26th December 2017
So here I am, finally. Almost 3 months after my last post, on a break from work and with time to blog. But with nothing to say. Or possibly too much to say. Probably the latter. We’re about 2.5 weeks out from the Cadbury Marathon in Hobart, and I am feeling absolutely terrified. I am undercooked. Or, if the weather is anything to go by, maybe I’m overcooked. Definitely over-stuffed with Christmas turkey and wine and Lindt chocolates… Is this a meltdown, or is it just a result of melting in the Brisbane heat? (Brisbane Heat? Let’s not mention the cricket, hey?!)
It’s been a year of revised running goals (down, down, deeper and down), a year of revelations (triathlon as an event isn’t for me – although I enjoy each individual activity and think tri-club peeps are the BEST), a year of clawing my way back into permanent employment (worth it in the end) and a year of trying to find myself again (let’s just say that’s a work in progress, but I think I”m finally on the right track). So 2017 has been a big year. And the kilometres covered have got bigger. But boy, am I struggling at the moment! And I don’t know if it’s just melting. Or genuine slowing.
It’s not even the distance at the moment that is causing trouble. The muscle memory, which I was convinced had developed its own form of amnesia bordering on Alzheimers, has thrown off the forgetfulness. The idea of running more than 15km was intimidating just a couple of weeks ago. Then Coach Pat found me a running buddy and we talked ourselves into running 50km as a team – 25km each, and boom, I was back. At least, I was for 23km. Then my gut gave up, and the best I could do was walk the last 2km if I didn’t want to paint my pants…
But my legs were still working. Or maybe my head was. What is it that really gets you through the long kays? Yes, the legs have to be conditioned, but really, it’s the head that rules the day. And for the GoldCoast50, I’d decided I was going to enjoy it. So I did. I ignored the pace on my watch; enjoyed the scenery; embraced the heat; talked to fellow runners. I had fun.
Only when I got back to the finish line, and poor Pat was still waiting, did the tempo feel like an issue. Because pace counts right now.
When I ran Comrades in 2015, pace was of little issue. The rules were different. I had run Adelaide Marathon in August 2014. And that meant I had pre-qualified for the 2015 down run. But now, only races after 1 September count as qualifiers. So, as a Queenslander, that means running in the stinking heat of summer. And I don’t know whether it’s additional age, or extreme humidity, but my pace has slowed SOOOOO much. So now I’m really really concerned that I won’t make the 5 hour qualifying time I need in Hobart. Which is slightly ironic, as I think my training has been generally more consistent than in 2014.
(I haven’t consulted Strava, which is obviously the only source of truth, and I am the person who thinks she runs 4 days a week simply because there are 4 runs/week on my schedule, even though only 2 of them has been adhered to, so my thinking may be flawed….). And of course, when training for Adelaide, all my running was on the flat streets of Whyalla. Whereas, now, the “undulations” of Brisbane are my everyday. And did I mention humidity? I can barely breath! I do not heat well…
So, today, I tried a treadmill run at the gym. And it didn’t end well. I’d like to blame it on the hills from Sunday: check my Strava – I went to Mt Coot-tha and nearly ripped my calf muscles off the bone. Which they hadn’t forgiven me for today. But, in truth, I also think there might have been some complaining about the turkey, wine, Pimms and chocolate that found their way down my throat yesterday…
Luckily, there is a call to arms tomorrow. Rena has invited the turtles* to run with her in the morning, and somehow, having a tribe to chat to makes plodding and pace something less of an issue. 45 minutes of tempo running might happen. And the pace really isn’t anything demanding – under cooler conditions. So, let’s see what turtle chats and early morning breeze does tomorrow.