Sunday, July 31, 2011

M7 Cities Marathon

After running very little and inconsistently this month due to a persistent knee/ITB issue i was in two minds over whether or not to run. Just the day before I nipped out to the shops and just jogging 1km was an issue. Later in the day I went for a 5km tester with Phill. I tapped up my leg and the pain was manageable but i was running 1.5km/min slower than planned marathon pace. In the end I thought I would give it a crack and pull out if the pain was too much.

I woke up naturally at 3.30am before my 4am alarm went off. I decided to get up and take my time getting ready rather than rushing things - even had time to use the foam roller. Breakfast was a large bowl of porridge, cup of tea and a litre of water. I then set about taping up my knee using the method shown to me by a physio i saw a while back. I probably over did it a bit but what the heck. I also planned on running with a patella strap so popped that on to. I decided to take my ipod as i thought there would be times when id be on my own and not chatting. As it turns out I didn't have any conversations with any other runners whilst on the course.

The drive over to Blacktown Athletics Arena didn't take as long as i had planned so I sat in my car for 30 mins whilst the minibus arrived to take us to the start line.

Once there it was another wait for 90 mins and I was on the verge of hypothermia by the time we kicked off. Chatted to Buzz and Roger Hanney at the start line and then we were on our way.

The first few km's were just demoralising. The pain in my knee was excruciating and i was 95% certain I would have to pull out. I was running with a limp as the tight taping meant I couldn't bend my knee fully so i must have looked a little odd. The patt strap was also on too tight and aggravating my calf so I stopped at the 5km point and took it off. I decided to continue on firstly due to the fact that I had gotten up early to run and secondly if I pulled out I would be waiting around for ages to get a lift back to the start. I gritted my teeth and decided to nut it out to the halfway point and then reevaluate.

The course was undulating road and I was feeling really in control as I was finally able to manage my leg pain and run in a style that didn't aggravate it so much - the voltaren was probably taking effect too...

Drink stations were about 5 km's apart and i relied solely on them for my nutritional requirements. Shortly after the 16km mark i began to get a little concerned that I hadn't seen any energy gels available - i was still feeling full of beans but felt like i should be taking in some calories soon to avoid bonking later. Fortunately at around the half way mark energy gels began to appear on every other drinks station.

I went through the 21.1km mark in 1.24.30 which was spot on. This can be a bit of a boost and by this stage I had no intention of pulling out. At the aid station I grabbed 3 gels and ate them in fairly quick succession. Fortunately I have a cast iron stomach and the gels weren't too much of an issue to get down. During the course of the second half I probably had about 8 gels in total. Overkill

A few runners were beginning to fade during this stage and i proceeded to pass about 3 or 4 people and I was lucky enough not to be passed by anyone (apart from negativesplit who tore it up for the win in the half marathon pairs - great running!)

The finish was inside the athletics stadium and I recorded my fastest km of the day 3.47 for the 42 second km.

I went through the finish with a time of 2.48.27 to negative split by around 30 seconds which was a nice way to end it. My goal for the day was 2.49 so i was happy to just sneak under. Elated to finish as it was a real internal struggle not to pull out in the first half. Really chuffed to finish up under 3hrs for my first roadie.

I somehow managed to snag 3rd place and $1000 prize money!! Insane! Feel a bit like a charlatan winning this swag as my time wouldnt have made the top 10 last year. But, you gotta be in it to win it!

My plan now is to retire and live off my winnings...

Not really, what im actually going to do is rest my leg, hit the gym and work on my strength and flexibility to get myself in serious nick for Great North Walk 100 miler.

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Weekly Update

Just 67km for the week. Ive been pretty soft due to the weather and dodgy knee.

2 decent treadmill runs on an incline had me running with zero knee pain. So this morning I went out for a 30km effort and marathon pace to see if I would hold up.

The run was from Greenwich towards Manly via The Spit Bridge and then back again. Knee was niggling after 5 or 6 km but not enough to complain. A few hills disrupted the easy rhythm but that's what i was after as im told  the M7 marathon isnt particularly flat. I went through the half marathon mark in 1hr 25 which was bang on pace then my knee really started to bother me. Thought about waiting for a bus to take me home but then realised that it was Sunday and i could be waiting hours for any public transport to turn up so I nutted out the remaining 9km and ended up with 2hrs 1 min and 32 seconds. 13 of those kilometres being sub 4 (faster than planned marathon pace) There was a fair bit of time wasted at traffic lights but it was just a training run after all. Fitness wise it felt fine, energy wise i felt excellent. I had 500ml of water and 1 gel and that was all i needed. Once my knee is better id say 2.45 for the marathon is well within reach. A couple of chiro sessions this week will hopefully get me on the start line next Sunday.

