Throw back to my first marathon
The distances may have changed but I will always have a special place in my heart for my first marathon.
Marathon 14th October 2012
On Monday 23rd July 2012 I started what would be 3 months of training for the Melbourne marathon held on Sunday 14th October.
Having run 5 half marathons prior, the question always asked when you mention running is ‘have you run a marathon?’ I can’t say the desire to run a marathon hasn’t always been there. My Dad started running the year my twin sister and I were born (1975) and I have fond memories of hanging out the car supporting him as he slugged it out once a year to complete a 42.195km course not to mention all the half marathons and City to Bays in between – he always seemed to be wearing shorts, a singlet and trainers.
It was really only since December 2011 that I seriously started thinking that maybe I should or could run a marathon. I was already training for a half marathon so why not double the training, how hard could it be? So after completing Run Melbourne on the 15th July, I bit the bullet and signed up to the Melbourne marathon – I had 3 months to train, which was plenty of time.
With the assistance of my osteo/running coach a plan was drawn up and I would from the 23rd July run 5 days a week, cross train 1 day and have 1 day off for rest. That was in addition to my 1 day of personal training each week.
Stepping up from training for a half marathon to a full marathon is quite the jump, double to be precise. I would run on average 60km per week with Sunday’s being dedicated to a long run, which was between 23km and 38km. After the Sunday long run, I would spend 15 minutes waist deep in the bay to help with muscle recovery and lactic acid build up. Basically my weekends were now taken up with running.
I would stop drinking alcohol and I would pay extra attention to my diet, ensuring I was fuelling myself for each run as I was depleting my body of calories at a rate I had to ensure I was replenishing them.
I also needed to ensure that with the increase load in running, I was being sensible and limiting my body to any injuries that might occur. I needed to listen to my body more, listen to when it was too tired or too sore from my other physical activities such as personal strength training.
I treated myself to weekly sport massages from a dear friend who is a remedial masseuse. When you think of a massage relaxation comes to mind but not these ones. I was not there to relax, I was there to help blood flow, circulation and help limit the compression around my hips, knees and ankles caused by constant pounding of the pavement.
By increasing my training I learnt to heighten my senses regarding how my body felt. I had to listen to when I needed to hydrate more, when I needed more carbs or protein and when I needed to stop and repair sore muscles. Missing one training session wasn’t the end of the world but missing weeks due to pushing through pain, was.
I had to learn to put life on hold for a while, to say no to a few social commitments or to leave a party early because I had to get up and run. I had to plan a short break away with my husband with training in mind, with my diet in mind and how travel would affect my body. I had to ensure my body was stress free, because stress affects the body greatly.
When I signed up the marathon, I signed up to 3 months of nothing but running as my focus. My conversation with friends would always come back to me running and my reading literature was all about running – it was comforting to know, I wasn’t the only one completely obsessed with my new fitness regime.
Training stopped for nothing (except soreness which during the whole time, I missed two 7km runs). I ran when it was poring with rain and only once ran on a treadmill as I thought it safer than to run in a lightening storm.
I ran when my shoes and jacket filled with water and in winds, which were blowing between 70-80km per hour. I ran when the sunset and when the dawn was breaking and I ran with a true appreciation of what was around me – Melbourne is a great running city.
I ran around the Tan once 5 times, from South Melbourne to Black Rock and back and can’t tell you how many times I ran around Albert Park. I ran down St Kilda road more times than I think I have driven down it and I have run through Federation Square hoping each time, the busker would not see me in order to heckle me for flying past his performance.
Its a numbers game
Other interesting numbers in which I have clocked up during the course of the 3 months are:
- Total distance run: 724km
- Total calories burnt: 34,696 calories
- Training included: 10 half marathons, 3 runs over 30km with the longest being 38km
- Ran my fastest 10km: 45:29
- Ran my longest distance of 38km in 3 hours 30 minutes
- In my interval training, ran my fastest kilometer in a time of 4 minutes and 2 seconds
Over the course of the 3 months, I have learnt to love numbers and statistics, this is mainly due to my Garmin Forerunner 610 watch and an interest to go faster. You learn to become competitive with yourself; after all, you are always running against yourself.
Two weeks before the 14th October, I confirmed my race plan. With the help of my osteo/running coach we mapped out my pace for the 42km, what my heart rate would be and when I would hydrate – I felt like real runner. I felt prepared.
Unlike any other race, I knew if all went to plan, I would finish to my race in a time of 3 hours 35 minutes. There was no reason to believe I could not achieve this, after all that is why I had trained and committed to my training plan for the past 3 months.
A week before the race, I felt nervous, anxious and terrified. It was really only the day before the race that I stared to get excited. I had to keep reminding myself, this is what you have trained for, what are you worried about.
Experienced runners passed on advice that would be invaluable throughout the race: keep calm, don’t go out too fast, keep hydrated, keep to the plan and most importantly smile & enjoy!
So the morning of the race, I was up at 4:30am, fuelled with a bowl of porridge, stretched and rode my bike 15 minutes to the start of the race – an ideal warm up. I mentally prepared the night before and in the morning for the race, ran the race in my mind – this helped calm any nervous.
At 7am the gun went off and along with 6500 other runners, we were off, I was running my first marathon. I surprised myself, I felt great but had to remember, don’t go out too fast, you have along way to go. I smiled the whole way, I asked anyone who had stopped if they were OK, I breathed from my belly and I marvelled in what I was doing – I was running my first marathon!
3hrs and 32minutes
I crossed the line in 3 hours and 32 minutes – 3 minutes ahead of my race plan but I knew I would beat my time, I was running a little faster per kilometre than planned but I listened to my body – if it felt good to push.
When I ran into the MCG, I thought I would cry. I congratulated myself on crossing the finishing line and thought to myself – I love running.
Throughout the past 3 months, I have learnt that with proper training, commitment and understanding of your body, you can do anything you set out to do. Planning is the key and setting a goal will help map out the plan.
This vegan has proved you can run on a plant-based diet, you can achieve your goals and you can enjoy every moment of it. They say the training is the hard part and the race the reward. Finishing my first marathon in the time I did, is the greatest reward of all.