Sunday, 17 April 2011

Post Canberra Marathon 2011

I should of written this 1 week ago, the day after the Canberra marathon as my feeling were much rawer.  The purpose of blogging now is too see and track feelings/thoughts on my next marathon journey.
The week leading into the Marathon i started to feel a bug coming on, my husband will say I tend to make these symptons up, but I had this 'thing' sitting in the back of my throat. Not sure if it was self doubt, a overwhelming list of 'to do' items or if i really was the start of what I call 'curse of the taper'.  Anyway, it sat there all throughout the week, not going anywhere.  I keep going over the race in my mind (on how I wanted it to to pan out, pace, gels, drink stations, feelings, mind games).  I hadn't had the best preparation early in my Marathon quest - terrible weather in QLD over Jan saw me suffer migraines from heat exhaustion but the last 4 weeks leading into the Marathon were the best I had ever run.
I was starting to feel the effects of overtraining, I was starting to get minor niggles, which I needed to stay on top of with Massage/Physio/Chiro. Particulary my right outside calf muscle was really getting sore.  The physio suggested a bone scan, I suggested self massage until after the race (I didn't want a bone scan to reveal the start of a stress fracture, everyone would have been telling me not to run, quite frankly I didn't want to hear it).  I wanted to get to the start line.
The minor sore throat/niggle never quite went away nor did the sore calf, but I just had to get on with it.  It occupied alot of my mind time and sometimes the kids suffered as result of my irribitability, I would curse myself sometimes of the way I spoke to them, they couldn't care less I was running in an event that I had trained 3 months for, they just needed their 'mum'.  My husband was glad the marathon was looming, thinking life might go back to normal. I hadn't told him I had planned on another 2 marathons during the year.
One part of me was so excited about meeting some lovely friends and virtual training partners online, then another part of me was afraid not not meeting my expectations, I was already letting the self doubt creep in and hold me back.
Melbourne Marathon in 2010 was very hard and mentally i struggled. In fact I swore off ever running again (until the next day). My friends are envious of my fitness but unfortunately I let me nerves and negative mindset get in the way every time in a race environment, although better, it still effects my overall results. It's the dreaded fear of failure.  Expectations of myself are set too high.
The morning of the race I felt ok, I slept ok, I had brekkie as I normally would before I long run, I listened to some music, had a stretch, tried telling myself it was just another training day. I felt I had hold of the nerves. Today was going to be a good day.
It was about 10mins to start time and I had found Keren (my cyber training friend), the rain had started and it didn't look like stopping in a hurry.  That was fine, just not a day for the spectators.  I was so used to training in the heat and humidity I thought this will be to my advantage.
The gun went, we all started, slowly of course to get everyone over the start line and start the recording of our timing chips laced into our shoes.
I felt great, running effortessly, conscious of my pace, smiling, relaxed, all the things a runner loves about running. You couldn't wipe the smile from my face. I was passing people but just focussed on the job at hand.  I saw friends and family at the 26km mark and still felt like I could run that pace all day, then the mind started to calculate expected finish time, the mind was going a million miles an hour this time, that time, if I go faster then I will get this time.  It wasn't even about competing with anyone else, I started to compete with myself.  All of a sudden, the brick wall hit me, legs become very heavy, I felt like I couldn't bend my knees properly and the arches of my feet started to ache.  I tried to ignore the pain & focus on my gel I had planned to take at 30km, trying desperately to hold onto some sort of reasonable pace.  Yep, the thought of failure was trying to take hold.  I was looking around at other people passing me and going in the opposite direction (on their way back to finish) thinking how the f*&k are they running at this speed are they not feeling what I am feeling?? I was starting to get pi$%ed off. Pace was getting slower, for about 5km I was so negative, my mind was saying 'just give up, your not going to get your time you set for yourself so what is the point'.  I really felt like I was in a battlefield.  It took me about half an hour to start telling myself to just relax, breath, one foot in front of the other over & over. The pain in the legs never went away but slowly the negative thought process did, over & over I repeated 'believe in yourself'.  I threw all my expectations out the window, they were making me no friends, my goal now was to finish and only walk at drink stations.  As soon as I did, a few more km's passed.  Still desperate to find some energy I just made sure I kept my fluids & gels up and putting one foot in front of the other, I stopped looking at my watch, i wasn't seeing the pace I wanted to see anyway, no point further dissapointing oneself even further.
Eventually I saw my hubby & daughter at 39km and he said to me 'c'mon boo (my pet name), only 4km to go & then another 7.5km after that (you have the option of finishing the Ultra 50km). My reply 'it's only 3km and that 7.5km can get st$#%ed.  They jogged with me for a couple of hundred metres which when I think back now, was the highlight of my day.
As I approached the finished line, I saw my 12wbt friends waving at me frantically (didn't even have the energy to give them a smile, sorry), I saw my Mum, Husband, Son & Daughter all cheering me on. Somewhow you always find that extra for the last couple of metres to go faster but as soon as my feet hit that finish mat, I stopped, not one step further. Done 3hrs 59min.
I am slowly learning to be kinder to myself, my kids are only 4 & nearly 2. Although, I have always dabbled at sport/fitness I have only been running more seriously for 12 months. This was only my second ever marathon & I still took 8 mins off my time from Melbourne Marathon October last year. I was much stronger mind wise this time round (when I reflect back). So I have alot to be proud of! (still convincing myself of this).
My only goal for Gold Coast Marathon is to finish with a smile on my face & know full well I gave it my all regardless of time.  Everyone around me is so supportive & proud of achievements, it's time I start giving myself the same gratitude as others do.
I am learning slowly, but I will continue to learn
Follow me on my journey into GC Marathon 2012.
Kirsty xx



  1. very impressive but you only have one marathon left for the year!

  2. That's more than 140 characters! Also, you can use paragraph breaks in blogs ;) Good luck with it - don't 'hit the wall' like CJ has with hers:

    Maybe a different blog title too (Post Mara?) - Kirsty's Marathon Exploits or something.

    Anyway, I'm sure you'll take a big chunk of time off that at the Gold Coast. Just have to go in healthy and dodge the wall.