Friday, May 29, 2015

Marathon Wrap

Sorry for the wait, but here's the wrap on my 2nd Marathon - the Great Ocean Road Marathon 2015.

For those of you who don't know, the Great Ocean Road Marathon is run on the Great Ocean Road between Lorne & Apollo Bay.  The same road goes on to the 12 Apostles  - if you click on the link it will give you an idea of the coast line which is pretty iconic around the world as one of THE places to visit in Australia (like Uluru, Sydney Harbour Bridge, Great Barrier Reef).  The only day of the year the road is closed is for this event, which makes it really special.

Unfortunately our God daughters 18th birthday party was scheduled the night before the event & I'd been very conflicted about whether or not to put in an appearance.  I'd missed her 16th party as we were overseas & I promised not to book a holiday in that month.  However I did book the Marathon.  While I'd made sure the Marathon wasn't on her birthday, it ended up being the night chosen for her party.

We had dinner with her on her actual birthday & eventually Plumbing Boy talked me into not going to the party itself, even if I'd only hoped to go for an hour, & put the Marathon first.

I laid out all my gear Friday night, hoping to remember everything, which I think I did.  I had 3 pairs of socks packed just in case one felt "funny" on, on the day (which sometimes happens to me!!). 

We headed off Saturday morning & arrived in Lorne after 3 hours on the road in time to meet Mum & Dad (who had booked into the caravan park for a 4 day weekend) & see the start of the 14km event.  I spotted Carol in the starting corral, but it was a bit busy & noisy for me to make contact with her before they all took off, with the Wheel Chair event leading the way.

Plumbing Boy took off to do some reconnaissance walking of local dirt bike tracks with his electric chainsaw & Mum, Dad & I grabbed a coffee.  The Wheel Chair racers where back before I'd finished with the 14kmers hot on their tails.  We lined the street & cheered all the runners home, including Carol who ran a PB (you rock!!!!) & caught up for a chat.  A couple of Carols friends from her local running group had dressed up & come down to cheer her on (they were running in the half on Sunday) & looked fabulous!!!!  Was lovely to meet them & the camaraderie has inspired me to find a running group to join myself.  

Mum & Dad drove me back to our accommodation in Airey's Inlet approximately 15kms on the other side of Lorne to meet PB.  We'd planned on heading back into Lorne for dinner to the pasta night buffet & listen to the guest speakers, but after being on the windy road for an hour & a half already we opted to have dinner at the pub across the road.  I'd been carb loading all day with my Tailwind sports drink & ended up with Pizza for dinner instead of pasta.

I think we were in bed by 8pm & after a fitful sleep, the alarm was going off & it was time to get ready & head to Lorne (excuse the dodgy photography below).  

Took us 20 minutes & we saw a beautiful sunrise along the way. The day was forecast to be fine, top of 17, sunny with light winds & it delivered as promised - it was spectacular!  

We arrived in Lorne about an hour before starting time as planned.  PB got a coffee, I stayed in the car trying to keep warm as it was rather cool to start with.  As anticipated, I was not happy with my initial choice of sock & switched into an older pair while waiting. 

Timed the portaloo perfectly in-between bus loads - there was a service bringing runners from Apollo Bay up to the starting line.  We wandered up to the starting area, trying to keep in a sunny spot for a smidge of additional warmth, then it was time to lose my winter coat & join the start proper.  PB saw me off, then headed round the detour for the finishing line stopping for another walk on the way.

As always the beginning was a little tricky finding a way through the masses of runners & into space & to find your pace.  I think my feet were frozen up to my ankles for the first 3kms & it was 5kms before I could fully feel my fingers again.  I'd run a few hills by then & was actually feeling quite good & had settled into a good pace with a pack of around 10 runners.

This is the first event I've done with lots of hills & I had been a little nervous about them.  The physio I'd seen 2 weeks prior had assured me they weren't that bad, & that he didn't actually notice them!!  He WAS right to a degree.  Mostly they were fine & I hardly gave them a thought, except the 2 x big ones.  But I ran them both, all the way without any thoughts of stopping for a walk so I was very happy about that!!!

I chugged happily along & even spotted a Koala until around the 30km mark where not only did my right knee start to hurt but so did my right hip.  I’d taken the anti inflams at 15kms, but the pain still came on.  I worked through the next 5kms & rubbing the top of the ITB into my hip which seemed to help so did that as the knee pain was kind of in waves over that period.  I was feeling quite anxious about whether or not I was going to make the distance.

Just before the 38th km I was really starting to panic about not being able to finish as my left knee was now hurting as much as my right & I actually stopped running & started to walk as both were consistently hurting.  I was just about in tears at this point.

