In July, 2011, I was the fittest I had ever been. I ran two marathons in a 8 week period, and I had amazing endurance and strength. I was on a 26km run (as you do), when I decided to do a spot of trail running. I tripped on a root, and hit the deck hard, and lost a fair bit of skin. Finished the run, but it wasn't pretty.
After that, it became hard to run distances. I had some physio, and got my arse around the course at the Melbourne Marathon 2011. And I had some more physio, and got DQ'd at the Gold Coast in 2012 for slow. I also had a truly horrible series of tests, as my GP figured that my problem was likely to be cardivascular. A few more falls in training, because I couldn't recover from a loss of balance.
And in January/February 2013, I had a hard time moving my body ten km. My mind wants to marathon, my body could not.
I had an osteopath put my hips back where they should be in May 2013. Apparently, my fall in 2011 put my hips out. He's also been working with muscles that are not happy about my hips.
I walked off the course of a half marathon in July. I finished the half marathon at Melbourne 2013, but did it tough. My body stopped being co-operative at 17km, so I dragged myself the rest of the way by my teeth.
And three days after Melbourne, my back stopped hurting. After two and a half years, the pain is gone. I ran 10km, easily. Not fast, but easily. It's been years.
In the years that I carried this injury, basically, every step hurt. So I learnt to fear movement. If I'm sitting, I don't want to get up, because I'll hurt. I've learnt to fear running. It hurts to run. I don't really trust my body, it stops co-operating at long distances. And sometimes, that distance was a few km. I've had to limp home in 10 km run. I learnt to cover up having difficulty starting walking, so people wouldn't see that I couldn't just stand up and walk.
My back learnt to be in spasm. It's stopped. I cannot convey how happy I am for the background pain to be gone. I don't have to drop my left hip to be able to start walking.
I'm lucky. My pain stopped. I had access to a health care professional who helped me, and I had an injury that could be helped. I thought constant pain was my new normal. Now to un-learn the fear.
I did my ten mile run. It was glacial. I was intensely slow, but I am not hurting today, which is the acid test. Also, I was able to run the whole way.
I did have a deeply depressing moment while running, while I considered that I am about to come very last in a race. I thought "Maybe an old, fat lady will enter, to give me some hope." I then realised I am the old, fat lady, and I will be giving the rest of the world hope. Bugger.
I did meet a deeply unpleasant child, who spent some time loudly mocking my running speed, and mimicking my gait. I got the worst death glare ever from its parent, when I brightly remarked "What a delightful child." Hey, I reckon I get full marks for not saying the first 5 things that went through my head.
I also went to spend my fifty bucks of vouchers, and bought three kilometers of merino/silk laceweight to make an Orenburg shawl. If I'm going to win "Best in Show" with a stocking stitch pi shawl, let's really blow their minds. I've been planning my outfits around the shawl, it will be interesting to pair it with a suit tomorrow.
I think I've figured out why I'm feeling judged and found wanting. The internet is not the place to discuss, but I did something work-related that required bravery, and I've heard nothing back. Poop.
You see, I normally use this blog to talk about my running. And, I've been injured for years. My running is a slow, dull plod. I want to talk about my marathons, and instead all I have is that I ran 5km without walking.
I have been struggling with feeling like a failure, because I'm not marathoning. I fell over on a training run in 2011. I put out some joints in my hips. I finished a marathon with a dislocated joint in my hips. I trained for a second one, where I failed due to excessive slowness. And I still felt like a failure.
But, really. Is being the world's slowest marathoner what I bring to the table? I've got a lot going for me, is marathoning the hill I want to die on? It's very gratifying being everyone's fit fat friend, but I can do that without running 42 km every so often. (That being said: Melbourne 2014. You're on!)
I've been quiet because I can't bring my running to the table. I'm more than that. I'll try to write more often. And I'm trying for 17km tomorrow.
In November, my (trusted) Doc told me to give up gluten. Turns out, this was a pretty good call. I am now in amazement at the better kind of normal I get when I'm not eating gluten.
