The story of what lead me to running 42.2km for 'fun'
10th of January 2016:
I complete my first Triathlon. It was a 700metre swim, 26km cycle and 5 km run, commonly known a 'sprint' distance. I did it off one month's training, which included swimming for fitness for the first time ever (Thanks to YouTube for being my coach).
I wasn't happy with how it went. I got a big stitch during the run.
So on the 12th of January I went for a 15km run.
I wasn't happy with how that went, I could have kept going.
So on the 14th of January I went for a 22km run.
This was the first time I completed a half-marathon distance.
30th of June 2016:
I decide to sign up for the Half-Marathon distance at the Melbourne Marathon Festival. I do so with a confidence that I have run the distance before, and that I won't need to train as hard because I've already mentally crossed the line. Ideally I will get this out of the way and then do the full marathon in 2017.
13th of October 2016:
It's three days out for the event and my body is ready for the 21.1km event. In fact, I'm so ready I feel as though I can run through a brick wall. This rush of blood to the head is probably not a great thing, because by 11am I have withdrawn from the Half-Marathon and entered into the full 42.2km event despite going against everything I have read and advice I have taken about the difference between a half and full marathon. Keep in mind, the furthest distance I have ever run was on 14/1/16 and was 22km. My longest training run for the half-marathon was 16km.
16th of October:
It's the big day and I'm not at all nervous. Yet to run through a brick wall, but the feeling is still there. It's 4am and I am driving from Ballarat to Melbourne. I arrive at the MCG on time, and make my way to the bag drop.
As I am looking around the carpark I realise that I am 100% not ready for what I am about to do. Every one here is about 5-20kg lighter and have really nice shoes on. I do one last check to make sure I have everything before walking to the start line.
There is a lot of people already standing around, as well as a ton of garments, water bottles, food scraps and energy gels that have been tossed to the side of the road. I'm about 400m back from the start line, so when the gun goes off it is about one minute before I even move. It's like a train at rush hour. The pack is so dense that I can hardly go any faster than a light jog for the first 2km.
Then it breaks a part, and there is room to move. Skip the next 19km.
I'm coming up Beach Road after fighting a head wind for a large part of the event, but can now see the 21.1km / "You're Halfway There" signs. I'm 1hour 55minutes 53seconds down and feel pretty solid. Skip to kilometre 26.
Ok. The last 5km has taken me over 30 minutes and my knees are starting to hurt. Mentally I'm sound, but the legs are starting to feel heavy. Skip to kilometre 30.
Drink Stop. I slow to a walk and feel a crack in my left foot. As if I had dropped something heavy on it. Then the cramp comes. I start to jog again.
I remember the words of the great Rob DeCastella:
"If you feel bad at 10 miles, you're in trouble. If you feel bad at 20 miles, you're normal. If you don't feel bad at 26 miles, you're abnormal"
I'm just under that 20 mile (32km) mark, and I have found trouble. There is no appropriate adjective to describe how I moved for the next 6km. It was a cross between a waddle/hop/shunt/shuffle. I stopped a number of times to stretch and try get back to a pace. Still, I'm mentally fine but getting frustrated at my legs. I refuse to acknowledge that I didn't train for this distance, and that if I want to run a marathon then my body will obey.
It's kilometre 38, and the second last drink stop. I grab a cup of orange energy drink and a cup of water and take a minute to find out where my body will stop functioning, so I can join the other poor runners who are lying on the side of the roads being receiving medical attention.
As I begin the final leg of the event, I feel a sensation that leaves me in tears for the next 2 kilometres, but feeling no pain whatsoever. It sends chills down my spine and rushes of adrenaline through my body that I doubt I will feel until I next deplete my body of energy. I run, without stopping or struggling, to the finish line.
For me, the clock stops at 4hours 28minutes 33seconds
5 minutes later I'm lying against the wall of a carpark beneath the MCG crying like a 2 year old.
I don't know why.
The next day I turned 25. How poetic.