Monday, June 11, 2012

Marathon 27

Another medal for my collection
Well I did it after all but first I must recount what happened the night before and it is not a happy tale!

I'd been nervous about this anyway and when Mike and I talked about it the main worries were; would my breathing be OK on the really steep ascents (nearly 5000ft of ascents and a couple of them are real lung busters)?, did I feel confident that my right leg was going to go the distance (more on that later)?, did I want to travel a round trip of 5 hours if the weather was as grotty as it had been all week?

So, throughout the day I'd gone from yes to no and round and round in circles.  I'd reasoned that my breathing would probably be OK as when I've run the hills round here it hasn't been any more laboured.  It's just that having a name, ie asthma, associated with how I'm feeling has had a really negative effect on my confidence and that is not good for a marathon runner plus I have another ongoing health issue to worry about.  The travelling, well I've done it before and it's OK on a nice day but not so good on a wet and windy one but the forecast was actually good so I couldn't use that as a valid reason to pull out.

Then there was my right leg.  It's been behaving very strangely of late.  In my last 2 marathons I've been having issues with the hamstring and Mary Massage Lady has done lots of work on my hip flexors etc to sort it out.

Anyway, the night before we'd decided that I'd make my final decision when I got up the next morning.  Then there was the incident.  

We'd both drifted off the sleep when all of a sudden at just after midnight I was awoken by a searing pain in my right calf.  My whole leg was rigid and the calf felt as hard as iron.  I tried to stretch it out but it felt as if someone was twisting a knife into my leg and I screamed in agony.  Poor Mike leapt out of bed and ran around, bashing his ankle on the bed in the process and drawing blood.  He tried bending my foot and pressing on the leg which is what you do with such a cramp but it just didn't relieve it for ages.  After more screaming and stretching it eventually calmed down thank goodness but I hardly slept after that as I was worried it was going to come back.

When the alarm went off at 4am I was not in a good place mentally but Mike helped me make my mind up and I decided to go for it.   The calf felt sore in one particular spot so I was prepared to have to walk more than usual if need-be.

I won't do a blow by blow account of the marathon but some photos of the wonderful views are here from my account of when I ran it in 2007.  Suffice to say that the whole of my right leg was sore all the way and I struggled more with the downhill sections as they really hurt.  Also, I'd forgotten just how steep some of the climbs are - they are unrelenting!

Apart from a naughty leg I had a lovely sociable time and chatted to lots of people en-route, including Carol Ann who I hadn't seen since 2009 when we ran the Abingdon marathon which was her 100th (nutter!).  I could hardly believe it when she said she was intending to do Abingdon again this year as her 200th marathon.  That in itself is an amazing feat but when I tell you that back in 2007 when we both ran the South Downs marathon she had 'only' done 31 marathons you can see that she will have run 169 marathons in 5 years.  Oh my goodness!

The weather was lovely all the way round; sunny but with a gentle wind to cool us off.  There was one worrying moment when we had to run through a field of oil seed rape that was still flowering in part.  It was this horrible crop that caused me to struggle with my breathing several weeks ago and sent me off to see the quack so I was horrified when I saw it.  As luck would have it I had a pair of gloves with me and so I put them over my mouth and breathed through them to stop any pollen getting in.  Thankfully it worked although I probably looked rather strange!

Despite running in a very awkward manner and walking all the really steep hills I still managed to get round in 5:52 which is just 2 minutes slower than 5 years ago.  Technically I should have beaten that time but given the calf/hamstring problems I shall have to be satisfied with that result.

Now I just need to sort out my leg. I feel a trip to the Physio might be required.  At least I've got until 2nd September until my next marathon but I really want to be fully fit and well for that one as I want a pb!

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