Well, almost. Let’s say I sprained it. Can you sprain your butt?
All things considered, yesterday went rather well in terms of finishing 42k.
The weather started out perfect - overcast and cool, but not freezing. There was not a breath of breeze, even along the water, we were told at the start line.
I cut it way too close getting down there before the race though. I was still waiting in line for the toilets at 6:55. The race started at 7!
Of course, I still had time to take a photo!
But all was good. I kept the pace slow, as per my plan, 6:20 ish all the way. The kilometres began to tick off nice and easy as we passed over the Princes Bridge and down along St Kilda Rd; I reached the turnoff for Albert Park Lake in no time
Then back out onto Fitzroy St and down along Beaconsfield Parade
18k mark – Say hello to random waving dude with the Spirit of Tasmania in the background
At this point I was starting to feel a little grumpy and like this was all too hard, but because the dreaded middle third of the race was coming up, I just presumed that was the problem and tried to ignore the feeling.
I hate the middle third of a marathon. You’re not close enough to the finish to get excited but you are pretty sore by that point, and I find this is where I have most of my ‘WHY did I decide to do this?’ mental conversations with myself!
But by the time I had made the turn back the other way towards Marine Parade I knew that my problem wasn’t mental.
Mr Piriformis had started to grumble. And he just wouldn’t shut up.
I’d gone through the halfway point at 2:17, an absolutely awesome time for me, one that could have given me a 4:50 finish, getting me in under the 5 hour mark for the first time ever.
It just wasn’t to be.
By the 24k point I knew something was really wrong. I’d arranged to meet hubby and my daughter at Dickens St, but an unanticipated loo stop (by them, not me!) meant I missed them. Taking a much needed walk break I phoned John and we tried for another point a bit further on. I missed them again.
I’m glad I was too quick for someone.
Finally we decided he could meet me back at Dickens St on my return down Marine Parade. I said “Bring Nurofen!!”
I know there are well documented reasons for not taking anti-inflammatories during a distance event, such as having to be really careful of dehydration and your kidneys (the comments in the linked article are really informative too) but at that point I really didn’t care!
We met up at the 28k mark and I downed about 200ml of John’s Coke and the Nurofen. Not an ideal mix but the Coke did have me feeling chirpy a few minutes later.
I know I look like an idiot wearing my trail tshirt to a road race, especially one that says ‘Bitumen is Boring’, but it’s my lucky shirt okay!?!
Right after this photo was taken it started to absolutely pour with rain. And it continued to do so until I was almost at the finish line, which messed up my feet pretty bad, but luckily (?!?) I couldn’t feel anything but my very sore piriformis muscle.
About 10 minutes later I passed a drinks station and made sure to have two cups of water. The drugs kicked in not long after that and from then on I was much better. I still couldn’t run hills without pain, and there were lots of puddles and slippery areas to deal with, but at that point gentle uphill slopes were still fine.
I should probably also mention that I really don’t mind running in the rain. In fact, I kind of like it! So I was starting to feel kinda good again at this point.
Obviously not as good as I would have felt laying on the couch watching the newest episode of The Walking Dead and drinking cider. But still, I felt better. I mean, it’s all relative isn’t it?
As I reached the top of Fitzroy St and turned back on to St Kilda road, however, that all changed. After a couple hundred metres of gentle downhill the tiny uphill slope towards the Royal Botanic Gardens totally defeated me. I walked for at least 10 minutes there, then got a second wind that took me down Sturt St under St Kilda Rd and back up into Linlithgow Ave near the Botanic Gardens.
This being the 36k point I began to cheer up considerably, as you do when 4+ hours of hard yakka is almost over.
Then John called again, to say he was stuck across town in traffic and there was no way he could get to me in time to give me my beloved 36km Coke. Because I had been run/walking since the 28k mark I didn’t need this morale boost as much as I usually did, so I just said I’d see him at the finish line and tried to get moving again.
By this stage I could only run downhill, as even flat terrain was proving difficult, but luckily the last few k has a lot of up and down in it, rather than flat, so I walked the uphill and ran the downs. I was even running as I rounded the corner of Swanston and Flinders Sts – those course photographers better have got a good one of me this time!!
Finally, finally, I came up to the entrance of the MCG, ran around the edges of the Hallowed Ground and crossed the finish line.
Apart from my sore arse I was actually in a lot better shape than I have been before. Which was frustrating. It’s difficult to not be able to ‘dig deep’ in case you really injure yourself, but I know my decision was worth it.
I hate having that feeling of “I could have done better”, but I really don’t think I could have done much better at all. The way my piriformis muscle is feeling now is exactly the way it was feeling after last marathon, when I pushed it, and then ignored it, then broke it.
So this way, I have both finished a marathon and not written myself off for running later in the month.
I am writing this from the perspective of two days later and trying to look on the bright side.
- I finished my first marathon training through full time work
- I have zero lower back or shoulder pain – those upper body and core strength workouts actually did something!
- I managed to hold off an injury and still finish marathon number 4
- I didn’t know it at the time but that squishy feeling in my foot wasn’t just a ‘hot spot’
I was pretty chuffed to realise I was tough enough to keep running when this was going on in my shoe. How gross is that? Hope you weren’t eating breakfast or anything…
Last, but certainly not least, I get to add another medal to my collection
The things we do for love hey?