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Solid Week

Knee still not right but the good news is that its not stopping me from running. Pain isnt getting any worse and it comes and goes in waves. It is stopping me from running fast but just to be out running is a bonus. I'll have to go back and see the chiro before the marathon at the end of the month otherwise it will be an uncomfortable debut.

Without going in to too much detail i finally had a solid week of training hitting 124.4km in 11hrs 21minutes with 5 days of running. Happy to hit the mark whilst also having rest days.

Run of the week would have to be the 6ft out and back with Dan Bleakman. This run is total beast and takes you from the start of the 6ft track to the top of Pluvi and back again. Highlights were crossing the freezing creeks, running mini mini, the numerous kangaroos and discussing the European dominance of ultrarunning. Low light was Nellies Glen....

Thanks Dan for a great run. Exactly what I needed!

Sunday, July 10, 2011

Knee on the mend

After visting the chripractor on Wednesday and being told that my knee and hip were incorrectly tracking I took yet another day off running and resumed on Thursday with a double run. Knee started off sore on both occassions but the pain went away. Not perfect but a definite improvement. 

A weekend away in Orange was in store this saturday and sunday. I planned to test my knee and run around the local area. I had a brief look at a map and saw there was an obvious loop i could run. I figured it would be 30km at the most. I wrapped up warm as the wind chill had the temperature below freezing. The terrain was rolling hills on bitumen, dirt road and some trail thrown in for good measure. I carried a water bottle and 1 small museli bar and 20 bucks to stock up mid-way. 

I was cruising along quite nicely, my knee only being slightly irritating. I probably got a little carried away with the pace as i went though the half marathon mark in 1hr 34 but it was feeling easy. After knocking back my museli bar and the majority of my 500ml worth of water i plodded on. I was beginning to get a little anxious that i may have underestimated the distance. The area was desolate and after running through a freezing creek I was getting a little cold. Soon after the 30km mark I hit a bit of a wall. I was feeling pretty much depleted and the hills were taking it out of me. I was cooling down and the combination of a smaller than average breakfast ( i was a guest and didnt want to appear rude by having my usual mountain of food) and having stopped eating by 6pm the night before ( i would normally have a MASSIVE breakfast prior to going to sleep) meant I had hit the wall. Not a fun experience. I somehow managed to make it home in 3hrs 37 minutes covering just under 43km. Just over 800 metres of elevation which is reasonable. Plenty of walking on the last sections but i was grateful to be able to run at all. It wasnt pretty but im fairly confident that i should be ok for the marathon at the end of the month. Sub 2.50 is off the cards  as I dont think my knee will hold up but i'll give anything for a sub 3hr finish. 

Having said that, now that im running there is no way that i'll be tapering for the event. I'll no doubt take the day off beforehand but that will be it. I need to start getting in some solid miles in preparation for the Great North Walk in November. A 3 week European beach holiday over August/September isnt going to help matters but may be just the tonic i need to get over my niggling injuries - and I cannot wait!! 

78kms for the week which isnt too bad considering I wasnt able to run further than 4km's on Tuesday.

Onwards and upwards!

Sunday, July 3, 2011

Weekly update

Well it's been a week of rest on the running front. After pulling up painfully on sunday I attempted a run on Wednesday and my right knee was super sore just 6pm in.

Yesterday I had a posture check and it turns out my right side is 10kilos heavier than my left. So im rather lopsided and this could be attributing to the knee pain.

I've been doing plenty of strengthening exercises and experimenting with different types of taping. Today I had a small run with phill and ran at her pace and knocked out a very easy 45 minute run with just a little discomfort at the end. So I think slow and steady is the way to go. Will be avoiding all speed work so I won't be attending Monday night interval sessions.

I also fished out my old orthotics and stability runners as recommended by the physio. So will stick with this for a while then slowly remove the additional items one by one as my condition improves.

All up it was around 15km for the week. Let's hope next week sees me logging some proper numbers otherwise it will be back on the rowing machine