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COMRADES 2018 – FROM HALF WAY TO NOWHERE

Having crossed the Drummond timing mat in a good time, I knew that there was an uphill section immediately after that a lot of fellow Comrades would walk, knowing that this would likely be the most substantial uphill section of the second half of the course. Having 25 minutes or so up the sleeve would also help facilitate this strategy, for having to rush now would have lead to physical strain taking a toll later on. Plus it would also give time to appreciate the famed “Arthur’s Seat” where tradition and legend dictates that runners would either lay a flower or doff their cap at a part of the course where a former winner named Arthur Newton would take a rest and smoke his pipe. By saying “Good Morning Arthur” as you passed, the legend goes that you would have a good second half of the race.

Unlike Arthur’s Seat, running past the Wall of Honour was a non negotiable. Sure it is good to stop and see all the former winners given their place in immortality with their plaque screwed onto the retaining wall, and it can be a collectors item when you finish one, for finishers can also purchase their own spot. But that sort of thing can be seen on tours rather than be admired on race day, and it’s just another feature to pass as the journey continues.

Having negotiated the section that on an up run I managed to pick up pace on, I thought it would be reasonably simple to maintain the pace and coast to the finish. Regrettably the legs decided to think otherwise. Sure the mind was willing but by the time the next cut off mark approached I was only really able to run in spurts. Having passed the next marker at Winston Park at 7:41, the legs suddenly just gave up as I rounded a left hand corner. At that stage quitting wasn’t an option, but moving let alone jogging or running became a task almost beyond the capabilities. I sat on an armco fence watching a couple of pace buses easily go past, not wanting to get in their way, before finding someone else in the same predicament. At that point I felt as though if I had to call it quits, I didn’t want to do it on the side of a freeway, so the next resolution was to walk to a place called Kloof and probably cease from there.

Walking with another battler at least didn’t make me feel that I was the loneliest person on a lonely journey, so we kept on walking. As we were about to pass Kearnsney College the sweeper car, the car signified where the last runner needed to be if finishing was going to be a reality, passed by. Despite this I felt as though we needed to walk onward at least to acknowledge the people who had been out roadside all day (and probably some of the night as well) just to cheer us on. Plus the miracle man in me had what was probably delusions of being able to sprint down Fields Hill to get to the second last cut off, even if I knew it would have been impossible in my condition at that time of the day to run splits that those who finished in the top 10 would be proud of.

The final stop came with just on 24 kilometres to go as I felt the need to actually take my chances and stop at a porta loo (I say take my chances because there was every chance sanitary conditions weren’t going to be average let alone good). By that stage the time I needed to be at the cut off had likely elapsed (I had no idea of what the actual time was as by this stage I was alone on the road), and being 3km from that marker unrewarded walking for half an hour didn’t appeal to either myself or the race organisers who probably would have liked to open the roads back to the public. There was no other choice, I stopped at a drinks station which was the 9th last, and ended up taking a seat on a mini bus.

Emotions took over fairly quickly after finding a spot to sit alongside a few others who didn’t make it. There have been races where I’ve had to abandon due to injury where frustration rather than emotion took over, I had even bailed last year but didn’t feel sad knowing that I had to give everything to make it that far. Yet this time the tears started flowing knowing the preparation, as interrupted and far from ideal as it had been, was amounting to nothing save for memories of getting so close to the goal but yet so far. Having being ferried to another bus waiting at the cut off, I found a seat at the front of the bus (a rarity on big buses given a back seat is my preference), and I cried yet again, even if some consoling words came from a man sitting across the aisle who wasn’t going to add to his 17 finishes this year.