I looked up after a few seconds of walking & saw PB standing at the Skeene's Creek turn off waiting to be let through in a queue of traffic.  He'd gotten out of the car & was watching the runners with camera in hand in case I came past.  I have never been so pleased to see him in my entire life!!!  I started running to him & he knew I was in trouble by the look on my face.  

He gave me a hug & quick pep talk, telling me it was only 6 kms to go.  I kept on running & checked the overall time on my watch as it ticked over the 39th km realising I was at 3 hours 44 minutes & there was an extremely slim possibility I could actually make the marathon time in under 4 hours & kicked myself for not realising this earlier.  

Managed to run another 1.5kms before the pain cranked up a notch, walked for a couple of witches hats, then ran again & continued to do that til I made it to the marathon timer: official time 4 hours 3 mins 46 seconds (Melb Marathon time was 3 hours 58mins 34 seconds).  

Mum & Dad had said they would be on the road between the marathon finish & the finish line proper in front of the caravan park they were staying at.  As I approached where they were supposed to be I started running again - they'd come all this way to see me, I thought I'd better show them I could run!!!  But they were nowhere to be seen.  I was quite disheartened thinking they'd either gone to make a cuppa or were in the loo & had missed me.  

Just after this PB pulled up along side me driving as slowly as I was running as they were finally allowing south bound traffic through & we had a quick chat.  I amused myself the rest of the way alternating between walking & running, high fiving kids who were now lining the streets.  I asked a few of them if they thought I could make it to the finishing line which of course they all resoundingly in different ways said YES!!!, so had to start running again.

As I approached the finish line proper, who should I see but Mum & Dad, who on advice from some other spectators decided to change their vantage point & get in amongst it!  Mum had even made a sign & had asked the lady next to her if she could ring her cow bell for me as I ran past!  Official time for the 44kms was 4.21.41

I was very happy to see PB again as I walked through the finishing corral & also Mum & Dad & continued to walk around in circles while talking to them & taking a few phone calls while I cooled down, drank another litre or so of water & drank my recovery protein.  As everyone else seemed to be doing it I joined the queue for the stage & had my photo taken in front of the banner - in case you missed it from the other day, her it is again.

It was now time to brave the ocean & with a hot latte I waded in to almost my waist & braved 10 or so minutes until I couldn't stand it any more!  I should have just sat in the shallows, but as they say, hindsight is a marvellous thing.  Usually I manage 20 minutes in Melbourne but I swear the water was colder here!!!  

Changed & sat in the sun on the footpath @ a Cafe & enjoyed a well earned open steak sandwich & chips, & a couple of glasses of wine while watching the last of the runners complete the event with Mum & Dad & PB.  Could have had my picture taken with Mona, but thought I'd leave that to you Carol!!!!

Drove Mum & Dad back to their caravan park & headed for home.........2.5 hours later I was ensconced in a hot Epsom salts bath (with another glass of Vino).  I didn't sleep well that night - everything hurt & every time I moved I woke myself up from said hurt, but I expected that from the previous marathon.  Maybe I needed more wine!

I was pretty sore the next day & was still swearing I wouldn't be running another marathon, but by Wednesday I'd decided I will be running it again next year & will be running the whole bloody way this time!!!!!

I’m still pretty happy with my time considering the hills, but it would have been nice to have run the whole way & not had killer knees.  It’s a little frustrating, but I am blessed to be able to run at all, so have to be happy with that.  It’s kind of hard to recognise your own achievement being inside it if you know what I mean!!  And there are always people who can run further & faster so I don’t think my achievements are anything spectacular.

Neither the finishers medal or the ribbon it hangs on are date stamped which I thought was odd – medal I guess if they keep using the same one, OK, but GMHBA are a new sponsor this year, so don’t understand why the year wasn’t on the ribbon.  The 14km ribbon has the year on it, not sure about the half marathon event.  I’m going to get my medal engraved with the date.  I guess if that’s my only complaint about the event it was pretty well run I would certainly recommend it to anyone especially if the weather is good!!

I think I will be content to spend the rest of the year getting that ITB sorted once & for all & participating in a few half & 10km events just for fun.  I think if you've actually read all the way through this, you deserve a medal too.

A big thank you should go out to my running coach, PT, PB & family & of course the cheer squad (you all know who you are, what you were wearing & what tunes you were playing me!!!) & my lucky charms on the day - you got me to 38kms without walking; & eventually to the finishing line.  I owe you all!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Friday, May 22, 2015

Marathon Done

So.  The marathon is done.  I survived.  It wasn't all sunshine & rainbows, but it wasn't all bad.  I've been flat out & haven't had time to write up the race report.  Hopefully on the weekend.  But for now, here I am, post race, on the stage, taking full advantage of the photo op!!!!