My father has also been told to go off gluten, and is further down the diagnostic path than I am. I'm glaring at the next diagnostic phase and saying "No. I don't think so. I'm not going to eat gluten deliberately for 6 weeks, and then have you shove a camera down my throat." I'm good with dropping out now, and just never eating gluten ever again.
But you know what sucks? Going to an after-work drinks to farewell a colleague, not being able to eat a damn thing, and having two glasses of wine. On an empty stomach, so now I'm a tiny bit not-sober. And now having to figure out what to cook, because I am not able to get any take-out in this town, and if I don't make my lunch for tomorrow, I'm not eating lunch.
Yes, this blows. And I trusted take-out last week, and ate the "gluten free - friendly" option. If that was gluten free, I'll eat my own head. The internet does not need details, but it wasn't pretty and persuades me to just drop out of testing now.
Just to add to my food issues, I live in rural Australia. This is a choice that leads to an 800m commute to work (I love this), excellent housing prices, a very low-stress lifestyle, and woeful access to exotic foods.
Happily, I can cook and cook well, otherwise, I'd be gone. Just so you get the idea, chicken parmie is the local specialty, and it is judged on size. I can still buy junket tablets. At a local "all-you-can eat" Chinese buffet, they typically put out fish and chips, just in case sweet and sour pork is too confronting. I kid you not.
So, going gluten free is fun. The local supermarket stocks two kinds of gluten free bread. One doesn't bend. The other costs an abolute bomb: $7 for 4 wraps. I was going to try it today, but R. won a gold star by hunting and gathering 10 corn tortillas for $2.50. No wheat! Yippee!
Is it working? Hmmm. My digestion is currently flawless, which is good. (This is after a week.) How shall I share this with the internet? I have a perfect knowledge of the location of every public bathroom in a 15 km radius. I haven't had to make use of that knowledge this week while jogging, which is unusual. I don't get tummy cramps after eating, which I have long believed to be normal. So, keeping it going. (Blood tests and stuff are also being done. Ace.)
In running news, I'm back up to 3 runs of 5km, and 1 run of 10km a week. I'm also cross training at the gym three times a week, 40 minutes bike, and 20 minutes rowing, and 2 hours of yoga a week.
And, I don't know if I've told LJ: when last in England, I did a 2 day course at the Royal School of Needlework. It was a delight. So, now I want to do my apprenticeship there. It can be done in 8 weeks, during which you produce 4 original designs, which are marked on workmanship and artistic merit. I wish to do this, but I can only have one shot at it. So, I'm doing workmanship and design courses through the NSW embroiderer's guild. When I start the design course, I will share photos.
I just ate my first slice of gluten free "bread." That was pretty dire. It didn't bend. Hopefully, I'll be able to find a brand of something that doesn't suck. Or, I'll give bread up entirely, and sob bitterly.
I have a morning tea at work today, so I've made a plate of something I can eat. I'm not on the roster to bring food, but more food is good. Gluten-free zucchini slice. It's pretty tasty, actually.
So, the injury turned out to be an inflamed muscle in the back, for which the cure is 2 months off running. I wept, went to the gym to ride the stupid, pointless bike that doesn't go anywhere.
The upside of the bike is that I can read while exercising. The downside is that I was reading inspirational books by vegan ultradistance runners. Good recipes. Having many more meat-free days, and eating fairly well.
And, I am having continued adventures with my health issue. I've got a birth defect in one of my kidneys, which probably assists my blood pressure up. So, had the 6 month check up.
I've figured out how to be a medical doctor. No matter what the problem, prescribe weight loss and exercise. I told my doctor that I've been exercising less due to an injury. So, he suggests I walk for 30 minutes, 5 times a week. Ah, I say. Less is three 5km runs a week, 3 lots of 45 minutes on the exercise bike, one 10km run a week and a two hour yoga session. Oh, says the doctor.
He's put me on a fairly restrictive diet, and since I was already on the no-fun diet, this is going to be delightful. Refined sugars and wheat are the first to go. 3 months of that, and we see what happens.
