Marathons are not for all runners. I get that. From where I sit, three days post-marathon number one, I see that there needs to be some sort of call. Some sort of desire. Some sort of internal click that says Yes, I want to run a marathon. It’s funny how most running programs start with conquering or getting to know 5kms. Then they jump to 10kms, doubling again to the half marathon of 21.1kms and then a huge doubling up to the full marathon 42.2kms. These are big leaps in distances and all these leaps do not call out to everyone. Not taking the leap to big distances does not diminish the fact that we are all runners… no matter what pace, no matter what distance, we are all runners. It takes guts to become and stay a runner no matter what distances we are running. I hold fast to this belief 100%. That’s ONE HUNDRED PER CENT!!!
The Training Review
I can say this now without fear of jinxing us: Pauly, Louise and the Unsporty Woman plodded through 14 weeks of marathon training without a single niggle, hitch or injury. We didn’t miss the long runs and there were only a few shorter runs that we didn’t do.
Coach Craig’s marathon plan had a total of 777kms for the 14 weeks. I ran 644kms in that time. The ones that were left out were during the pre-Point to Pinnacle week putting in a couple of extra rest days and then again in the pre-marathon week, a couple of extra rest days too.
It’s fair to say that our training was standard and routine. AND to be honest I couldn’t have hoped for it be any better than that. It was this standard-ness that gave me hope that all would be ok on the day.
Many times all three of us said: If we can run 37kms of hills we can run a marathon. We felt well prepared.
If we can say this about every event that we train for I’ll be happy! Smooth sailing, straight-forward routine? With all the hiccups, stormy seas, curve balls, issues and crises that life is punctuated by, if running can be without them then that’s GREAT! Running is my happy place.
You’ll be very pleased that I wrote way over 2000 words in this post and they sounded generally sad so I deleted them. I’ve got a lot of things out of my system and now I’m ready to tell you all the highlights, low lights and funny bits of becoming a Marathon Finisher at Cadbury Marathon 2015.
The Low Lights
- I didn’t run all the way. I wanted to, I planned to, I trained to – but I didn’t. After analysing my splits it’s fair to say that all up, over the course of the marathon, I took 3kms of walking steps, these started at the 28km mark. I’m not going to beat myself up
anymorebut use the experience to learn from. There is new respect in this Unsporty Woman’s heart for the marathon but even better, new respect for me! Yes Me! I am a marathon finisher and no matter what happened between the start and the finish, I travelled the whole course and finished – my tee shirt says that Marathon Finisher.
- My mantras and positive self-talk got lost somewhere on the day. Hard to believe I know, but they did. For some reason every time I went to chant I’m a marathoner, I’m a marathoner I didn’t feel worthy. I felt like a fraud.
- At 23km we headed around a cone and back out for the second lap. That’s when I started to feel defeated. Why so early??? When all the training runs were so good??? I have no idea.
- When the sun burned the clouds off at 10am it got a little warm.
- I worried Pauly because I took an hour and a half to run the last 10kms. He thought something bad had happened (I was updating my facebook so everyone knew where I was).
The High Lights
- Team Huey, Dewy and Louie FINISHED!!!! We are marathoners!
- I kept to my own race own pace resolve and didn’t go too fast at the start.
- I got to chat with a gentleman who was trying to qualify for the Comrades Marathon in South Africa (this was at my 9th km and my fastest one too at 6:09mins/km). He didn’t think he would do it; he said this with a smile and that he would give it his best shot. I really liked his positive attitude. I found him at the finish and guess what? He snuck in and qualified with just a couple of minutes to go! It couldn’t have happened to a nicer guy.
- I didn’t have to go to the portaloo once! Yay for Guts!
- The personal drinks at each stop were wonderful. It was great not to have to carry all my gels. It was just a matter of popping them into the right boxes at the admin office half an hour before race start.
- The marshals, drinks volunteers and police were AWESOME!!!! At one point (pre-23kms) I was feeling so happy about being there and doing something I’d only ever thought possible in dreams; I saw a marshal smiling at me. I said with a big smile and giggle I’m running a marathon! And he smiled even more, cheered and clapped! Such a happy moment.
- The support from fellow runners and friends there watching was truly awesome! All my lovely running friends Sam, Leanne T, Leanne E, Leigh, Lynnda, Deb and of course Miss Melee cheered me on as they zoomed out and back doing the half marathon. So good. And they all had awesome runs. At one point Deb put her arm briefly around my shoulders and cheered me on. That was so appreciated!
- Photos! I have wonderful photos of everyone to remember the day. Never run passed a camera without a smile and a wave! Many were taken by Malcolm, Darren and Glenn. They not only took photos but cheered and clapped and waved too. Better than any shot in the arm!
- At one point on the lap home I saw Cathy and Malcolm driving back to their hotel. Did they wave and cheer? Cathy hung half her body out of the car waving like a mad thing cheering me on. So Good!!!
- The photos of me finishing and Louise hugging me are priceless beyond any treasure. There are a few sets of these thanks to Fiona and Glenn.
- I updated my facebook at the 7km, 16km and 26km marks and then when I had 10kms to go. I had my phone on silent but somehow I managed to turn the sound back on. At a very low point I head a bling and it was a message from Janette telling me to Keep Going!!!!! It was just what I needed when I needed it!
- I saw and heard those cheers and pom poms from Sue and Dave frequently throughout the marathon but particularly at the 10km to go mark. Amazing how I was able to see and hear all the way from Tasmania, Australia to Canada!
- I got lots of feedback that I was looking smiley out there – that’s good because there were times when my smile was literally forced on but I kept it there as best I could.
- So impressed with Louise’s husband Grant and girls who ran the 5km. They chose the 5km event so that they would be there to see their gorgeous wife and mum finish. I love that about this little family, so lovely and supportive of each other!
- I saw a lady in the pre-race VIP area (you can spend an extra $50 and have access to some extra goodies like more portaloos, more chocolate and massage tables). She looked freezing and worried. Turned out that she didn’t realise that the marathon field was so small (there were 290 finishers according to the results). She thought small equalled elite and she was worried that she would come last. I asked her what her expected finish time was. She’d run heaps of marathons and usually did around 3:50:00. I assured her (failing not to laugh) that she wouldn’t be last and that I would be somewhere way way way behind her. I saw her several times on the course and she was making it look easy.
- There were two squids running the half marathon. I kid you not. All in green lycra from head to toe complete with tentacle hats.
Pauly: 4:09:10, 6th in his category and 127th male.
Louise: 4:26:39, 19th in her category and 64th woman.
Annie: 5:12:03, 8th in my category and 90th woman.
There were 99 women and 191 men who finished the marathon on Sunday.
Pauly’s results are from his watch. His name wasn’t in the official results at first, something that didn’t worry him at all. But I sent an email and let race organisers know. Turns out he had a faulty chip. These are re-useable chips so had I not emailed someone else may have got this one in a future event. So I’m glad I did.
It was a great day. Full of wonderful memories, high lights, low lights and funny parts that are just too much to write.
What I take away from this event is to respect myself as a runner even more than I have. It’s a big thing this running thing. Yes anyone can do it but they don’t. Whatever the distance, when it is new it feels like a marathon and so often we feel we’ll never make it. But we keep trying and eventually we do.
I have learnt more about perseverance and respect over the last 14 weeks. And that never hurt anyone.
Happy running 🙂
PS this reverse taper things is HORRIBLE. Tomorrow I can run and I can’t wait!!!