Friday, May 15, 2015

GORM Training Update Week 20/20

Great Ocean Road Marathon Training Week 20: 11/5 - 17/5

Run 1: Tuesday PM 10kms normal pace - pace approx 5.23
Run 2: Thursday AM 5km fast - pace 5.08
Run 3: Race Day (gets it's own post)

Other: Light PT x 2

Feeling: Determined (thanks Carol!).

While I am still sad about the death of my dear kitty cat, I have a job to do.  Woobs wasn't a quitter & neither am I.  When I got her, the vet said she had a break at the base of her tail (from an Xray) & we had to be careful her whole life to keep her regular, as being constipated would be quite painful for her.   She also had something going on with her right shoulder & would stand with it almost dislocated at times.  I am sure both of these things contributed to her being arthritic in old age, but she never gave up.  So neither will I.

I have 2 x (hopefully) lucky charms I plan on running with. 

The first is for our friend who died from brain cancer earlier in the year, who was a Dr Who tragic - the Tardis.  And the second is for my cat.

I went through her old collars & found this one, which perfectly matches my shoes.  Blue - it looks like you are coming too as my charms are you LOL!

Training is complete.  All that is left is the marathon itself.  I found out we get 2 times - one at the marathon distance 42.195 & one at the end which I am still unsure if it's 44 or 45kms!  Website say 44kms, but lots of people said it's actually 45, so I guess I will see on the day.  I'm to run it as a marathon with a cool down at the end.  

I cant decide where to have the family positioned - the actual marathon timing spot or the official finish, or somewhere between the two!  I know that at the melb marathon, even had the family been able to see me, I wouldn't have seen them.  I was so focused on running as fast as I could across the finishing line the only thing I saw was the clock & the archway you run under!!!!

Anyhoo.  I've done all I can do now other than carb loading.  Just need to make sure I pack everything & don't trip over anything in the interim.  Wish me luck!!!!

Thursday, May 14, 2015

GORM Training Update Week 19/20

Great Ocean Road Marathon Training Week 19: 4/5 - 10/5

Run 1: Tuesday PM 7kms Hills normal pace - done on treadmill, didn't time
Run 2: Thursday AM 10km normal pace - 5.23 pace
Run 3: Saturday 12kms normal pace - 5.36 pace

Other: PT x 2

Feeling: Pre noon Saturday good/post noon Saturday heartbroken.

Weather was wet & windy Tuesday morning so I opted to go to my gym & run on the treadmill - no point risking illness this close to the event.  Didn't bother recording the time.  I've not been to my gym that early before; it's not staffed at that hour & I was a little apprehensive about how safe &/or creepy it would be, but was pleasantly surprised to see a couple of familiar faces.  

Saturday's run was good despite the impending Vet appointment.  The day was clear, the sun out, little wind.  Perfect for running.  If you haven't read the previous post, now is the time to do it, as it explains what happened Saturday afternoon.

Tuesday, May 12, 2015

She is gone

On Saturday, I farewelled my furry companion of 16.5 years.  Her health had been declining since January & I had a feeling that it was time.  I made an appointment with the vet who has looked after her for her whole life on Saturday as I didn't want to do this during the week.  

If it was time, I wanted to take her to my sisters acreage which is a 3 hour drive from Melbourne & lay her to rest next to my niece's first cat Otis.

Dr Murray checked over & advised me that she'd lost half her body weight since he last saw her in January, was dehydrated & clearly unwell.  He said without a doubt that she would continue to exist, should I do nothing, but her quality of life would not be very good.  She could barely walk up our stairs any more (arthritic front legs); was having trouble in the bathroom department, was wonky on her legs preferring to sit than stand in the last week or so & also over the last couple of weeks had become quite confused some days & I had wondered if she'd had a minor stroke as she didn't seem to know me & was quite scared of being touched at times.  

But then she'd be OK & want a pat & to sit with me on the couch; & hang out with me in the bathroom while I had a bath.  And she never forgot when it was time for breakfast or dinner or where her food bowl was.

Murray said that I wouldn't be short changing her & that it would be a kind thing to let her go now.  He said he'd be surprised if she could actually get comfortable sitting or laying, as there wasn't much left to her, than skin & bones.  Maybe I left it a week or 2 longer than I should have & it really upsets me to think I may have prolonged her suffering.

