3.03 to 2.46 in 11 months
As I crossed the finish line at the Barcelona Marathon, and still as I sit here now, I am in shock. I ran that, I ran sub 4min/km over a 42.195 distance – really was that me?
In a synopsis, I still know I have room for improvement. This was not my best race.
The day before the marathon, as I rode around on the tourist bus (highly recommended) as it hailed and rained I had wondered what I had gotten myself in for. Was I really here, was it time to race a marathon already. I decided that I was going to try some new things on this one, this was what I wanted to call my incognito marathon, I was on my own, running on my own, let’s give it a crack. I figured I needed to work on what Pene calls the 1% to start to improve. Especially after my melt down in December.
This started with some of my training runs – or Mike did. Switching some of my days around, moving my long run, adding in more swimming etc. Some were sensational some were tough. Trying to do some of these runs without my buddies was tough and at times unsuccessful, however successful in others. I’m so grateful for friends who ran with me and pulled me through on different occasions.
Many backwards and forwards to Mike, from very persistent to painful Jules (I would think in this one) but we got it sorted.
I also met with David (Nutritionist) to see what I was doing with my diet and if this was the right thing. Lots of things were good, some things needed changing. Many I attempted but some didn’t go according to plan when travelling.
The other change was to bring in the watch, at this end it was time to start watching as the room for error was reduced. No dramas – right?
It was race day and out came the sun, thank goodness. Where I was staying was a 2 min walk to the start line, I could see the start line from my room. My corral closed at 8.25am and the race started at 8.30am. Up at 6.20 in with a banana and back to bed. (new thing to try)
As I jumped into the Sub 3 box – the yellow box – the intimidation began. Let’s just say there was two (I think) females in this box and like any good “group” you needed to prove yourself and in Europe – even more being female.
The gun went off and we were away, I was ahead of the 2.45 bus.
I decided that I would look at the watch every 5km, Gel every 10km and just keep running – the aim was 3.50 pace.
From the get go I had a buddy with me, bald mate. You would not believe how in sync we were, our steps are the same – the footage is incredible.
5km down and I was feeling okay, I was however sitting on 3.53 pace – hmm.
10km in and some negative thoughts were appearing – I was thinking of my Paris marathon, in a place I didn’t know and everyone around me didn’t speak English. Through the water zone, thumbs up to my mate, Gel in and we kept going. Paris I fell apart at 16km, God don’t let this happen again – Come on Jules you can do this.
Up some very long drawn hills, down some hills, recovery on the downhill, you can do this.
About 17km (I think) we got swept up with some runner running a lot faster than I was comfortable. I pulled it back, I had to run my own race to get to the finish line.
The push to the half way mark, 18 to 20km up a long long hill, but got to the top – right recover on the way down.
20km mark, Gel in – I had stopped watching the watch at 5km – Opse!
The half way, no idea where I was at, was pretty sure I was going backwards – only a half marathon to go.
25km mark, my thoughts were heading down hill, breathe through the negative, it was hurting, breathe through, it will pass.
28km could not hold on, Gel in – nutrition plan out the door.
My shins were hurting and also my knees and quads above. Focus look up, look at others I kept saying.
It was then the 32km mark – right a marathon is a 10km race on really tired legs – right you can do this. Under an hour to go and you can start your holiday, get moving. “Come on I want this done so I can start my holiday” – Only a Wednesday night run to go, only a Wednesday night run to go.
“When it hurts run with your heart” – that is me in a nutshell, I run with my heart, I run because I love it – You can do it.
My mate had gone on at about here somewhere, I let him go, I needed to run comfortable. Something I had done in training, or tried – make this pace comfortable, get comfortable, and glide.
I was taken back to one of my Monday night runs at lake Monger where I was in tears for being in so much pain (mentally) running down the back straight (40km the day before) and holding this pace. You did it then you can do it now.
The things that go on in your head are amazing, the arguments I was having with myself.
35km passed, I was watching every km marker, they were going past quite quickly and the 2.45 bus had not passed me yet - do not let that bus past you.
Through the 37km mark, under this bridge, the people became thicker, I ran down these narrow straights with people cheering either side, they clapped I focused on the clapping.
38km down, right under 5km to go – Mike wants you to do these races all the time, off you go you can do it.
The last two km were the toughest, the 2.45 bus went passed, I caught my mate, and they were long and uphill. Do not let that bus out of your site is all I could think. They wanted me to jump on but my legs just wouldn’t move.
Through the finish line I went – 2.46 – ARE YOU KIDDING!?
I stopped and waited for my mate, we hugged and fell to the ground, a PB for us both. The initiation was done, the males were sensational they could see that I could run and hold my own – I was accepted.
I was in shock, total shock, I did not think this was real, to be honest I still don’t think it is real.
I walked to find Dave – I finally found him my legs gave way, OMG the pain, do I stand do I sit, it hurt so so much – but it was so so worth it.
I laid on the grass for a wee while and started up at the sun, did I do that really?
I call this the marathon of change. Post New York marathon it was time to work on the 1% and bring in some change – to be honest I welcomed this.
Originally accepted into Tokyo marathon, this would be the 28th Feb, some 14 weeks post New York. It was evident pretty quick I was struggling with the concept of pulling it together to run another marathon that close. Thankfully I chatted with Mike and away we went – Barcelona it was.
The crash of December. A shocking race, slowing pace, and tears shed as I was struggling to run. Once again Mike to the rescue – we determined that fatigue had set in and I needed to pull back from my program. Under the guidance of Mike, I was confident that it was going to be okay (I may not have said that at the time J).
Got through the tough phase and I started to feel good about it all again. Bennett was Back!
Through this campaign I also completed the Busselton Half Marathon with a PB and a sub 1.20, being 1.18.57 and the Busso Jetty swim – I was loving having the distraction of swimming from my running in many ways.
In a nutshell, I am beyond ecstatic with my time, don’t get me wrong, I still feel this was not my best race. I had a tough day out mentally (although I feel I did an amazing job to get through those bad thoughts). I threw my nutrition plan out the window (but I am proud that I did), my legs were in pain during (I wonder if I need to add more strength work to help with this). I also ran my own race (didn’t get swept up in it), let go of the watch (think I need to pull that back) but to me I am still in shock, I ran sub 4min/km over 42.195km – really did I do that!?
Racing is never meant to be easy, it’s a challenge and this is why we love and are addicted to it.
I still cannot believe this has happened – I am still in shock!