Blog 20 A Marathon Without Training
Zig Ziglar said you should be able to come up with 200 things you’ve done in your life that you are proud of. I am about to add an item to my list this weekend and the suspense and anticipation are palpable,
I am going to do a marathon without training for it. I have previously run four marathons and an ultra but I’ve always been in training. Whether the training was good or not who knows but I’ve never done it without training.
I heard about this marathon coming up and it got me to thinking, I wonder if I could? If I was going to do this goal I may as well jump on this marathon because after this I would actually like to go back to marathon training and then run it properly. If I was going to do this one I was about as untrained as I could get. So 165 schmackeroos later I am on my way to Tanunda today to pick up my bib.
The thing is I miss running and whenever an event comes up I feel like I have been left behind. Runners are my tribe and the Universe keeps poking and prodding me back towards them. I am happiest when I am out there with them. When we are just about to begin the run, the air is electric. I like it when we acknowledge each other on the run and I like the camaraderie at the finish when we congratulate each other. I do not like the recovery process afterwards, that bit is daunting.
I could totally crash and burn but I want to see what happens. Wish me luck?
I have my bib and it was a thrill to get handed the bib, I’m like a horse on oats, all fidgety and ready to run. This snippet might give you a chuckle. So far I have got the day, time and venue wrong for this event. I am very grateful that I went to gym today and my coach, (how the heck did he remember?), said are you running a marathon tomorrow? And I said no it’s on Sunday and then Danni who is helping out as a volunteer at the marathon said no it’s tomorrow and I thought oh dear. I probably wouldn’t have done gym if I’d known it was tomorrow but there you go if I hadn’t gone to gym I would probably have missed the whole event but never mind I have all the right information now so off we trot. So thank you Sam and thank you Danni.
This will be my first marathon since getting crook. I haven’t done one since 2014. There are a few people who think that if you are a crossfitter you don’t need to do the marathon training. I’m a crossfitter, I scale a lot but hey I turn up, I work out. I’m stronger than I have ever been and I am really curious to see if I can do this and in what sort of condition I will be at the finish of it. I know the mind fucks these runs can give you so I’m not worried about that. The weather is perfect for running so I really think the Universe is behind me on this one.
When I have done this, I put being crook behind me. I say, that girl has gone and now it’s just onwards and upwards. I’ve been walking around with her for too long. She was a tough cookie but she can go now with my blessing. It’s just me still standing. You know what? I want to do a 100km and I think I’m going to make that happen in 2018. There I’ve said it publicly.
I did the marathon yesterday, I finished the bloody thing and now if I may I would like to share my thoughts about doing a marathon without training. I would recommend you don’t do it. I had a truly miserable time doing it and when I got to the finish line and this lovely man shoved a microphone in my face and said how do you feel it was all I could do not to burst into tears. I could see the fear in his eyes and he said, feeling a bit emotional? I nodded and he kindly moved on to the woman next to me.
I met some truly amazing people on this run. Really lovely people, so the runner’s comraderie and the walkers comraderie is still alive and strong. I knew I was in trouble four kilometres into the event when their marathon pace was faster than my 10km pace. As people kept passing me I kept saying to myself keep them in sight and you’ll be ok. I couldn’t keep them in sight and it was a major mindfuck to have people pass you and then disappear.
I had not factored in hills. At no point had I run up a hill in four years. Tanunda, where the run was, is friggin hilly and to call it undulating as the organizers did is not fooling anybody. So now the run was too fast and the hills were too steep and the headfucks started.
I said I could handle the mental mind games that go on but it was not, mindfuck appears squash it down, it was mindfuck appears and you really have to wrestle with that arsehole. I nearly stopped at the first hill, I nearly stopped at ten kms, the only reason I didn’t was because I thought you could at least do the City to Bay distance. Every person that passed me and remember I was way way back in the back so this was people who were originally slower than me passing me, every person made me think what are you doing here?
At one point the sun was beating down and I have awful sunburn now but the sun was fierce and the track was a dirt track and the heat was radiating up from the dirt and I pretended I was someone lost in the desert and the only way I could get help was to keep moving, that kept me going for a cupla ks.
Out in the desert I met a lovely man who was walking (in the same run) and he said as he passed me (walking) are you alright? And I thought no, no I’m not but that is not the pommy way. We can be half dead and we wave and say oh yes I’m fine and that’s what I did. At least he was dressed very brightly and I could keep him in sight for a while until he disappeared too.
I knew before starting the run that I would have some friends on one of the refreshment tables. Danni said that it would be at the 23km mark. In my head way before this run had started, in my head which quite often is a lovely world, here is how I had imagined this scenario. I would approach the 23km mark with lots of other runners. I would wave jauntily to my friends and carry on my way and they would think my goodness she didn’t train for this marathon. What actually happened was at this point I was second to last in position I walked to the table, I begged a hug from Megan that was nice, I saw Danni and Lisa, why the friggin hell didn’t I ask them for suncream, they took a really funny video which I loved and then I had to keep going back out into the desert. They had cool Tshirts that they had got for helping out and they had water and shade and probably snacks and I thought what the flippin heck am I doing?
