Monday, November 1, 2010

Auckland Marathon - Done and Dusted

Against a lot of people's better judgement I ran the Auckland Marathon yesterday. Not in my normal well prepared condition, I might add but I did it. My objective for the event was to run for as many ks as I could without stopping and to finish. No matter what, I had to get to the end.

I knew, due to my lack of training, that I was not going to do a good time and so it was head down and concentrate on conserving energy as I ran. Too much to drink before the run meant I desperately needed a toilet stop and hung on until just before the bridge. I queued up for 8 minutes! Not happy I continued on but at least my body felt better. I reached half way in 2hrs 16mins. The second half certainly took its toll but I felt that if I got to Tamaki Drive then I was going to make it.

There was a great deal of support from the by-standers and I found that the run wasn't as lonely as previous events. Shayne's cousin, Donna, met me just up from the Via Duct with refreshments and ran a little with me offering lots of support and a promise to see me at the end. I was feeling great at this point, perhaps better than my previous marathons. Not quite sure how that could be...

At about 25kms into the run my lower back began to ache. My back has been giving me a few problems lately but not enough to deter me from the run. I also had a spasm in my left leg that went from my calf muscle to my foot and my foot went numb. It was an odd sensation and not sure what was going on. I could feel blisters and at least one had popped. I needed distractions to keep my mind off the distance left to go and the pains that were starting to kick in. I sang songs (in my head so as not to scare off the supporters), planned my day off, decorated my house with ideas and that saw me through to the turn around point.

No matter what I had to finish. I was struggling but only had about 9kms to go, a short training run. My strategy here was to think of my best 10km training route and pretend I was running it. This worked until just before Mission Bay. The pain really set in and so I walked and stretched my muscles. I'm not very good at stretching at the best of times and so didn't spend too long at it. I started to run again which was excruciating until I got back into rhythm again and that's when I realised that it was much better to keep running.

Just after Tamaki Drive I was met by my son, Josh, my mother in-law, Karen, and Donna. A welcomed sight and I wanted to cry but deep breathes helped. Donna offered to run with me for the last 2kms. I was desperate to stop. My body! But, my boy was there and I'm all about setting good examples for my boys. He had to see me soldier on and so onwards and upwards, 2 more kms and Donna by my side, encouraging me every step of the way. Two more corners left and supporters cheering. An amazing, emotional feeling came over me. I could see the finish and heard Donna yelling at me, "Go Mandy, go! Give it everything you've got!" We ran across the line together and what an amazing feeling! My whole body was screaming with pain but I was SO happy and grateful to Donna and my family. The second half was done in 2hrs 36mins and so a good 20mins slower than the first half. Total time: 4hrs 52mins which is 47minutes slower than my fastest marathon.

I am a very lucky lady!

Today, the day after, I am having a day off work and as long as I'm moving around I'm good but if I sit for too long and then get up, not good. I have got so much done in my house and have had a very productive day.

And so people, I didn't train for this event and know that I would have done a much better time had I trained, however, I managed to go the distance using experience, strategies and a belief in myself.

It was a stupid thing to do, a marathon with next to no training. I had 4 weeks of good training followed by 2 weeks off due to a bad flu, followed by my friend offering to take my ticket off my hands which meant I no longer had to train, followed by 6 weeks later declining the offer thinking it was for a half marathon, not a full. I couldn't waste the ticket and so prepared myself by going for a few runs BUT NOT NEARLY enough. I watched my diet for the week before the marathon, drank plenty of water and prepared myself mentally for the challenge.

Next time I will stay on track with my training, no matter what. I realise now that staying on track with the training is, in fact, harder than the marathon itself and one shouldn't really go without the other.

That's my story. I hope you enjoyed it and thanks for following me through this time. I have a lot to work on and will continue to add to my blog and so stay tuned.
Until next time,


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