We were dropped off at an exit leading into a tunnel where successful runners were strewn all over the bowels of Moses Mabhida Stadium looking for bags, water and cups of soup with medals dangling around their necks. Sadly all I could do was trudge past them back onto the field for a photo opportunity, then climb the stairs to find the internationals section where at least I could sit and watch the final hour or so as the runners came in. Unlike last year, where I knew I had nothing more to give and treated it as a big adventure, this year it took me ages to pull myself together amongst a group of Aussie ladies who had managed a finish as they waited for their partners (in training or in life) to cross that line. For a while I was very concerned about the traffic after the finish line being so great that some runners may be denied a finish because they find their passage to the line blocked. At least by the time the finishing gun went off those that made it were able to make it, and a number of those were just trudging into the stadium knowing they wouldn’t be getting a medal, although I’m sure they would say it was worth the pain and struggle.

The next day I somehow pulled myself together for an after party at a Durban beach front restaurant where it was actually fairly relaxed. Sitting next to another runner’s young kid may have helped, and it probably made me realise that running and finishing this race was what I wanted to do more than anything else. It was a nice way to spend a few hours, even if I didn’t have the stomach to overly celebrate or to dance up a storm like one Canadian lass.

So the obvious question is will I come back in 2019? My answer is a definite yes for I have a lot of unfinished business for the Up run, plus the fact I have enough funds to be able to make the trip even though I don’t normally book airfares for another 4 months (January). Again the journey to the start line will be different compared to other years, and in time I’ll be able to share exactly what the plan of attack is, after all the entries that normally open on the first of September haven’t opened and may not for another month. Still the qualifying period has started so the road back to Durban has begun already.

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COMRADES 2018 – START GUN TO DRUMMOND

For those that have experienced mass start events everyone knows that the further back you are, the longer it takes to cross the actual start time although 99% of the time you get told chip time is all that counts for you. This was the 1% that wasn’t, for taking several minutes to cross the start line is a given for those a fair way back in the pack. This year it was an agonising 9 minutes of walking in a pack, standing in a pack, and trying to avoid tripping over items that were intended to keep people warm prior to the start before the race began in earnest. Of course this was something that a runner cannot stress about even though it means trying to make up 10 minutes across the day.

The start for the down run is so much different to the start for the up run. Last year the first kilometre in the city streets lead to the motorway where despite a pause the field were able to fan out about 35 runners wide with high quality (for that part of the world) lighting leading to a relatively simple start. The down run through Pietermaritzburg had lower quality lighting in the first couple of kilometres before it basically became zero a few kilometres later, and the roads were so narrow plenty took to the grass in order to find some clear running room or like I did after about 5 minutes active time to have an unscheduled early pit stop.

Passing this means Polly Shortts has been successfully negotiated. It’s probably more satisfying on an up run so I can’t wait to actually find out.

Unlike the up run, and given I didn’t make it that far last year I am assuming the tales of the difficulty of the climb are true, going up Polly Shortts, the first of the major climbs was relatively straightforward. Knowing how long the day was and not wanting to spend all the energy before 7AM, I decided to walk much of the climb before trotting off over the top with the legs, body and mind all in good condition. The early pace was steady due to the compression of the field on narrower roads. Compared to last year by the time I reached the first cut off point at Lion Park (nearly 16km into the journey) I was still conscious of trying to find my own space without slowing dramatically to hold anyone up.

What may have helped was my nutrition strategy involving carrying a bottle of Energade (a sports drink) in one hand and a bottle of Lucozade (not in the original planning but once I was delighted to find some in the supermarket on Saturday) in the other. For those worried about the rule of not trying anything before race day, Lucozade is something I usually have in Melbourne where personal drinks stations for everyone are available. I was comfortable with drinking the product during a run, so I felt there wasn’t a problem with using it during a big race that Comrades is. The Energade lasted well over 20km before I reached for the Lucozade, with another runner happy to accept my empty bottle for his own use once I had no use for it. In fact in the first 35km the only thing I took from aid stations was food, with a portion of banana at one station and a number of bits of orange at a few others.

