Friday, May 27, 2016

Marathon Wrap

The marathon has been & gone & I'm a little behind in updating here!  I'm blaming a business software (including payroll) upgrade that has been one headache after another with 2 x patches from the provider already installed post upgrade & another pending when they rectify the latest fault.  It has been so stressful I had to take a walk around the block the other day as I was in tears after proving the latest fault to the help desk.  Moving on.

If you're a new or sometime reader, this is the 2nd time I've run the Great Ocean Road Marathon & the 3rd marathon overall.  The GORM follows the southern coast of Victoria from Lorne to Apollo Bay whereby the road is closed to vehicles for the event on the Sunday for the 60km ultra,   44km marathon & 23km half marathon.

This year we booked a house in Apollo Bay for the weekend after learning last year how quickly accommodation books out in the region.  I should have taken a photo of the car loaded up for the weekend - I mean how much gear do 3 adults & a dog need for 2 nights away?  The answer was a lot.  

Mum & Dad joined us for the weekend at the house having arrived late afternoon had the house nicely warmed for our arrival.  Unfortunately when Mum went to put the  lasagne she'd made into the oven for dinner, she found Dad had occidentally grabbed the container full of left over birthday cake!!!  We decided to walk the 2 blocks to the pub (MIL in the car) for dinner.  Nothing overly exciting & Dad & I were disappointed they had the rugby on the TV instead of the Cat's game!

Home to watch the end of the footy & hopefully a good nights sleep (+ sleep in).  Plumbing Boy was up before dawn & took Trix for an epic walk.  She was in heaven after being confined for the past 4 weeks due to being on heat.  I received at text at 7.30am asking me for the coffee order!

Once the rest of the tribe were up & dressed, we walked to the foreshore to check out the local market & the event arena (I suppose it is called) for more coffee & a browse.  Dad & PB had their blood pressure & sugar taken by the local healthcare organization who had a stand while I picked up a race packet for a friend.  Mizuno were one of the sponsors & not having had a pair of their sneakers before, decided to try a pair - at almost half price I couldn't say no to a pair of these.

Spent the rest of the day wandering back & forth from the house to down the street watching the 14km event, soaking up the sunshine & preparing for the marathon by drinking 2 litres of my sports drink & 4 litres of water on top of that!!!  And of course the numerous bathroom stops as a result.

I was actually feeling pretty calm about the event & as I hadn't put a time goal on it I was pretty relaxed.  Once my cousin arrived, we ended up having take away pizza for dinner as everywhere was booked out early, I really wanted an early night & none of us wanted to leave the warmth of the house.  It took me a while to drift off, but I slept pretty well considering.  My biggest worry was the weather - the forecast was for 35 km per hour winds with showers & I could hear the wind rattling the windows of the house!

Last year we stayed on the Melbourne side of the Lorne so it was only a short (10? minute) drive to the starting line.  This year we stayed at the finish line & as the website said the road from Skene's Creek closed at 5am to traffic to Lorne I opted to catch the 6.15am courtesy bus to the starting line.  PB & Trix walked me down & I was amazed by the number of buses!  I didn't count them but there must have been 20+.  A quick farewell, onto the bus & we were off!

A lovely gentleman sat next to me & we chatted for half the journey.  He'd grown up in Kenya & today was running his 19th Marathon!!!  His only goal was to finish & he planned on walking up ALL the hills, running the down hills & flats.  I think it was fate sitting next to this man - it reinforced in me that it's OK to stop & walk a while & that getting to the starting line is all that matters.  Finishing is good too & as Carol has said, the event really is the victory lap to celebrate all the hard work you have put into training for the event.

We arrived as dawn was breaking & watched the sun rise over the southern ocean.  I found the friend of friend who's race packet I'd collected & we had a quick chat, then it was off to join the queue to the ladies, then back down to the beach for another picture before depositing a layer of clothing & my water bottle for collection at the finish line.  I think this time last year if I had been on my own the anxiety would have crippled me.  I was relieved that while I did feel a little anxious, it erred on the side of nervousness & I managed it quite well.  

I don't have a decent photo at the start line with all the runners - my hands had gotten quite cold & gone numb due to the Raynaurds & getting the phone out of it's waterproof pouch & my pocket was becoming difficult.  Finally we were off & running.  There were quite a few spectators out, some in their PJ's & a few with amusing signs/posters cheering us on.   I'd run maybe half a km & was on the outskirts of town when I heard very loud yelling from the side street to my right.  I glanced over at the people who were wildly gesticulating with their arms to realize it was plumbing boy.  Any my cousin!!!!!

