasn’t for the last minute, nothing would get done on Planet De) I am not going to go into the in’s and out’s of the session (if you haven’t been to one, go! ASAP!!!) just suffice to say that it changed everything for me.

Everything.

I have paid reasonable money for sessions in the past that left me confused and feeling uncoordinated. I have had ‘experts’ look at me incredulously when I said that I had already ran a marathon (I can only assume that this is because I look like goofy on crack when I attempt to do a running drill) and when I asked for advice about running another one, they smiled (somewhat condescendingly, I might add) and told me that it would be best that I signed up for more sessions. (Yes, at a session that I was paying for… the advice was to pay for more sessions) This is probably a good time to mention that the introductory RIF-REV session is free. Yep. It won’t cost you a dime (and nobody looks at you like you are an idiot)

It is also worth saying that these guys really know their shizz.  If the interest grabs you, go have a read of what they are up to. These blokes are experts in the field and damn interesting characters.

Paul Treventhan – Director, Body Leadership

Will Wragg – Best known for running 50 marathons in 50 days (whilst working full time)

Paul & Will are in the process of setting up the biggest source of information available to runners, to enable them to run without injury. Not only is the website an absolute boon to runners of all types, but they are a couple of the nicest folk that you could meet. Having already said that I can’t afford to actually *go* to the physio, I am not a client of Body Leadership.

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None-the-less when I arrived in Melbourne at 8pm on Saturday night on a twice delayed flight (yes, tiger, yes the fares were cheap) tired, starving and without adhesive spray (my kryptonite) to hold my (now as important as breathing) tape in place for an entire marathon… What did Paul and Will do? They ran through Melbourne at 9 o’clock at night to drop me off a can of sticky stuff, so that I could run. FOR NOTHING! I’m not a client of Paul’s and as much as I would love it, I can’t see me affording a one on one session with Will at any time in the near future. They just did it because I needed it.

It’s going to sound really daggy to say, but it is people like this that change the world and make me SUPER excited and inspired for the future.

I simply could not have ran this race without them. Let alone in a time that I thought completely unobtainable. I thought that it would be sensible to aim for 4.30-4.45 for this marathon, all things considered. I’m not as fit as I was last year, I am 6kg heavier, I had a personal trainer last year, I was more organised last year… I was happy to settle for a second marathon that was done, without injury and I was also really hoping that I didn’t get kicked off the course at the 5hour mark. (This was of great concern!) Worse still the notion of a DNF (did not finish)…. *shudder*….

As it turns out, I ran it on my ear in 4.12. Only 4 minutes slower than last year (when I was MUCH fitter) I stopped for a loo break (just a wee, for those of you playing at home and judging from the comments I have already had, that is a few of you) and from 37Km through to the final lap around the MCG it rained cats and dogs and probably other domestic animals as well, it was torrential. It was torrential and I was smiling.

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I’m not going to take anything away from myself here, as I have said before *I* am the only person that can get me over the finish line, but geez this time was with a great deal of ‘help from my friends’.

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Special credit must go to Ann Marie for the extreme effort and inconvenience in picking up my race-pack when my flight was changed from a morning flight to the afternoon and also to my beautiful daughter for being such a wonderful bag-lady and sending me funny and motivational text messages to keep me sane during the run. Karlee not only kept at me in finding accommodation but ran some long runs with me as well, even the last one that threatened to kill us both from heat exhaustion.

Then there is the unfailing support from so many ‘Awesome Runners’, that at times probably don’t even realise how much they encourage and support. (Bec, Lesley, Roba, Margaret, Ingred, Jan, Michelle… I am sure that I have forgotten someone, but you all know who you are.)

I am going to sum it up with a quick rundown of my best marathon moments…..

*Running up Batman Ave for the second time…. thinking not of smiling and happiness, but of ‘What the hell am I doing’

*Passing the guy who was at 17km (I was at around 29km) who was singing ‘Beyond Salvation’ at the top of his lungs.. everybody around us was laughing, either at or with him, I was laughing at how much he looked (and sounded) like me the previous year… Just keep running, sing out loud if you must but for god’s sake, JUST KEEP RUNNING!

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*Running through the 20km mark and feeling fine! (I have really got to find a more attractive colour for the tape!)

*My daughter txting me after I rang her, telling her that I had just ran through the 20km mark feeling great to tell me that I was amazing and awesome and was going to come close to last year’s time (like I didn’t already know that, my garmin was still working!)

*My lack of planning caused my garmin to run out of puff around 28km (seriously, what are you going to do? cry or run?)

*Meeting a lady whose first marathon it was, yet she had run an ultra? (she also shared a lolly snake with me)

*Quite literally not being able to breathe when I saw everyone cheering for me 1km from the end (actually that was scary)

*Running over the finish line in the MCG and thinking to myself “why the hell would you say that you didn’t want to do that”

Honestly!

That feeling is better than anything.

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