The first concern came when I discarded with my warm weather gear close to the 20km mark. I’m sure someone on the side of the road is finding a good use for my $7 K-Mart gloves and my 6 year old royal blue UniQlo jumper, for I’m sure without them I wouldn’t have had as comfortable of a time before it was warm enough to run in just the singlet with Australian flag patches sewn on. The issue came when removing the jumper and seeing the front bib, and more importantly my “ticket” to retrieve my bag in the international compound at Moses Mabhida becoming unattached. One pin was then used to secure the bag ticket, with another pin being repositioned to keep the bib intact without flapping around. Perhaps next year prior to the race I may use a little sticky tape to help prevent the bib from coming off the pin, for paper bibs seen easier to rip than the thin cardboard type bibs we use here.

Can’t believe kids are happy to be in photos with me, taken 2 days before the race at the Ethambeni School

Back to the run and the next section was very kind to me without being overly quick. I was comfortably running with one of the 11:30 pace buses and knowing plenty of buses were behind time wasn’t an issue. A mental demon of sorts was passed at the next station at Cato Ridge, not because my race last year ended there (it was well before Cato), but because that was where I realised how tough Comrades is when a fellow bailer on the back seat of the bus needed medical attention and an ambulance before the big bus even got moving. There was no time to dwell on it though as the bus ploughed on and I either ran with it, ran in front of it or kept it well in sight. Before I knew it we were running through Ethambemi School with all the kids who performed so fantastically on Friday lining the road. If I had the time to do so I may have given a “Hi-5” to the kids on both sides of the road, but I’m sure the kids on the left hand side of the road weren’t overly upset that I could only acknowledge those to my right. Unlike Friday there was no time to stop for photos, as Inchanga and where my race ended in 2017 approached.

Perhaps it was there where everything started to go slightly pear shaped. Physically everything was still great, the legs were showing no signs of wear or fatigue and the mind was relaxed knowing the halfway point was coming up. I then made a slight error of looking behind me as the climb of Inchanga started noticing the car with the clock on top of it approaching. Expecting to see a time closer to about 5:15 or even 5:30, I was shocked to see that the clock had only just passed the 5 hour mark, and it was at that time where I had a feeling that even though I had conserved plenty of gas I had perhaps gone out too quickly and backing off before Drummond would be a sound strategy. After all there was plenty of time left in the bank, and I knew after the ceremonial half way mark Drummond indicated (the actual mid point was just under a kilometre up the road) there would be what I regarded as a difficult unnamed climb past the famed Arthur’s Seat and the Wall of Honour to negotiate.

Just a couple of the kids waiting on the side of the road for runners to pass through the Ethambeni School, picture taken the Friday prior to the run.

Still the form was good approaching the arch signifying cut off point number 3, where I tried to wow the crowd by singing (badly) Bon Jovi’s Livin on a Prayer up to the first chorus. Some in the crowd and a few of the volunteers liked by, as by that stage I was starting to stop at drink stations for sips of Coke. I crossed the marker in a tick over 5:45 which gave me ample time to steadily go through the second half of the event. Little did I know at that stage that my thoughts of going out a little too hard would come back to bite me.

 

TO BE CONCLUDED…..

COMRADES 2018: BUILDING UP TO THE START

Having successfully negotiated the expo and having set alarms to ensure an early wake up on Friday, it was time for another course tour to confirm final plans for the Sunday. It seemed a longer tour than the previous year, not the least because the tour started in Pietermaritzburg necessitating a 90 minute bus ride to Comrades House, but probably because I was on the later buses departing at 8:45 rather than the earlier time for last year. The highlights were the same, with the visit to the Ethambemi School proving popular as usual. It would have been nice to actually drive on the road to the finish upon returning to Durban but I suppose traffic control may have prevented this and being stuck in Durban traffic is about as inviting as dodging it as a pedestrian. At least the pizza on the beach still tasted like a pizza, even if I’ll never get used to crust less pizza.