It took me a few seconds for it to sink in before I could wave madly back at them with a big smile on my face!  After he'd seen me off at the bus PB got talking to a race official at the coffee shop & had told him about his disappointment at not being able to drive me up & see me off.  The official said mate, you're right to go if you leave Skenes Creek before 7am!  He hot tailed it home, woke up my cuz, loaded up his electric bike & took off leaving a note for my Dad!  

Apparently they made it to the start as the gun went off, but didn't have time to see me, so they ran back to the car & amazingly googled mapped themselves into a position where they could.  I think they felt like they were on the amazing race & were pumped for the rest of the day with their efforts!!  

I was chuckling for the next 20kms at least, whenever they popped back into my head.  It gave me such a boost!  While the scenery is amazing on the GOR, there are not a lot of spectators on course to lift your spirits when things get tough or to distract you from it.

As you could see from the earlier pictures, the weather was actually magnificent for the first half (although it took 6kms before my feet & hands completely defrosted & the pins & needles subsided) - blue sky, sunshine & light winds.

As always, there is a bit of banter with the on course photographers - they are always at the top of a bloody hill & you are trying to smile & not look like you are about to huck a lung!!!

Everything went to plan for the first half & my half marathon time was reasonable.  I'd planned to walk through the drink stations & I did - I usually try to run through them & get frustrated with other runners obstructing &/or stopping dead in front of me - if you can't beat em, join em. I was carrying 2 litres of tailwind (sports drink) in my hydration pack but still wanted to drink the water on course.

Not long after the halfway point 2 things happened.  I tightened up & my ITB did too giving me knee pain & the bad weather arrived.  Luckily for me I was only doused by showers, but that gusty head wind - yikes!  I stopped & stretched but by 32kms was struggling to get a 1km out of a stretch & started walking up the hills.

Almost got air here!  Road is wet so this must have been in the last half.  I plodded on to Skenes Creek where PB was supposed to meet me on his bicycle.  I'd been running 400m walking 200m (repeat) for the past 4kms & was very disappointed when he wasn't there!  Of course my mind went to all those bad places - firstly was the MIL OK - did she drop dead, have a stroke, have a fall?  Did PB & cuz have a crash on the way back driving like loons.  So on & so forth.  

By now the road was half open to traffic & there were witches cones up the middle of the road.  Run 10, walk 3, repeat.  Finally in the distance I see a cyclist & a walker - PB & Cuz.  PB with his portable speaker tied to his handle bars blasting tunes.  My right knee felt like someone was stabbing it with a knife every time my foot hit the pavement by then, so having their support for the last few kms was a god send.  

Over the full marathon point - didn't even check my watch.  PB sidles up to me on his bike.  Cat he says, look ahead.  See those cheetah legs?  You can't let them beat your leopard legs.  Now go get her (a girl in running tights just like mine only black & tan).  I says to my cuz who'd been running with me (who could actually walk faster than I could run by now mind you) OK - we has one more mission.  See those cheetah legs - we have to beat them.  PB said.

So off we went. Run 10 cones, walk 1.  Run 10 cones, walk 1.  Overtook the cheetah legs & didn't look back.  Finally we are in town & I remembered Mum & Dad were baby sitting MIL probably sitting in a cafe to keep her warm.  I yelled out to my cuz "we should have called Mum & Dad to tell them I'm coming" - I was thinking they've come down for the weekend to support me & they're not even going to see me crossing the damn finishing line!

I'll get them my cuz yells out & takes off like she's running a sprint race!  I try to pick up my pace a little as the finishing chute is now in sight.  Just before I see a hand with a lead from the side coming towards me - it's Dad with Trixie.  Do you want her he yells??!!  It only took a split second for me to grab the lead.  After all, heaps of runners cross the the finishing line with their kids!

And finally we cross the finishing line!!!!  You can tell by my smile that my heart filled with joy to hear the crowd cheer little Trix (& maybe me) down the finishing chute & across that line!  I was so focused on Trix I completely forgot to stop my watch so had to wait until the next day for my results.  A rather slow 5.04.45 compared with last years 4.21.something!

Received my medal gratefully from one of the amazing volunteers & stopped to answer a few people wanting to know if Trix ran the whole way with me before the obligatory victory picture on the stage.  I am pleased to say that this year we have a date stamped on the medal AND on the ribbon after neither last year!!!

No standing in the ocean for a recovery ice bath this year - it was just too cold & windy.  We scoffed some fish & chips (I had my protein drink a hand full of chips & some water - really could not face fried fishy food at that point - even the chips tasted fishy) before making a hasty retreat to the cars & heading for home.  I travelled with my cousin in her car, making like a bogan, necking champers from the bottle.

