Friday was our longest training run for Melbourne Marathon. We could choose to do between 33 to 35kms. We were going for 34kms but in the end Pauly and Louise did 35kms and I did 34.5kms.
- Eating? Yes, ate well today
- Drinking? Yes, drank the requisite amount
- Clothes laid out and everything set for our 7am run start? Yes
- Early night? Yes
- Good sleep? Not too bad considering I was having a minor panic (this run just had to go well, it had to!)
Feeling ok. Better than expected.
7am and we’re running.
The course was a lovely bushy, country road; we were running out for 17.5km and then turn around and back for 16.5km to allow for a cool down walk and so we didn’t have to run up the big hill back to the start.
It was a cool, sunny, spring morning. Perfect running conditions. Louise has zoomed out the night before and put drinks at the 10/25km point. Everything was sorted.
Km 1 to 10
Feeling good. Chatting, loving the bush: the morning bush scents and the sounds of the kookaburras and whip birds – everything was going well. Silent prayers to the running gods Please let me be feeling ok and still running when I pass by here on the way back. I receive a text from Janette with lots of positive vibes and good wishes. I held onto those thoughts all the way through the run.
I had my hydration pack with me so when Louise and Pauly stopped for a drink I slowly kept running. Time for a hammer gel which I ate for the next 3kms. I haven’t heard of anyone taking so long to eat a gel but it seems to be working for me.
Km 10 to 17.5
Hills! We knew the road was slightly undulating but we weren’t prepared for so many hills. We sucked it up and kept running. It was so pretty out there, quiet, still, the odd farm vehicle but apart from that peaceful.
Km 17.5 to 25
It’s getting a bit tough. I have another gel. The hills seem a bit steeper. A new mantra came into my head:
I can do this
I can do this
I am a marathoner
I can do this
I kept saying this over and over to the beat of my running steps. When I started to feel a bit tired, I plastered my smile on my face, thought of Janette’s good vibes and reminded myself that it is a privilege to be healthy and strong and preparing for a marathon. I am a lucky one.
Km 25 to 28
I have not taken one walking step.
I am immensely proud of myself.
Pauly and Louise are still chipping away but have got a bit in front of me. At the drink stop I keep running and we run together for a while. We get to the 28km mark and I do a little happy dance – a happy dance in my head because I don’t have the energy to do one for real.
Km 28 to 30
Keep running! We see a Mother Mountain Duck with her babies, she is totally flustered by three runners and flies off and the leaves the young ones. Pauly assures me she will come back to find them. At this stage Louise and Pauly start to get away from me again. I keep saying my mantra and I keep on going.
Km 30 to 32
Louise and Pauly are nowhere in sight but they are a bit concerned about me. What do that they do? They turn around and come and find me. Big fat show offs! How do they have the energy to do that? I tell them to keep on running, that I’m fine and tell them to run away and leave me to it (with a smile). They pretended to be offended!
Km 32 to 34
Imagine how good you’re going to feel if you don’t do any walking? You can do it! One foot in front of the other. Just keep running.
Km 34 to 34.5
34kms! I’ve made it! But may as well get around the corner and find Louise and Pauly. Oh my goodness, there they are stopped and waiting for me! I stop my watch, walk a few steps and flake on the nature strip. I have no reserves left. I used every bit of fuel in my tank but I did it.
I ran 34.5km all the way without a walking step!
And so did Louise and Pauly. They are simply going to ace that marathon. They are my inspiration. They run and get the job done. They ran their 35kms in 3:52:17 and I ran my 34.5kms in 3:55:14. If I can do that on race day I will sneak in under five hours. Could I have ran another 7.7kms yesterday? I don’t think so. What have I learnt? I need to take several more gels with me. Mostly I have learnt that I do have the mental toughness to keep running. Am I proud of myself? Yes I am.
But then came to the walk back to the start up that jolly hill. I was now on empty and I whinged and moaned and complained all the way back! Louise giggled at me and told me that I sounded like her youngest when they tried to make him go for a walk as a little fellow. Great. 50 year old Unsporty Woman acting like a three year old! Thank you Louise for helping me up that hill and for putting up with my exhausted rantings!
Once we got back to the start and I had some ginger beer I was fine – I just needed to refill the tank.
Last weekend Janette did her longest run to date, 32kms. She smiled and ran those kms at 5:58 minute per km average pace. Pauly and I ran the last 14kms with her. She inspires me with her happy, can do attitude. I’m so looking forward to seeing her at the finish of Melbourne Marathon with a Marathon Medal hanging proudly around her neck.
If running a marathon is your dream just don’t give up. Keep slowly chipping towards your goal. If can run these distances then anyone can. I’ll be honest here, I was petrified of that run yesterday, but now I’m feeling so much better and hopeful about the marathon. I’ve put in the training. I can do it. It really is as much about mental toughness as it is about physical running. It will be tough but I know that we can all do it. Team Louise, Pauly, Janette and Annie will do it!
Happy running 🙂