I suppose the title says it all really. Today it was the SMH Sydney Half Marathon , attempt #6 and another successful one at that.
Starting off at the briskly time @ 7:30am, we (Hools, Lucy and myself) started on a good pace however this time around I was not feeling the 100% mentally that I usually feel, but more on that later.
Kilometres 1 through 5 went relatively well, though these are what most runners know as the hardest of km’s. This is the time when your legs aren’t quite firing on all cyclinders and your brain is telling you that ‘you really don’t need to be out here at this time in the morning, just quit now and go back to bed!’ …. and I promise you every time i’ve run these things i’ve seriously considered it.
Kilometres 5 through 10 is where things started to get rough for me.
….But before I get into that I want to provide short set of history on how I got to feeling dehydrated. Over the past 4 months, our personal trainer has been providing advice and support on food, nutrition when running, dealing with psychological barriers and how to keep your body in one piece to see another marathon on another day.
So today, instead of having a Gu (energy food in liquid form, once you get used to the taste they’re quite good!) before I started the race along with a decent drink of water before I go to bed and before I get up, I listed to the PT and did neither of these.
…. and that gets us back to kilometres 8 through 10 … I was becoming dehydrated ….. and that’s not a good thing to be doing less than 1 hour into a 2 hour run.
By the time we clocked the 7 kilometre mark, Hools (poor thing) was starting to suffer with a sore knee and a body that just wasn’t coping with strain of having it pounded with hard bitumen for kilometre after kilometre. And so at that stage, Lucy and I broke away (after a quick debrief with the fiance!) and that’s actually where things started to go wrong. My body was firing on all cylinders, but the brain was feeling it has has never felt at the halfway mark, it was emotionally drained, finding it difficult to concentrate and completely lacking in motivation.
And once you’re dehydrated, there’s absolutely no going back.
Kilometres 10 through 15 turned bad for me as around km 11 Lucy started to break away from me and psychologically I couldn’t make myself keep the pace that was required to stay with her. Of course once she disappeared around a corner, my spirits started to plummet and things started to head bad….. I actually walked for a total of 5 minutes over this break…… sad …… (that’s never happened before!)
Kilometres 15 through 21 were painful as this track is a dual-loop (a format that i *hate*) and I now knew how far we had left.
The only shining light in this was that The Picture magazine had a model who was getting her (very impressive) rack out for mini-lap-dances and taking photos for an upcoming shoot in the magazine. While I was completely shocked with this it still gave me a bit of a smile (it was @ km 20, so close to the finish!) and I pushed on until I rounded the last couple of loops and onto the finish line.
I believe my time will run in at about 2 hours 9 minutes, and while that doesn’t seem like a great deal off 2 hours 6 minutes, it is a damn sight shy of 2hrs and 54 seconds that we ran 2 years ago.
My hope for today was around 2 hours 3 minutes – 2 hours 6 minutes so that I could trim down to sub-2-hours when we hit the Gold Coast half marathon in July (it’s an all-flat course so you probably save 3-4 minutes just from that in itself), alas it wasn’t to be.
As for Hools, she struggled and did some pretty serious damage to her knee which will require a few days of compression, ice and TLC from our chiropractor.
However, this is part of our bodies getting older, and while we choose this sport we need to accept the consequences.
c’est la vie!