While I think I hurt more this year than last year, I must have become a little accustomed to the pain as I was already planning next years campaign on the way home (or maybe that was the Prosecco).  I will not let those hills defeat me & I know exactly what I need to do next time, but more on that another day.  If you've read this far you too need a medal!  

I pulled up pretty well - the night of I woke up every time I moved as my knee hurt.  Monday I worked a normal day tired & pretty stiff.  Felt relatively normal by Tuesday with no pain or stiffness by Wednesday & struggled with the concept of an enforced week of no running or gym allowed!  I did go on a 2 hour walk with Trix & some friends Saturday morning & did a Yoga class on Sunday.

I'm back into it this week with a 5km Monday, 7km yesterday & 10 - 12 planned for tomorrow.  5 weeks to the Gold Coast Airport Half!!!  Onwards!


C said...

WOO HOO!!! Congratulations Cat, what a bloody great achievement that is! I am in awe of you.

I got chills of excitement at the end when you were crossing the finishing line with Trix. What a lovely moment.

It sounds like PB and your family really stepped up for you and supported you brilliantly throughout the race. What a great team you have!

The scenery in those photos was just amazing, it must be quite surreal to be running along with that view.

Oh and LOL at your dad bringing the left over birthday cake instead of lasagne... what a dad thing to do. :)


Chris H said...

How cool... and with Trixie too at the end. Too cute.

Coco Girl said...

Congratulations!! So so proud of you! Loved every word of this race recap - was with you the whole way. Loved the bit about PB and cuz being on an Amazing Race pride high- loved it. And love that your dad could see you finish. Well done, you are so inspiring xo

AlleyCat said...

Thanks C! All the sweet tooth's (pretty much everyone except me & that's only because it wasn't chocolate) were very happy with the cake fiasco!!!

You are right, I am very lucky to have such family support & I am truly grateful for it.

Glad the feeling came across in this post about crossing the finishing line with Trix - it really made up for the shitty back end of the run!!!

And yes, the view was surreal! I didn't even mention seeing the after effects of the bush fires earlier in the year - lots of burnt foliage & no Koala's this year :-(

AlleyCat said...

Hehehe Thanks Chris! She is a bit of a cutie!!!

AlleyCat said...

Hi Coco Girl! Thanks for reading & commenting & your kind words!

I reckon my cuz was buzzing for a week on that amazing race high :-) It was truly wonderful to be able to have her (& PB) share in the event in such a meaningful way!!!!

Char said...

Congratulations. GOR is such a tough course. I've done the half there and it was so hilly!! Add in the rain you got in the second half and that would have made it only tougher. Great job in getting it done despite the hills, weather and the knee pain. That's real endurance running.

AlleyCat said...

Thanks Char!! There are more hills in the first half!!!! I have finally realized that hills need to be a regular part of my training year round - not just when I have to run an event with them in them!!!!! I'm a slow learner, but I think I've finally overcome my fear of them & am attacking them with gusto (with care & building slowly - don't want to irritate that ITB knee with over exuberance!!!)

Carol said...

What a great write up Cat, and I can't believe we were both wandering around on the Saturday and didn't bump into each other. I was floating about during the 14km, cheering on the girls and in the market area. Heck. I tell you I was so excited seeing you come into Apollo Bay, I knew you were wearing the hat as I had stalked your FB! ;-) And when I saw you I told my mates "that's my friend Cat" and so hopefully we didn't put your off your stride with all our yelling! tee hee.

What an amazing course, total kudos to you with the full. The half was enough for me. Such hard conditions with the wind and rain, but oh boy, I'd do it again in a heart beat. Take care my friend and we shall see each other at another event I'm sure.

Carol said...

PS: You got some rockin' great photos oh my! And every single one with Trix, now THEY are amazing. That moment right there was a photographer's dream.

Blue Grumpster said...

2 litres of your sports drink and 4 litres of water on top of that? Unbelievable, but I believe you. I can't begin to imagine how much work you put into training for the event. You are a trooper, all right! You're even smiling in those pics! I swear if I'd been in your shoes (are you a size 10 too? ;)), I wouldn't've been able to move my upper lip haha! I think you did a terrific job.

AlleyCat said...

hehehe thanks Blue. ah no, I am not a size 10 too :-) more a 7.5 :-)

Blue Grumpster said...

7.5... Good to know. I was getting a bit worried ;)
I hope you're doing fine.