Saturday was probably a little more stressful than it should have been. Waking up early enough for the North Beach Parkrun was a relief, but forgetting the timing barcode to officially record the time was a pain in the backside, although I probably should have gone somewhere on the Friday afternoon post tour to print some. Unofficially I was able to record a solid enough run to give a little confidence heading into the Sunday. From there it was straight to the supermarket afterwards to get some supplies for Sunday, even if the bananas were too green to eat. It was a thrill to discover some Lucozade in the store, for this was a product I had plenty of experience with during runs. I thought I had everything pegged in terms of what I needed and thought it was time to settle back to watch some Rugby.

The lingering thought of something being wrong with my chip purchased on Thursday however consumed me to the extent where I had to dash back to the expo just to make sure it was in working order. Relief came when that confirmation came, but then the stress returned when I discovered I forgot to purchase sunscreen that morning and I only had the zinc cream in the bag. So another supermarket trip came after I also thought I didn’t have any pins to attach the bibs (plural intended) to the race top, and the stress was amplified when I couldn’t find any safety pins in the establishment I went to. It was only when I returned and tipped the contents of the envelope with race bib onto the coffee table in my hotel room that I was able to breathe easy as 8 pins dropped out.

With the entire kit and the accessories laid out and pictorially immortalised, the remainder of the day went smoothly. At least the 2 plates of chicken pasta went down nicely and I was even able to do something I’m sure many runners were stressing over on Saturday Night, both get some sleep and respond to the second of 15 alarms I had set. It was a relief to spend a little time lying in bed before having to get organised about 12:30AM on the Sunday Morning, some 5 hours before go time. There was time for a pre race shower, a shaving of the sides of the face to help with the application and removal of zinc cream, get the kit on (and slip warm clothing over the top), wander downstairs for what’s probably the earliest breakfast known to man for 1AM is generally time for kebabs and cold pizza rather than yoghurt and rice bubbles, then after a quick toilet stop it was time to wander through the streets of Durban to catch the bus to destiny. It was then where it got a little confronting, for I hadn’t gone more than 200 metres when I saw a guy on the ground being restrained at gunpoint by a member of the constabulary. Not exactly what you want to see when you need to be as relaxed as possible given the stresses of what lay ahead. Yet for some reason I was a little shocked that it took that long for me to see this, so I guess staying in a secure location beach side rather than inner city or elsewhere has advantages.

Pietermartizburg Town Hall, starting location for the Comrades Down Runs

Excuses are something that I now try to avoid, but if I felt as though I needed one what happened next may have given me an out should things have gone pear shaped. Figuring that getting to Pietermaritzburg early was a key to success and that getting on a later bus may have caused an overly rushed preparation, it was a relief to get on the 2nd bus to depart Durban at 1:50 AM. It was a case of “What The?” when the bus arrived at 3AM having had to negotiate minimal traffic on the route. Being early to things like this is something I aspire to, but having to wait for so long in cold if not freezing conditions (it felt colder than the 8 degrees forecast) actually could have been a hindrance rather than a calming influence. The zinc was applied at about 3:30 AM, and I waited until 4AM to hand my bag over for transportation and to find a seat in the G starting pen….and I waited…..and waited……and waited as I listened to some lass tell us it was her last crack at her elusive 10th finish which would give her a coveted Green Number (if you finish 10 of these, or finish in the top 10 on 5 occasions, or win the race 3 times or more, your number is given to you for eternity and you run with a green race bib. Internationals with less than 10 run with a blue bib).

Come 5AM and the runners had started to fill the pens with many more trying to get to the start as the roads to PMB started to become congested. The time had come to stand up to find a position not too close to the gutter and not too close to the head of the pen. With no Australians in sight (a miracle considering about 150 of us started) I managed to integrate with a few of the locals as the buzz grew and the start time approached. Before we knew it, the time had approached 5:20, which was enough time to play the National Anthem (one day I’ll nail the pronunciation of the Afrikaans section), the traditional tear jerking hymn Shoshaloza, the mind focusing Chariots of Fire, and the recording of a man imitating a cock crowing twice. A brief moment of silence came over close to 20000 runners, before BANG….

