Friday, August 24, 2012

The Long Run And A Scary Photo Of Me.

24 hours after completing my first ever marathon, I decided to check out the photos Luke had taken of me post run. I was horrified and immediately made them black and white, despitely trying to make myself look better.

Five days post marathon, I'm ready to show a pic to the world (or at least my 17 readers!), because hey, this is what I looked like after running 42.2km, and I need to be proud of that. So here I am in all my sweaty, shattered, fuzzy haired, exhausted, nauseated, tear stained glory.... I'm with my bestie, Gemma, who'd done the half as part of her training for the (gasp!) New York Marathon..... I'm sure she'll be totally thrilled that I have shared this with the world (you'll keep it to yourselves right? All 17 of you!), but hey, next to me she looks like a godess.

So now that I've frightened you, I will spare you all the details of my 4 hour and 23 minute run. However, I do want to share a couple of things I learnt.

1) I learned that determination will get you anywhere you want to go. The lovely Amy of Giggleberry Creations, who is also an avid runner, asked me post race how I'd coped with the pain, how my mind had coped and if I'd wanted to stop. The answer for me was quite simple, I wanted to get to the finish line having run every single step, so the pain was inconsequential, just a side effect of the big picture. Therefore stopping was not an option. I just kept chipping away, knowing that with every step the finish line was gettng closer, and so was my dream.

2) Realising a dream is a very emotional experience. When I reached the little marker that said 1km to go, a big smile crossed my face, and then quite unexpectedly a big lump formed in my throat. I spent the last kilometre fighting back tears as I realised I was going to do what I'd set out to do. It got harder and harded as I got closer to the finish line as more and more people were there clapping me on, telling me how well I was doing, that I was almost there. I could barely look at my family as I ran past them to the finish line, the sight of Luke and the girls almost made me lose it. I grimaced as an old man put a medal over my head at the end, telling me "you deserve this, you've worked hard for it". I held it together until my Luke put his arms around me and said "Baby, I am so proud of you", then I came undone....... probably contributing to making that picture of me above even more unattractive.

The support I have received in the last couple of weeks has absolutely blown me away. I have cried a lot of tears, over these last two weeks, pre and post marathon. The encouragement from people I have never met has warmed my heart. Apparently I have even inspired some to give running a go, or to run further.

What I have achieved with my running isn't for everyone. But having a dream is. Realising your dream is too........ Now what should I aim for next?

Thursday, August 16, 2012

The Dramatic Twist In The Marathon Tale

So, just like a Hollywood movie, there always has to be a twist in the epic tale right? Some hurdle that the hero of the story must conquer before they can triumph? Well I have had mine this last week and a half.

Last Tuesday was when I first felt it, an ache in my left knee while running. I didn't think too much of it, these things happen, no big deal. Probably that was the moment when I should have realised that I needed a rest... I had just run 81km over the previous 9 days afterall, plus I was on nightshift. But no, silly me, so close to the finish line, and honestly, a little obsessed, went running again on Wednesday. That is when it started to hurt. By friday, I could only run a kilometre before needing to stop because of the pain. I had a massage after that on Friday, but then only managed 3kms the next morning.... that is when I realised, and heart sinkingly so, that it was time to stop, and heal.

On sunday I grimaced my way through Lollipop Markets, I had a great day, but I was in pain... so much so that immediately after arriving home I dragged my family down the beach so I could go wading in the water footballer style in the hope I could reduce some inflammation. Not suprisingly I got a lot of stares wading around out there with my trackie-daks hitched up as far as they could go.... it actually felt kind of nice though I will admit.

Because at this stage I'd put myself on a running ban until Wednesday I made arrangements to go swimming at the aquatics centre on Monday night with a friend... but sadly as my style is a bit crap, my kicking motion still made my knee hurt. That is when my friend convinced me to make an appointment with a physio. I couldn't get in until Thursday.

On Tuesday a care package arrived express post in my letter box care of the lovely Shan from Missy Melly . Shan is a woman of many talents, one of which is that she is a qualified acupuncturist. My care package contained adhesive anti-inflammatories and a diagram of where to put them and instructions explaining how to use them. I cried. Big gulping hard to breath cried. I've only ever "met" this beautiful woman virtually and she cared enough to send me this. How awesome is this world. How awesome is she.

Shan's method worked brilliantly for me and by wednesday afternoon I was relatively pain free.... until my test run of 5kms. It was highly uncomfortable. But still an improvement on the weekend. Could I run 42kms in this kind of pain? Maybe.

I sat with ice last night trying to will my knee better.

This morning I hurt again.

In my 17 years or so of running I have never had running related knee pain. To say I was starting to feel scared this morning is an understatement. But by now I'd made up my mind that I was doing my marathon no matter what.

I walkied into the physio today and said. I am running the Adelaide Marathon on Sunday, I seem to have developed runner's knee in the past week. I hurt, but I need to run this marathon. She said the words I needed to hear "Ok. Let's see what we can do".

So after an inital assessment of my knee, she said there was no damage to my knee and I "will be fine to run my marathon on Sunday". RELIEF. My problem turned out to be a ridiculously tight quad that was restricting movement in my knee cap, causing the pain. She suspected that night shift had made me too tired to recover properly..... stupid night shift.

I'd like to say she massaged my leg, but that conjurs some kind of relaxing, candle lit, soft music kind of senario... I would more liken it too tenderising a piece of meat. I love a tough massage but this was literally breath-taking, eye screwing up pain. Then she stuck in about 12 acupuncture needles and repeatedly pricked me with some kind of aparatus, kind of like aerrating a lawn. Then she strapped my knee, carefully showing me how to do it myself....and the best bit, gave me strict instructions to make my husband massage my thigh every night. Awesome.

I was then sent off, feeling immediately better and having been told to run tonight to see how it felt.

Adelaidians will know how the weather is tonight.... cold, pouring with rain and very windy. I strapped on my shoes and ran... some of the run was a little uncomfortable, but mostly it was fine, especially the further I went. WOW! I I do.

I suspect tomorrow I will feel like a train wreck in the thigh region, but right now, all I can do is smile. It was always going to hurt, now probably a little more so, but, that marathon is still within my grasp.

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Moments Like This.

I had a kitchen sponge throwing incident today. I'm on night shift. Night shift makes me feel like I am walking around in a big fog, the cummulative sleep deprivation really starts to make me nuts as the week moves on. Currently I'm half way through, 2 nights down, 2 to go, so the sponge throwing was a little unexpected, it's more of a Thursday thing.

Hours later, I'm not exactly sure why I did it. The house was quiet, Delilah was at kindy, Mackenzie was down for her nap, I'd just gotten up from my 3 hour sleep to tide me over until tomorrow morning... I should have been all good. But no, one minute I'm doing the dishes, and the next minute I am going postal and throwing the kitchen sponge in my poor husband's general direction while ranting about everything that I felt needed to be done right that second and kind of hyperventilating. To Luke's credit, he stayed quite calm, and came and gave me a hug, and told me everything would be ok, I guess he's a bit used to me after almost 12 years. I ranted for a bit longer. Then calmed down.

I have moments like this every now and then, really it's not suprising I'm having one this week, no sleep, a big market coming up on the weekend and the Marathon only a week and a half a way, realistically a crazy moment was probably over due. However, it's always perplexing to look back on a moment like that, and just go "What was that about?".

Since that moment, I have done some crafting, had a coffee with my Mother's Group and been out for a walk along the beach at sunset. Now I'm calm again, and the moment has passed... I'm sure it won't be the last time though, but for now I'm ready to push on.