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!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!


C said...

That was fantastic to read Cat, I was enthralled (even though I already knew you finished). I'm so sorry you had so much trouble with your knees and hip, but you did so amazing to persevere and finish the race. Thank god PB was there just when you needed him, that bought a little tear to my eye.

I honestly don't know how you do it. I can't really comprehend what it is to run 44 kms, that blows my mind.

I can only imagine how good that hot bath felt and how amazing that wine tasted at the end of the day. I definitely recommend more wine next time to cut through the pain. ;)

So proud of you.


p.s. LOL at the socks situation, you are very funny.

AlleyCat said...

Thanks Lovely!!!!

The socks!!! I have 3 special running pairs, they are compression ones. I have the pair I ran my first half in which are a bit on the thin side these days; I then bought 2 more pairs of the same brand, but new model - one pair black & green, the other white & green (not much choice in colour when I purchased). I WANT the black ones to be my fave but the seam sits funny on my toes sometimes & rubs. Ran the first marathon in the newer white & green pair, but I did get a few blisters, hence packing all three & wearing the oldest pair (after putting the black pair on first) LOL!!!!!!

Chris H said...

Gawd talk about a MARATHON effort! Well done for finishing and working through the pain.
I don't understand why you would stand in the sea water afterwards?
Apart from that, and no dates on the medal... it sounds like you did have fun... and good on you for deciding to do it all again.

Blue Grumpster said...

I knew you could do it. Look at you!

Blue Grumpster said...

Guess who's in my show today...

AlleyCat said...

You clearly have too much time on your hands Blue! But you just turned my Monday from blue blue in to Happy Blue!!!!!!!!! :-) :-) :-)

Carol said...

Oh Cat, how the heck have I missed this post! I'm kicking myself. Loved reading about it, but heck, if a super human like you, who does everything possible in training to get ready for an event like this feels pain, how do mere mortals do it. I was so excited to see you after the 14km. When I heard you as I was coming down to the finish line it gave a boost, it really does, doesn't it? What a fantastic event. And I'm doing the half next year! Eeeeeek. I"ve already booked my accommodation. Huge congratulations to you love.

AlleyCat said...

LOL I was thinking about booking accom already too Carol!!!! I just cant decide where the best place to stay is...........with the road closure its a bit tricky!!! i am a mere mortal ya know !!!!!!!!!! Thank you chickee!!!!!!!!!!!