Pandemic Survival 5: Running Crazy

I was supposed to run a marathon the other weekend.

I’d signed up for the full marathon in the Great Ocean Road Running Festival in mid-May but when the pandemic hit, it was postponed to August. In order not to lose the effect of the training I’d already completed but not peak too soon, I switched to the half-marathon plan.

Then, three weeks before the original weekend, the organisers announced a Virtual GOR Running Festival. Pick your distance, run it when and where you want over the weekend of 16-17 May, upload your results and they’ll send you a medal.

Sweet. After all, I was already planning to run a half marathon that weekend anyway to culminate the training plan. So the rational and sane move would be to register for the half marathon.

Two problems.

  1. I am not rational.
  2. I am insane.

I signed up to run the full marathon instead. Here was my thinking:

  1. I already have two GORRF half marathon medals and no full marathon medal. It’s all about the bling.
  2. There was no cut off time so I could take as long as I liked including having to stop and walk if necessary.
  3. I’d be running on my own so I wouldn’t need to get depressed as 3,000 runners ran past my lumbering self.

Now, normally when I train for a marathon I do things like

  1. Stick to the training plan as closely as possible, especially making sure I’ve completed the 30+km long runs.
  2. See a massage therapist every week to keep things loose and in line (my hips are a particular problem).

I’d done neither.

I threw in a 25km run the next weekend and then went into tapering mode. Even that was the furthest I’ve run in over a year. And I haven’t seen a massage therapist since November.

I wasn’t exactly in peak marathon condition.

I decided to run it on the Saturday rather than Sunday so I had a day to recover before going back to work on the Monday.

My location pick was the river trail near my home, a regular running location for my training. It wasn’t the most interesting place to run 42.2km and I had to run two and a quarter laps of the loop but it had multiple advantages:

  1. No road crossings. Particularly important near the end when you become a bit incoherent and can’t be trusted near traffic.
  2. Regular public toilets and drink fountains. Not really supposed to use either due to COVID-19 but I carried hand sanitiser.
  3. A convenient car park beside the track at which to meet The Husband with a restock of fluids and fuel halfway.

I was blessed with ideal weather conditions. It made it a shame the real event wasn’t going ahead but it made the challenge easier.

I was relaxed, none of the usual negative voices even appeared and I just ran for fun knowing that my time didn’t mean a thing.

GORVRF1

This was at the end. I look pretty good, I reckon.

I knocked 15 minutes off my previous best marathon time.

Huh?

A finishing time of 4:12:47 put me 55/122 overall and 15/54 of Females in the marathon event.

Double huh?

Screenshot_20200516-130117_Strava

My usual marathon average pace is around 6:30m/km. I kept expecting to slow down a lot at the end and never did.

I named this marathon the Owain’s Birthday Marathon because it coincided with my great-nephew’s 3rd birthday. I told him he must have brought me luck on his birthday.

Now, if you scroll down, you may find an “I told you so” from my friend M-R who, when I started training for the marathon originally, pointed out that maybe I shouldn’t train that much because my last two half marathons were good runs with sporadic training. My answer was that a full marathon is a whole other ballgame but I’ll admit I think she may be on to something.

By the time the medal arrived in the mail, I’d kind of forgotten about it and couldn’t work out who was sending me something heavy. It’s a lovely medal. Obviously the marathon medal for the original festival but they’ve kindly put a little tag on the back to mark it as the virtual event.

And now there’s a fourth full marathon medal hanging on my wall. Who’da thunk it? (The wall may need some reinforcing at this rate…)

GORVRF4

It breaks up the block of red quite nicely. They’re sorted in distance order (mostly) but my eyes twitch a bit about the colour mix.

I’ve still got the GOR full marathon to complete in August. I’m wondering if I should just do the half marathon training plan.

Anyway, there’s nothing quite like taking on some insane task because you’re a bit bored at home and then pulling off one of your best efforts.

Have you taken on something new or slightly mad in these coronavirus lockdown days?

 

42 thoughts on “Pandemic Survival 5: Running Crazy

  1. Wow! I am impressed. You’re my hero! Running is not something I do, but I respect those of you who run. This was a good plan. I laughed at your comment about not seeing 3,000 people run by you.

    Several new things here, but nothing insane.

    Congratulations!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks, Dan. I wasn’t a runner either until recently but I’m probably loving it the best I ever have at the moment.
      The bloke who actually came first in the marathon was running the same route I was but fortunately in the other direction so I didn’t have to see him fly past me a couple of times.
      Hope you’re keeping well.

      Liked by 2 people

  2. This is amazing, Heather. Congratulations. A spontaneous full marathon run opportunity and you went for it, and with a new best time too. It must have been a very peaceful run all by yourself. That winning wall looks so colourful with all those medals. I haven’t been doing anything insane over these strange times. I have, however, started exercising much more regularly and have felt muscles again in places where I thought I never had muscles.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I do think the combination of running alone on a beautiful day along a course I know like the back of my hand and with a head space full of positive and peaceful thoughts was bound to give me a good run.
      That’s good to be exercising, Mabel. I do think it makes you feel stronger which in turn helps you to deal with the other stresses in life at the moment.

