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.
- I am not rational.
- I am insane.
I signed up to run the full marathon instead. Here was my thinking:
- I already have two GORRF half marathon medals and no full marathon medal. It’s all about the bling.
- There was no cut off time so I could take as long as I liked including having to stop and walk if necessary.
- 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
- Stick to the training plan as closely as possible, especially making sure I’ve completed the 30+km long runs.
- 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:
- No road crossings. Particularly important near the end when you become a bit incoherent and can’t be trusted near traffic.
- Regular public toilets and drink fountains. Not really supposed to use either due to COVID-19 but I carried hand sanitiser.
- 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.
I knocked 15 minutes off my previous best marathon time.
A finishing time of 4:12:47 put me 55/122 overall and 15/54 of Females in the marathon event.
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…)
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?