Thursday, October 12, 2006

Race Report Part II

In my mind the first third (14K) should be easy, “The Float”. I posted my splits below and you can see clearly I wasn’t floating but sinking with a long long long way to go. With 30K left, I was searching for my “sustainable pace”. So I started cruising under 5min/K’s for awhile with hope that I’d pick it up soon. I knew 3:10 wasn’t going to happen but sub 3:20, which was my B goal, was still possible.

I find reassessing goals during a race challenging. I also find it hard not to over analyse everything. I had to convince myself that I had not started too fast, was I pushing myself to the right intensity? I even compared previous race splits, long after the finish, to satisfy myself, I hadn’t used the wrong tactics. Why was my race speed slower than in training? Had I overtrained? Ahhhhhhhhhhhhhhh!

Around 15K Keith running a sub 3:20 came by. He asked how my leg was and I could feel pain but didn’t think it was having a major impact. Also about this time started the 7K of hills. Calfs and hills don’t mix. Å little before halfway, I was done, and my race for a goal time was over. In the post game show you can draw a big circle around the hills starting around 16K through to about 23K and see that this finished me off. I stopped analysing race plans, finish times and decided on new goals. For 10 to 15 minutes or so I decided to just run and look around in an attempt to settle into a pleasant Sunday afternoon jog. I even thought to wait for Katy and run the rest with her. My parents were along the route and I saw them for the first time and gave them a wave.

Just after 27K I stopped to walk a bit. I couldn’t run anymore. I never did “run” after that. Stagger, plod, shuffle but not “run”. 27K is not even the distance of what I do most Saturdays. It was earth shattering and I was sad.

I was ready to find an ambulance to take me to the end. I would have sat and waited on the side of the road for Katy right there, but I didn’t think I could keep up with her when she came along.

I have never “not finished”. As the fat lady started to warm up her vocal chords I stood up and stared her straight in the eye and said “Sit down bitch, I’m not done yet”. What I did was picked out 38K as my goal. Rationalising that if I got to 38K, I would finish. All I had to do was get to 30K cause then I would only have 8k to get to 38K. I am not suggesting any of this makes sense, but it did to me at the time. So I slogged it out, in very short steps, which was the full extension I thought I had without a final snap of my calf. There were times when sharp pains shot through it, but it held firm. I saw my parents on the side of the road again around 31K and gave them more of a grimace than a smile, but was glad to see them. At 35K I had 3k to make it to the 38K. I had endured 5K and set on just to keep moving for another 3.

38K came and I felt relieved. I pushed harder over the final K’s and was glad to see a guy with his daughter doing some weird cheer leading, flicking his pom poms around at random. I recognised him as Wobbly and said hello. Thanks.

Onward to the finish line I ran knowing that soon the pain would be gone. This one thought got me there. I went straight through the finish race and sat on the ground in the sun not sure if I would stand again. I was fascinated to watch my calf convulse, as if there was something in there trying to get out. Small movements stimulated some cramping, so I didn’t move. After half an hour, Katy came through, “skippy, skippy, skippy”


Blogger Tesso said...

I think huge congrats are in order. Good on you for forging on and finishing. In fact, you knew going in to the race that you had a dodgey calf so good on you for starting.

I like your thinking with the 30k/38k etc. I do that to. Maybe its a Libran thing :-) Still, it doesn't make any sense to me either. If you manage to figure it out let me know.

Okay, so now you are going to get that calf right before Honolulu. Or you will have me to answer to. And Clairie. And Eddie. And Robert Song. And and and ....

2:34 pm  
Blogger Ewen said...

Nice looking calf. I think it was the Alien trying to get out.

That mental strength will help you do amazing things when you run an injury-free marathon. I still think dropping out when the pain got bad would have been sensible. Marathoning does something to the brain cells.

7:31 pm  
Anonymous ihateToast said...

now do you see what i live with? the man is a beast! his calf was all bruised and swollen. i'd have not run. i don't have his discipline. or do i? i'll make sure he takes it easy and doesn't over do it for honolulu. it's arnica spray and rub from now until the 'lulu.

8:59 pm  
Blogger robtherunner said...

I hope that calf is healing up nicely so you can be ready for Honolulu. Rest up!

2:02 pm  
Blogger Black Knight said...

3hr 42 min 23 seconds: a very fast marathon. Interesting and inspiring report. I hope that one day we will be able to run a marathon in the same city (I would like to say together but you are faster than me)

10:14 pm  
Anonymous Sammy & Lynn said...

You truly have intestinal fortitude! What the mind can conceive, the body can achieve. You have certainly proven that. Take care of the calf.

7:38 am  
Blogger Scott said...

Unbelievable! I wish I had that kind of drive.

7:28 pm  
Blogger Ginger Breadman said...

I'm not sure your calf would share my opinion, but awesome story of how to fight it and tough it out through the race. From a runner's perspective, there's nothing better than hearing someone describe the gore and pain, and yet how they perservered to finish anyway. runners are a crazy breed.

2:49 am  
Blogger Bolder said...

i always say 'let your preparation meet your opportunity on each race day'...

you just had limited opportunity.

as i prepare for Ironman, i too know that on any given race day, my opportunity may be limited... thanks for sharing your race with us, so candidly and honestly, if i find myself in your kicks, i will draw from that same well.


a lesser crouton would have abandoned the caesar salad.

oh, and you didn't think that i was not going to mention this as an omen for you to switch to triathlon again -- did you?

6:44 am  

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