      Like

      • It’s amazing to see what we can accomplish when we’re comfortable and in a good head space. Here’s to many more of these kinds of runs for you. Exercising has made me stronger and I feel the difference when I stop exercising for too many days in between.

        Liked by 1 person

  3. As daft as I’ve gotten is talking to a goat on Zoom, but it wasn’t my idea, Heather, so that’s ok, isn’t it? Many congratulations to you. Glad you’re feeling good πŸ€—πŸ’•πŸ’•

    Liked by 2 people

  4. Well, here I am, sitting on the bed with the laptop, trying to decide if I want to walk a couple of miles around the complex while you are Ms. Marathon Superstar. As Mr. Antion stated, I am impressed, but also very proud of you for that wall of medals. You probably need to reinforce and build another shelf from which to hang future accomplishments.

    I think sometimes the less we plan and let our head get into those plans, the better off we are. Apparently, running a marathon alone suits you, although I bet you really did miss the excitement of being in the middle of those 3,000 runners…right? πŸ˜‰

    Oh, and BTW, I had my first massage in about 10 weeks last Monday. It was oh so good considering I usually see him every three weeks to keep my back problems at bay. I hope that you can get back to massage too. It’s a wonderful thing.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I did kind of miss the occasional little chats one has along the way (although I find marathon road runners a less chatty bunch than say, trail runners) but I did get to give an occasional nod of acknowledgement to a couple of others who were obviously taking on the same challenge (but in the reverse direction).
      You’re right about the less planning. Even the start was so much easier because 1. I didn’t have to adhere to a start time and could go when ready. 2. I didn’t have to queue for the toilets at just the precise time to get through close enough to the race not to need to go again but not so close to miss the gun. (It’s a skill.)
      Part of the reason for not seeing the massage therapist is I’ve been working a lot so that’s kind of a good thing. School holidays in a few weeks so I’ll get back then.

      Liked by 1 person

  5. I am a prophet – a seer ! [grin]
    I love this one, because you did so well and can be so proud, H me little love !
    But of course, it’s in your psyche, and has been for an awful long time now. When you take to something, you REALLY take !
    Complimenti bella ed amata !

    Liked by 2 people

    • I heartily disliked the cross country at school. I’m sure my PE teachers would be shocked to learn I am now running marathons. I kind of fell into it by accident when I wanted to get really fit for my first trek. Mostly what keeps me going is I love the medals and running long distance lets me get away with eating as much chocolate as I want. 😁

      Liked by 1 person

      • I disliked all PE at school. I was a fat, fairly uncoordinated kid and an easy target. Even the thought of group/public exercise still causes me anxiety.
        And I guess I don’t like chocolate that much πŸ™‚

        Liked by 1 person

  6. This goes to prove something great, do your own thing your own way and you’ll win. I cannot run, do not want to run, but I like reading anything happy, You are cool beans, in my book.

    Liked by 2 people

  7. It just goes to show a lack of pressure can be a good thing. Well done for having the motivation to do this all on your own and congratulations on such an amazing result. I haven’t really started anything new or crazy but, after not doing any sewing for a few years, I’ve just finished making a baby quilt for our first grandchild, due later in the year. I’d forgotten how much fun it was cutting up lots of pretty fabric and sewing it back together again.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Congratulations on another success and one for the wall.

    Speaking of “twitching eyes” because of the colour mix, and “taking on some insane task because you’re a bit bored at home and then pulling off one of your best efforts” … I set you a challenge!

    My eyes twitched at the differing positions of the medals… you could make it so the bling is all aligned, and none hang lower than the others?

    Liked by 1 person

  9. Good news/bad news. I’m totally impressed with your accomplishment/your running. your sense of humor about the running/your aha moment that not running ‘against time’ is helpful in so many ways/and your strength and commitment to do this – all alone – with great veracity. Yup, that’s a whole lotta good news in there. The bad news? I’m insanely jealous coupled with the fact that I now feel like a total sloth. I’ve never run a marathon, nor even a half marathon. But I was a runner for a good 20 years, from the ages of 30 to 50+ until my knees just ‘couldn’t take it anymore.’ How I loved to run. So my jealousy runs from missing that incredible feeling of …. running. The effort, the highs, even the lows – I miss it all. Before the lockdown I still felt good because I attended three dance classes a week, a yoga class, and a cardio core class. All canceled since March, of course. Now… I just walk. Walk walk walk. I love to walk. But it sure doesn’t give the thrill of running… or dancing. I’m applauding you with hearty claps. And I really enjoyed reading this post.

    Like

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