I went back to England to graduate from my Masters degree, and it was awesome. Every cent I spent, a year without yarn shopping, totally worth it.
I also am not running. I'm using the stupid pointless bike that doesn't go anywhere a lot. I've got an inflammable muscle in my back, and whenever I get tired, I can't walk normally (swinging leg forward) I have to sort of waddle. Needless to say, I am not a fan.
In a few weeks, I'll be able to run again. I can't wait.
I use running for stress relief, I do my best thinking while running. I work with my husband, I need some time out from that.
To remind myself I'm a runner, I'm doing something I decided to do years ago. When I ran my first marathon, I decided to get a tattoo to celebrate. (I have a tattoo that I got to celebrate my doctorate, the marathon is as big an acheivement for me.) I made the appointment yesterday. In a week, my right calf will be bearing an image of a penguin, and a scroll with the legend "42.2 km"
Getting to start, doesn't mean getting to finish. At GCM, I clocked up my first DNF (Did Not Finish).
I had a tough race at Melbourne, thanks to a mystery injury. (What diagnosis I did have is now in serious doubt, by the by. Now seeking a good sports doctor in NE Vic. If it was my kidney cysts, and they are gone...why did the same thing happen at around 29km...) So, this was the race I was going to redeem myself. I've had a very solid preparation, got the training runs in, taken up yoga for flexibility and was prepared to tackle the beast for the 6th time.
The marathon had a great atmosphere. I shed a little tear at the pre-marathon talk, it was the best I'd ever heard. "Make Pheiddipis proud, make your family proud, make yourself proud!" I've been in fairly deep denial about this race, and I didn't really think I was going to run a marathon until I was at the starting line.
I loved the first hour. I felt strong, and fit and all was good, and I was cruising along at a very comfortable pace. Second and third hour was ok, I was going the pace I needed to be going, but I was starting to struggle in the heat. At 29km, things were going pear-shaped (mystery injury appeared to return, somewhat unexpectedly) and I was put on the footpath, to try to make the cut-off on the bridge. This is fine. I was moving slowly, and the rules had been published. No arguments. Unfortunately, I then got startled by someone cheering me on inside my personal space bubble. Result,I fell over and then I was on the ground bleeding and winded. I needed help to stand. I had official attention before I had managed to sit up, and they offered me a lift back to the finish line.
I decided that, since I had missed the cut off to continue, and was now sitting on the ground bleeding, there really wasn't a lot of point in continuing. I got the cuts and grazes looked at (thankfully, my rugby training kicked in, and I fell well, protecting my head and wrists.) The medical tent was very busy, and I was glad that I was only getting grazes cleaned up. I was the only person in there who would be walking out, there were a lot of people on IV drips. At the start it was 16 deg C, with a top of 24.
Really wonderful things: the people in the coffee shops cheered me on. It helped. When I left the medical tent, I went through the finisher's area to find my friends. The vollies offered me a t-shirt and bling and when I said why I couldn't take it, the lady gave me a hug while I cried. (Since I was covered in my own blood, dirt, sweat and dried sports drink residue, I think touching me was over and above the call of duty. I would have said "There, there" from a safe distance of about 2m.) A bloke I barely know offered me the bling from around his neck when I asked to look at it. I said no, of course, because the bling is only special if you have moved every step of 42.2km, and I hadn't. But it was an act of kindness, and is deeply appreciated. (I wanted to say goodbye to the bling. I whispered to it, and that will be my goodbye to 2012 GCM bling. There was a spot on my wall picked out and everything.)
Huge thank you to Alisonjc, who played the role of support crew. This lady is a superstar, and I am proud to wear the words "Stupidly Determined" beside her. She was benched to injury, but still crewed me, and offered comfort when it went to clag.
I am gutted. I was planning to tackle the full at Melbourne, but I don't think that's a good idea anymore. After Sunday, I don't think my speed is up to it. I think I want to run shorter distances to work on speed, and then work my endurance back up to marathon levels. But, I am a marathoner, and I am damned if my last marathon is going to be a DNF.