 

TO BE CONTINUED

COMRADES 2018 – THE EXPO

Day 2 in Durban is basically dedicated to heading to the expo to pick up race numbers and to make sure everything is in order for Sunday. It’s important to get all of this done as early as possible so that I can concentrate on relaxing the mind and body and knowing that Friday is taken up by course tours. It’s also the easiest time to pick up bibs as the crowds apparently are at their lowest on the Thursday with many either working or still in transit.

Standing in a queue is not everyone’s cup of tea, but it’s all part of the Comrades experience. Fortunately this year I didn’t have to wait around with 17 kilograms of luggage in tow just to make myself look ultra awkward, but the line was already large and growing by the time I got there 20 minutes before the 10AM opening. Once the expo opened though the line orderly and rapidly were able to get inside the Durban ICC building to begin the process.

First up for me was getting a brand new timing chip. For those unfamiliar with Comrades but used to entering other timed events around the world other than Parkrun (more on that later), the chip for this event has to be worn on the shoe rather than attached to a bib, or in the case of Comrades, either bib. I’m sure the chip I had from last year is still at home somewhere, for once you get a bib it’s yours to keep and to reuse for future events.

After parting with R150 (which is about $15 in Australia) and filling out a form to ensure that was mine for eternity, it was off to join the queue for international entrants. One of the good things about Comrades is that they look after the Internationals better than they do the locals in some respects, giving us our own registration area, our own space at the back of the expo and even a whole section of stadium when we finish. Even though the wifi in the building was struggling (and in Durban fast wifi is about as rare as a Comrades runner on Monday doing a recovery jog) I managed to collect my things so I could do the one thing I needed to do at the expo, buy a pair of sunglasses worth R180 to wear on Sunday. Then it was time to have a little peek at what was in the bag whilst consuming a coffee (still hate drinking the stuff but it sounded more appealing than some of the tea options available)

Having spent the money I probably needed for some lunch on the chip and the bus ticket to the start (most of the expo was cash only), the only other thing I did was to listen to a quick lecture on race strategy that I felt I needed to listen to, especially with a course tour on the Friday morning coming up to confirm the plans. I left just after 12:30, heading in the right direction this year after last year’s self inflicted confusion back to the motel, before returning to the Durban Hilton located across the road to have a lightish training run with about 40 of the internationals. The lesson learnt from that run was that Durban motorists have a concept of red lights but not much else when it comes to traffic lights.

We’re from around the world about to tackle Durban’s traffic.

COMRADES 2018 – DAY 1 IN DURBAN

I’ve arrived safely! Even found the time to record a couple of videos. The first was whilst I was having an early lunch at Durban’s Tambo Airport (hence the several delays as the pizza was going cold), the second was as sundown was approaching and I wanted to not only shake the legs out a little (and buy some drinks on the way back), but also to have a close look at the finish stadium, the Moses Mabhida stadium built for the 2010 World Cup, before the big crowds would make it impossible. Enjoy these 2 video entries!

 

COMRADES 2018 – THE LONG ROAD TO SOMEWHERE!

Training for an event such as Comrades is tougher than many would imagine, especially if you’re alone and are trying to do it with minimal group runs or help. Hence the long road often includes many race runs doubling as training efforts. Whilst Wangaratta proved to be a false start as mentioned in the previous post, there was still quality kilometres to be pounded in both Port Macquarie and also in Canberra. Both of these had left me with a good tale to tell (or so I think), so here is the race report in a kind of  conjoined contracted fashion.