I kept seeing the ambulance at the refreshment stations and that was another temptation, I thought all you have to do is say help me and it will all be over. I said to one of the guys giving directions, when he asked how are you doing? My hands had swelled up and my arms hurt which I didn’t think was ok because without lymph glands I’m not supposed to let my arms and hands swell up. He said how are you doing and I said I’m thinking about calling it a day and he looked at me and he was one of those lovely iconic aussies, old, sunburnt and stringy strong. He said you can do that and you have my respect for coming this far but when you stop you stop for good and I nodded and I kept walking and I walked past that friggin ambulance when all I wanted to do was jump in. Did I mention the ambulance driver was a cutie? That was just the Universe adding salt to the wound and making temptation all the more enticing. I wish I had kept my mind off the cute ambulance driver and had thought to ask him for suncream. Oh well live and learn.
I got very upset about my hands puffing up. I am terrified of lymphodema. I know now that I was tired and probably had a little sunstroke but I really felt like Sick Trish was shitting all over the event. Well Fit Trish you can’t finish this marathon because lymphodema will get you, quit now, you can’t do these events you’ve been sick and you’ll always be sick and that is your reality. I cried a bit and then I told Sick Trish to fuck off. If I got lymphodema I would deal with it. If I got skin cancer from the sunburn I would deal with it. I was not going to listen to Sick Trish anymore she could stay out in the desert and go and make someone else’s life all safe and cotton woolled. I was out here in the friggin desert having an adventure. I tackled some mental demons out there.
It wasn’t all awful things running through my head. Going through twenty kilometres to thirty I solved some business matters that had been bothering me. I also figured out how I could create my own pole room and that was quite enjoyable.
Whenever things are getting a little intense the Universe sends me an angel. At the thirty kilometre mark an angel appeared. She was brightly dressed and walking determinedly and as she passed me she said “You got this” and kept going. Now I didn’t know that she was the last person at that point but I looked at her like a lifeline. I thought if I just stay with her she is my passport out of the desert. “Do you mind if I walk beside you? I asked. Not at all she said.
Between thirty and forty kilometres I found out that her name was Paola (pronounced Paula) and she had done a 100 kilometre walk. Now come on what are the chances that I would meet someone who had done exactly the event that I wanted to try. Angel sent, there is no other explanation. I’m not fast Paolo said but I always finish. She told me all about her training and where she had been on her various athletic events. She told me what it was like to be in a team on these events, what she ate and the fact that they didn’t sleep. I found it fascinating and I almost forgot about the marathon. I stuck with Paola like glue and she walked me home.
All along the checkpoints people with radios gave our position and a lovely man followed us in a van. As we walked through they opened up the road behind us and allowed the poor traffic through. I started picking up people’s used gel packs, I figured I may as well do something useful while I am out there. Paola said we have to run the last bit people will be watching. I’m pretty sure I was delirious by his point I just knew wherever Paola went I was going to follow. So 10ks became 9, then 8 then 7 and before I knew it we were on the home stretch. There was a barricade, there was a ton of people, I heard my name come out on the loud speaker and Paola’s name. We started to run for the finish line. I tripped and stumbled but I didn’t fall. We got to the finish line. A man put a medal around my neck and it was impossibly heavy. He asked me how I felt, I managed not to cry and then I went and squatted in the shade. This volunteer just kept bringing me cup after cup of water. I wish I had gotten her name.
So I did the marathon, I got myself home, I had a bath with Epsom salts and saw just how sunburnt I was and then the games began. I knew going in that the recovery was going to be difficult. I did not expect the massive cramps I got in my legs. in my quads, my hamstrings and my adductors (I had to look that one up). I have never had cramps like this, they were so amazingly painful, it felt like the muscles were trying to remove themselves from my bones. I was actually worried that I was going to get a muscle tear. If I sat, cramp. If I stood, cramp, if I sat on the bed to sleep, cramp, lie down, cramp, turn over, cramp, stand back up, cramp. I took it for a couple of hours but the thought of a whole night like this was not appealing.
I sent an SOS on facebook and got some good tips. Sam the coach sent me a message and gave me some more good tips. I ended up going down to the doctors because I knew they had a chemist that would be open too so I bought magnesium and electrolytes that people on facebook had recommended and I saw the doctor and she didn’t think my muscles would be likely to tear. She thought there was more chance that being out in the desert had caused my muscles to start melting. I thought well just put that one in the “do not think about box” and deal with these pesky cramps.
I took the electrolytes, I had the magnesium pills and I have not had another cramp. Bloody magic I tell you.
So what did I learn from this experience? Runners and walkers are still lovely people. One lady who I met at the start with her son came and greeted me at the end just because she had seen me at the start and she would have had to wait a long time to see me at he finish. What an angel. If I had trained, the experience would have been a lot more enjoyable and I would have been able to keep up with somebody before Paola came and rescued me but I can now put it on my list of achievements that I completed a marathon without training, not very well but I did it. I will wear a hat next time and I will ask for sun cream at one of the refreshment places. Some snacks wouldn’t have gone amiss. I don’t think walking is easier, you’re just out there for longer. I think the old Cliff Young shuffle is the best way to cover the ground. I’ve put Sick Trish to bed. She started to leave when I did Murph and now she’s totally gone and that’s lovely. I’m not being mean to her she did a great job for a while there but the whole point of getting better is to fly and have adventures not constantly be second guessing yourself.
I’m sad I missed Saturday pole and gym. I’m happy I got bling. I don’t feel like I’ve done a marathon. I feel like I went for a bloody long walk on a bloody hot day and people gave me a drink every four kilometres and then I got a medal at the end. I tackled some demons and hopefully I have got doing a marathon without training out of my system.
That’s my lot, thank you for reading and I will catch you next week. Thank you Universe for providing angels, friends, crossfit coaches, runners and walkers.