So at last I managed to run a marathon. It’s been no easy run, to make a pun, but on Sunday 27 June 2010 in a howling Wellington southerly I ran my first marathon, the Harbour Capital, in 3 hours and 47 minutes.
It was a far cry from my aim of 3:30, but with calf strains in both legs over the last few months and something dodgy with the tendons in my left ankle (all the way up to my hip at times), the training went fairly pear-shaped towards the end. Add to that my fall-back position of eating too much sugary fat and I was over optimistic to aim for 3:30.
In truth I also started to panic that I wouldn’t make it. I’d done three 20-mile runs and a 22-mile. Two of the 20-miles took about 2:45; the 22-mile took 3:02; but the third 20-mile was 3:03 with pain and extreme stiffness setting in for the last mile or two.
So in the end, and with the rain coming down at the start, I revised expectations and aimed to finish. I also took on board advice from a good friend and keen runner to be careful at the 10km marker not to let loose. The worry at 10km is that you’re feeling good and you let yourself speed up. As it happened, I was running with a group at that point all of whom sped up and gradually left me behind. But I kept on going and slowly over the second half of the race overtook at least a few of them.
I felt in fact pretty damn good and managed to enjoy the last 7km – I’d never run that far before and I was passing people all the way. Maybe that suggests I hadn’t pushed myself enough, but for a first time out it was a good introduction. I’ll be doing more, and aiming again for that 3:30.
Pic: me, far left, at about the 9km mark; taken from the Dominion Post, 27 June 2010, page 3 (see the second picture in this story in the online edition)