Back in January, I wrote about some of my “running goals”. It’s time to update those of you who aren’t connected to me on Twitter or Facebook (or weren’t looking on the right days).
I mentioned that I wanted to get a better time in a half marathon.
Yes. I did that. I ran two half marathons in Adelaide this this year, with times of 2:04:58 and 2:03:57.
I mentioned that I wouldn’t mind trying a full marathon.
Last week, I did that. It was in the Barossa Valley – the wine region just north of Adelaide. My official time was 5:18:24. I probably could’ve been faster, but I’d had injuries along the way during my training. The South Australian Road Runners’ Club had a mentor program for people interested in doing a marathon, and I got involved. I didn’t make it to many (none) of the Sunday morning training runs, but I lined up anyway, and ran a marathon.
The date of the marathon was significant for me – it was the day before the tenth anniversary of my back injury. In hindsight, I would never recommend running a marathon the day before a significant day like that. I was pleased I’d finished the marathon (I wasn’t aiming for a particular time, and was just pleased to finish – being hit by a car around 31km in didn’t really help my time, but I managed to get around), and I hadn’t really expected the impact of the injury-anniversary to affect me so much. I got physically and emotionally sick for a few days, and it was horrible. Ten years is a long time – more than a quarter of my life – and I know that it’s been tough not just on me but on those around me. Completing a marathon hasn’t made me feel like I’ve conquered my injury, it just helps me feel like I know I can keep going despite it.
<< I’m smiling because someone’s pointing a camera at me. And because I can see the finish line.
I mentioned I wanted to keep doing some cardio every day, and lose more weight.
This fell off in mid-Feb when I got the first injury of my marathon training. I picked up a thing called “hip bursitis”. That led to increased back pain, and doing something every day was just beyond me. I got below 200lb, but only just. I’m roughly that now still, and I’m okay about that. I might try an “every day” thing again soon, but I’ll see how I go.
I wanted to run some distance during 2013. 750 miles? 900? 1000?
Well, five months in, I’ve run 341. That tracks to a bit over 800. But also I’ve run a marathon. And right now, a week later, part of me thinks I’ve achieved enough running goals, and it would be good to NOT run for a while. So forgive me if I don’t manage to run 1000 miles during 2013. I’d have to do over 20 miles every week from now to reach 1000 – my injuries just aren’t compatible with that.
Running is tough. It’s not completely good for my back, and I have mixed emotions about it. As people have pointed out, I’m not exactly the right build for running... but that’s not the point. The point is that I have a back injury, and I need to work with my physio to continue to see it improve. Running might be part of that, but there are lots of things that I still don’t have in my life that I would like to be able to have again. I’d like to be able to dance. I’d like to be able to play sport with my sons. I’d like to be able to continue to pick up my daughter (who’s five, and getting towards the kind of weight that I can’t actually lift). One day, I plan to carry my wife over the threshold of the house we built. Any of those things is going to take a lot of work – but a year ago, I couldn’t run either.
What, what? A car?
Yes – I got hit by a car during the Barossa Marathon. It wasn’t like it took my legs out and I rolled across the windscreen. It’s more that it hit my hands.
A marshal had stopped this car at a point where we had to cross the road we were running on. It was at the 31km point – almost 20 miles into the 26 miles route. The driver had wound down her window and was talking to the marshal. That was all fine. I took it fairly wide, and crossed in front of the car. The marshal was saying to her “Don’t pull off yet”, but she did – I guess she was still looking at the marshal as she took her foot of the clutch. I was in front of her at that point, and as she started forward, I wasn’t moving fast enough to jump out of the way. I turned and put my hands (and weight) on her car, and she stopped. I almost fell over, but didn’t.
Annoyingly, I’d stopped running then. Later in the run, Erin Stellato (@erinstellato) tweeted to me that it’s easier to keep going if you never stop. Well, I had trouble getting going again. My legs were sore, of course. My back had just got a jolt I wasn’t expecting, as had my adrenalin. I was sweating and leaning forward (so my eyes were starting to suffer). It took me an embarrassingly long time to finish crossing the road. Thankfully there was a drink station there, where I washed my eyes out, and I kept going, about two minutes per mile slower than I’d been going beforehand. I’m not saying I would’ve broken five hours, but I would recommend if time is important to you that you don’t have an altercation with a vehicle part way round.
Massive thanks to the people that sent the 187 tweets during my run (read to me by the RunMeter app). It helped. Now go and give money to Yanni Robel’s fundraising. I run in a Team In Training shirt to honour the effort that she’s putting in, so please – give money to her fund. Also, if you’re reading this in the first 8-ish hours after I’ve published it, send Yanni a message on Twitter (@yannirobel), because she’s about to run a marathon too!