 

PORT MACQUARIE TREBLE BREAKWALL BUSTER, 4 MARCH 2018

This would be a series of new experiences for me, namely the first time I had ever been to the Port and the first time I had run 3 races in the one day since high school athletics carnivals when I ran 400m/800m and the sprint relay (the house wanted to field 2 teams because everyone else did). With a calf injury hampering preparations, a visit to the local Chemist Warehouse for Voltaren and bandaging in addition to the pre packed K-Tape would certainly put the mind at ease over whether I was going to run. Hence the plan was to take it easy and try to time my finishing times so that when I finished one leg the second leg would be about to start or had just commenced.

It started out reasonably well, managing to get through the warm up without trying to overly extend myself (which had been an issue at both Sydney runs last year) and tagging along with the 2 hour pace runner for much of the trip during the half marathon. There were times where the nerves started to rise, particularly when running across a bridge that felt like it was swaying when runners flew across it, and along the narrow breakwall section where the rocks were decorated generally as a tribute to someone. I fell off the back of the pace on the 3rd lap and basically crossed the finish line, navigated my way through the crowd and ran straight over the start line to commence the 10km. By that stage I was feeling OK physically except I felt the need to do some business requiring a toilet. Any momentum I had gathered was lost to the extent where the calf started to feel a little sorer than normal and I was reduced to little more than walking pace.

By the time I came through to start the last leg, the kids were all lined up and about to start their race, and there were only a handful of adult runners that were completing the last 5km. Yet knowing I had Comrades to think about, I knew it was important to finish the last 5km well. The track was clear enough until I hit the breakwall for the 6th time (3 times for the half marathon, twice in the 10km) where I was dodging the general public who were looking for fishing/surfing/sightseeing spots and the kids with their parents heading in the other direction. Fortunately I plodded into the finish in a time that needed a sundial to measure as opposed to a stopwatch, and I ended up with 4 medals from the day (even if I now have 2 finishers medals for the 10km and none for the half). Most importantly though for me, it was 36km in the bank done for the big dance which was the most important aim of the day. I intend to be back for next year to try to get through the whole thing a lot quicker than I did this year.

 

CANBERRA ULTRA MARATHON (50km), APRIL 15

By contrast to the Port, this was the 3rd time I would be starting the Ultra Marathon in Canberra and the 5th time overall where I would be running there having done the marathon twice. In an attempt to prevent the boredom that the course became some sections were deleted and another loop in a suburban area added, plus instead of going anti-clockwise around Parliament House we ran clockwise. Yet one part of the course had everyone talking, for a volunteer marshall who was either asleep at the wheel on his briefing, or was guessing big time, directed everyone except the first 3 male competitors onto a section of the course 20km earlier than we need to be. By the time I had arrived (after an unscheduled pit stop less than 3km into the run) I half thought about going straight but trusting the corner worker I wandered on the turn up to the bridge. It turned out that just about the entire field were coming the other way with instructions to turn around, and the thought has since passed that if I trusted my instinct that the course was wrong before making the turn, I would have been in 4th place in a National Championship (this doubled as the Australian 50km championships) for about 2-3 kilometres.

After that it was a case of just taking it easy and if I did manage to get a time that would improve seeding for Comrades it would be a bonus. The simple walk/run strategy incorporating signage worked better than anticipated. Conversing with other past and present Comrades runners (some of whom were using this as a training run, others as a last chance qualifier for this was the last marathon prior to the qualifying date cut off) left me more relaxed than ever. In contrast to last year where I was the 7th last to clock in, this year there was still a reasonable throng waiting at the finish line some 5:39 after the commencement, although they were there to see someone from the Indigenous Marathon program become the first to finish the 50km since their inception rather than seeing me. It was probably the most content I had been crossing the finish line in the capital, and after that I thought that if I had crossed the 50km marker at Comrades in 6:39 then things were really going to plan. Whether that forms part of the whole plan remains to be seen.

 

There were a couple of other decent training runs and of course the local Rocky River Run that have been done since, although the quality of those runs probably weren’t as good as they could have been. But it’s now too late to worry about those sort of things for as I type this I’m in the Singapore Airlines Silver Kris Lounge preparing for departure!

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

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!