Week 38 - Marathon

Man, that was not easy.

People have told me that a marathon (and further) is a different beast than running other races. I believed them, but I didn't really understand - I get it now.

First things first, I am super happy with my result. I have been fighting an injury for months now, and I was afraid I wouldn't even finish. So my first goal was to finish, my second was to get between 4:00 and 4:20, and my pie in the sky was to get 3:45. I was confident I could pull the first one off, but I obviously wasn't optimistic for the other two.

My plan was to do the run / walk method for the whole race. I was going to run for 5 minutes then walk for 1 minute. I was going to do that the whole time. Doing that pace would have put me at about 6:00/km and would have got me to the finish line at about 4:20.

However, the race stared by going over the Sydney Bridge. It was amazing running on the bridge, and I just couldn't pass up the opportunity to run right down the middle. It was epic. Like running in some apocalyptic movie. I just stared up at the rafters the whole time in awe as I thought to myself “I'll just get over the bridge, and then I'll start the run / walk”.

Once I got over the bridge, it was so close to 5k that I figured, I'd just run until 5k and then I'd start the run walk.

Before I could start, I got into the section of the race where I used to run with some of my mates from work. “For old time sake, I'll just run though this part and then I'll start”.

But then we hit Oxford street, and I've run that quite a bit. It's a nice hill, so I figured after that…

Anyway, this went on and on until I met a guy about 13k in who was going for a 3:45 time. I felt pretty good. My knee wasn't bothering me too much and the weather was great. I fell back, and figured I just follow this guy for as long as I could.

15k, 20k, 25k, things were going well, but then we hit 30k. I felt a huge puddle of water in my shoe and my toe started to tingle. I was happy it wasn't my knee pain kicking in, but I knew that my toe nail probably fell off and my foot was definitely bleeding. I decided to invoke run / walk.

The bad thing about doing run / walk suddenly (I found out), is it's difficult to get running again. I had gotten into a zone of sorts and now that was broken and each run after the walk started to hurt more and more. My legs started to cramp up, my knee started to hurt more, and I was running in a bloody shoe - good name for a website that.

You can see this unfold if you look at my splits (which I wont bore you with here). 4:50-5:30/km for the first 30k, and then it goes pear shaped from there - 6:34, 7:20, 8:35, etc, etc.

I got a bit depressed at this stage as I knew the 3:45 was gone now. But I reminded myself what was going on, and that getting poopy about the race wasn't going to help. I let it go and I limped on.

I don't mind telling you that when I hit 40k, I almost lost it. My legs were seizing up, my knee was hurting, the 4:00 pacer guy went whizzing by, and I had no idea how I could possibly walk (let alone run) another 2k. I just wanted to go home.

Then for some reason I thought of this movie my brother and I used to watch when we were kids. There were two movies we watched maybe 1000 times on Saturdays - National Lampoons Vacation, and Smokey and the Bandit. The theme song from Smokey and the Bandit sunk into my head, and I just sung that song to myself over and over and jogged the last couple Ks - completely zoned out, seething in pain - across the finish line.

My time wound up being 4:08. For me that was more than I could hope for, and what I consider a good solid first go. As Stickman would say: I left all I had on the field.


For fun, here is my performance management chart after the race:


The strangest part of this whole ordeal, is now I am almost moved to tears when I hear that Smokey and the Bandit song :-/.