I stayed with her as he injected her & held her little face.  She didn't struggle.  She was the calmest she'd ever been in the cat box on the way to the vet; & while she was there that day.  She was tired.  She was sore.  She was done.  Murray said she was purring as he & the nurse also held her; while the shaved a little fur from her arm to find a vein; & even while he gave her the injection.  I take comfort that she felt safe & comfortable & maybe even happy in that final moment.

I know she was only a cat, but she has been my constant companion for such a long time.  She was the one who saw & wore my silent tears when upset.  She always just knew when I was down & had to sit as close as possible, if not on me.  I cant begin to express the joy & comfort she has given me over the years.  I just hope that she knew & is resting peacefully, where ever pussy cat's go when they die.

We laid her to rest as planned.  When we arrived at my sister's, my brother in law had already dug the plot & had attempted to make a cross for her.  He wasn't happy with it however & finished it off on Sunday & sent me this picture.  I do believe that was one of the nicest damn things anyone has ever done for me.  My sis will plant some daffodils behind her plot & every winter she & Otis will bloom together.  The plot is at the end of their driveway, so even if they do sell up & move away, I can always drive past & visit as I wouldn't be trespassing.

This is her last Tuesday night; I made the appointment the following morning after she smacked her head on the coffee table jumping up onto the couch.

And in better days.

Farewell baby girl.  I love you with all my heart.

Thursday, May 7, 2015

GORM Training Update Week 18/20

Great Ocean Road Marathon Training Week 18: 27/4 - 3/5

Run 1: Tuesday PM 7kms Hills Normal Pace - 5.51 pace
Run 2: Thursday AM 5km Normal Pace - 5.22 pace 
Run 3: Saturday 35 - 38kms slow & steady - 6.03 pace

Other: PT x 2

Feeling: thank god that run is over.  Taper time!!!!

I had my Mum visiting & going to the Women’s Health Ed day @ the Melbourne Exhibition & Convention Centre on Saturday – she had an 8.30am start & I wanted to start my long run before then!!  I drove her in & ran from there, along the light rail from Montague street to the Spirit of Tasmania & then beach side to past Sandringham!  

I’ve run as far as Brighton before, but after that was unknown territory.  I tried to stick to the beach track where possible as it was soft under foot but not very well sign posted & I found myself out of track & on sand a few times.  Had to back track & at one point run up a flight of 30 odd stairs to get back on the path!!  It was gusty 25km per hour wind on the way back (I was thinking good practice for great ocean road) & felt like I was running on the spot in places!!!  

The track was so narrow in places I had to stop & let people past; & walkers not getting out of the way were a bit frustrating.  I stopped for a few minutes to help catch a runaway dog which was entertaining.  All in all possibly not the best route for a training run – better for an exploratory run as it slowed me down a bit – pace was 6.03 & I recon the first ever positive split run I’ve done!!!  

But, probably good mental preparation if things are windy & I’m slow on race day.  I didn’t want to push too hard on this run & just try & get the kms done.  I took 2 anti inflams at the 10km mark as I was paranoid about the knee – Physio said whatever gets me through is OK!!  Didn’t take any more after that & knee felt good the following day.

My instructions were to run to 35kms see how I felt & if I was cactus, or struggling or my knee hurting to stop then; if I felt good, to push on for a bit.  Everything was a bit uncomfortable from about midway but it wasn’t getting any worse, so pushed on as I think that mentally, that would help me on race day.  I actually started counting down the 38 at 12kms to go.  Only 11 to go after this km, anyone can run 11kms right (so on & so forth!!) 

I didn't mind the route too much, but the only people that said hello between South Melbourne to almost Sandringham were the council workers planting trees!!!  Once I hit Sandy the walkers/runners were a friendly replying to my call of "morning" & smiling or nodding my way.  I guess I'm just not a pretty enough runner for the likes of the South Melb/Port Melb/St Kilda/Elwood/Brighton set!!!!

I drove down to the beach at Port Melbourne after I made it back to the car for coffee & to make like a footballer & stand in the ocean to help with recovery for 20 minutes.  Thankfully either the wind had dropped off or I was in a secluded spot at that point, so it wasn't too bad.  I still felt like a giant ice block emerging from the water.  

Spent the rest of the weekend recovering, preparing for the week ahead & hanging out with Mum (& Dad when he arrived on Sunday arvo).

Monday, May 4, 2015

GORM Training Update Week 17/20

Great Ocean Road Marathon Training Week 17: 20/4 - 26/4

Run 1: Tuesday PM 7kms Hills normal - 5.41 pace
Run 2: Thursday AM 6km faster pace - 5.25 pace
Run 3: Saturday 15kms slow & steady - 5.38 pace

Other: PT x 2

Feeling: almost there!!!

Short n sweet.  Not much to report really!!!