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COMRADES 2018: ONE WEEK OUT, LOOKING BACK ON THE SETBACKS

June 3, 2018

To say that preparations for this year’s odyssey across Kwa-Zulu Natal has been flawless is nothing short of a lie. I’m sure that most if not all participants that will be on the start line will have had some sort of issue in the 5 months leading up to the event (for training really shouldn’t even begin until January), so it will be reassuring to know I’m not alone in terms of being less than ideally prepared. This isn’t quite a substitute for the race reports that I should have prepared long before this, nor should it be used as an excuse for what will happen next Sunday, rather this is just a part of the journey many will take.

FEBRUARY: Calf Strain (and forgetting the race bib)

The intention in late February was to wander back to Wangaratta where I had run fairly well last year to do the half marathon again. Everything was all set to go until I started feeling a familiar soreness in the calf, familiar because I had some issues with that part of the leg over the years. What made it worse was that I arrived in Melbourne early Saturday morning (after a long flight delay) only to discover I had left my race bib for the weekend amongst my clean laundry at home. The tightness in the calf after standing watching a pre-season AFL match didn’t help, and I made the decision to pull the pin on the Saturday night. Instead of running on the Sunday, I ended up going bowling which to be truthful didn’t fare much better following a strike on the opening frame!

MARCH: Calf Pull (and a 10 minute pit stop)

It was exciting to head to Port Macquarie for the first time ever, let alone run the Treble Breakwall Buster (a half marathon, followed by a 10km, followed by a 5km). Once again fate tried to intervene at a football training session earlier in the week when my calf was pulling badly after trying to explode into a sprint. I was able to make the start line thanks to some heat rub treatment and some bandaging and was feeling reasonable through the half. During the 10km however the curse of the porta-loo struck again, having to stop for 10 minutes to do some business. The delay meant I was one of the last to finish the treble, the stoppage allowed me to resolve that I would never again indulge in Subway the night before a run….or was it undercooked microwaved Lasagne again?

APRIL: A change of address

By April the physical side of things was actually reasonably settled and I was able to complete the 50km in Canberra in just under 5:40 (more on that later this week). Yet the mental side of things was altered with a change of address. Sure it helped in terms of employment as it was much closer than my previous address, but everything associated with it meant training was sometimes put on the back burner. On the flip side it helped in some ways in the regard that I won’t have to “step on egg shells” before heading on the road for an early morning training session again, plus it was closer to the hills that I probably should have done more work on.

MAY: Quad strain

Bloody football! Sometimes I don’t know why I actually keep playing but some people can be persuasive enough to keep me playing. The quad basically went when I was kicking the ball during a game, and although the pain had largely subsided in a week thanks to Voltaren, Ice Packs and the odd self massage of the area, it meant that any final long run had to be canned. I was able to have enough in the leg to run the local half marathon last week (again more on that later), and unlike some of the elite runners it isn’t enough to prevent me from starting, but this little setback could easily have derailed everything I had hoped for. Fortunately a couple of short runs this week leading in to the big day shouldn’t be a problem, for I’m planning to do at least the North Beach parkrun on Saturday as I did last year as well as the International Ambassador’s run on Thursday which I was asleep for 12 months ago.

 

None of these will be excuses upon race day, heck based on Melbourne last year where I barely trained and still managed close to 4:30 perhaps the injuries will help to keep the legs slightly fresher. One day I’ll find a preparation schedule and injury prevention techniques that will ensure I’ll have a near perfect preparation, but that will have to wait until next year.

COMING UP THIS WEEK: Race reports from the runs this year, and planning for the GF that Comrades is!

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