On the 26th of Jan i completed my 2nd ever road marathon after 4 months of solid preperation. Life throws us curve balls and i dont think you can ever prepare perfectly but i had been very happy with my training, my improvements in pace with some great sessions been hit especially as i began to taper through January. New watch and gear from Salomon and Suunto was also an added bonus! I am proud to be one of their ultraplayers for 2018 🙂
I was able to do 8 x 500m under 3min/k pace, 3 x 2km at 6.55 and below and a couple of sub 18 parkruns with some of the Sapphire Coast runners (Glenn and Kyle and Steve particularly) and was stoked there were signs my speed after 3 years was starting to come back!
Before I knew it i was packing and I was off work and travelling to the other side of the world…I pride myself on being a good traveller and I travelled fairly well to Dubai sleeping most of the flight and managing to get into there time zone ASAP (with less than 48hrs between landing and racing!).
Having exit seats made the world of difference and i arrived with relatively good feeling legs for 14hrs in the air!
The day before the race my partner James was sick in bed all day but i wasnt concerned…well i was about him I was! but i felt i had missed the bug! and spent the day seeing sights and resting my legs. It was time to play!
Morning rolled around and a quite early start a light breakfast on a nervous stomach and we travelled to the start. There was myself, James who managed to get himself out of bed but depleted from lack of food, Lisa, Pete and Donella running with Phil, Lisa, Brett and Skylar our support crew.
I positioned myself well to the front took a few deep breaths picked out the fast looking girls and next minute we were off. It was fairly dark starting and my glasses made it seem darker than it was. It was a comfortable cool temperature and the first km was a scramble for position…the balance between a strong start and blowing my legs out of the water. At round 3km I saw a blonde girl about 50m ahead getting paced by a tall man in red and I knew then that was the bus I wanted to be on…I picked up my cadence over the next kilometre until I was sitting about 3m off her. At this point another man joined us and we formed a group of 4 and began motoring through the speedy starters. I was calm but also excited…I was where I wanted to be!
And for the first 24ks i had an excellent race siting with this group- rolling through at 3.39 pace.
I couldnt believe how good i felt in my legs and head and although i knew the 2nd half was going to hurt alot i was happy to hold the group as long as possible and get as close to 2.36 as i could….I took on half a gel at 15k and the support at 14k was a highlight from our Sapphire Coast runners.
Unfortunately as sometimes life goes…the world had other ideas from this point forward…
At 24.5km i got a crippling stomach cramp with no warning and suddenly needed to use the bathroom- knowing there was one at 25km i just made it in before i had terrible episode of diaherra.
I was stressed and destressed now with the pain in my tummy remaining although i had nothing in me- I quickly got running again but was struggling to remain tall in my stride due to pain- i just kept thinking about trying to run through it like a stitch but after a few kilometres i resigned to the fact i was going to be in pain to the end…but not wanting to give in as I was having a great race!
Now…whether it be the stress of the situation or inability to take sufficent calories in before/my episode had left me depleted i began experiencing nausea and light headedness around 30km and couldnt lift to get on any groups of men that ran past.
1,2,3 girls went by and by now my legs and head also began to suffer. I knew my time was slipping and my fear of not making it to the end had occurred…I was in survival mode and stopped caring about pace but rather just making it to the end in 1 piece.
The last kilometres were horrible- its amazing how fast you can fly through 25km to then crawl through the last 10k! I felt i was running through a hazy fog with my legs in mud and i was never so grateful to turn the final corner to see the 1km stretch to the finish line…longest km ever! By this time I was dizzy in lots of pain and could only think about getting over that line…
I collapsed over the line and just lay there as the med team man-handled me onto a stretcher and wheeled me into the med tent. I was dazed and confused, dehydrated but cold and horribly nauseated dry retching for the next 10minutes while I refused repeateably to have an IV.
My temp and BP was low and my HR was through the roof and the waves of nausea didn’t help. After 30minutes I managed to calm myself down enough to sneak out of the tent whilst another med emergency came in and staggered to my crew.
There I lay until everyone got home- Lisa had a good run but James Donella and Pete struggled with their various aligments and we were certainly a sorry sight!
Finally we headed back to our hotel where, still feeling nauseated, suffering tummy cramops and dizzy I had a shower and a sleep…before calling home.
It took me around 24-48hrs to be able to eat properly and I suffered greatly the next day in our Pop up parkrun with the dizziness and nausea returning at the end of the easy 5k run but thankfully by that night I recovered enough with rest to enjoy the rest of our time in Dubai.
The rest of the holiday involved sight seeing, the worlds tallest building, a desert safari and we got the opportunity to run the famous boardwalk around the palm.
Am I disappointed?
Yes ofcourse especially when I found out the group ended up doing a 2.36! But at the same time there was nothing I could have done to my knowledge to have prevented myself getting that sick so quickly and I had no chance of recovering from there…what I am though is excited…my training was good and I executed so much of the race that I could to what I had planned
Through half way in 1.17.50 with a group and feeling close to flying…I take confidence in my ability to run quick and I am excited to keep building from here and hopefully piecing a whole 42km together!! But even faster again 🙂
And where to now? a Bit of a change in terrain and focus with a few 50km trail events including the Snowy trail running festival and the 6 foot track within the next 5 weeks…also looking to keep building on my speed with a sub 17minute parkrun before my birthday in June a big personal goal!
At the moment too I just am loving the process of running…being outside and playing in the beautiful part of the world I call home. So onwards upwards and keep outside and playing 🙂 you have to enjoy the journey to make any destination worth it 🙂
Get out and play!