My worst half marathon yet

Last year I ran the Gold Coast full Marathon.  It didn’t go great, but I did OK.

Unfortunately my training this year has been abridged due to more than a few injuries. That’s why I decided to focus on just the half marathon this year.  I say “just” because 21.1km still seems like a decent distance unless you’re in a taxi stuck in traffic.

But the half marathon was definitely my worst yet.  I painfully came home in a disappining – even embarassing – time of 1:53:23.  >20 minutes beyond my best.  13 minutes beyond anything I’d consider average for myself.  3 minutes beyond some of the 50 year old ladies in my running club.

Not happy Jan.

I should say though, the event was great, and the buzz of the Gold Coast is always worth it.

The first three kms I ran with a couple of guys from my club.  We were stuck in a fair bit of traffic so we were reduced to 5min+ km, then we started to find some space and got to just over 4:30min/km pace which was closer to our target.

But I fell off this bus at the four km mark as my legs felt like there were filled to the brim with concrete. My legs just didn’t want to move. Each movement was quite painful, particularly anything quicker than a jog, so I deduced from this I should slow things down if I’m going to go any further. 

It’s a depressing feeling when you’re in a world of hurt, and there’s still more than 17 km to go.  Thoughts of stopping there flashed into my mind, but I couldn’t live with a DNF (Did Not Finish) next to my name.  And I thought considering the cost of this exercise, and the trouble I went through to get to GC it would be even more disappointing.  So I continued in a modified running style – one that was less painful.

At around the seven km mark I lost sensation in my left foot.  This is a condition I’ve had on and off for way too long now.  It happened to me at the Brisbane Marathon Festival half marathon also – my last disappointing race.  There I decided to sit down and stretch it out, then I was able to run for a while and the numbness subsided.  So I figured I could just run through this again, and all would be OK.  Four km later, my foot is still annoyingly numb.  But the numbness is starting to be exchanged with a stabbing pain.  Again I considered if I should stop or not – it was really starting to suck.

I continue on, but it’s very noticeable that I’m getting passed by 100s of people, and I’m not passing anyone.

The final half a dozen kilometres were worse still. My speed was reduced to 6mins/km, otherwise my legs felt like they would seize up.  And new feelings of being sick come on the scene to add to the experience.

With a kilometre to go, and then 100m to go I assumed I was going to finish, but I was not overly confident about anything.

I have the ability during any run to break into an impressive sprint when I know I’ll finish soon.  I think I could have sped up a little at this tragic event also, but there was little point and hypocritical to finish fast.  Instead I just maintain my dilapidated canter and stop dead over the finish line.  One of the first-aid ladies take a look at me and ask if  I’m alright. Not a good sign.

Very disappoining end to a disappointing run.  But I guess there are two positives to take from the event. One is I finished despite the adversity, and two is at least I beat the Queensland Premier, Anna Bligh.

ADDENDUM:
I was still not well more than a week after the run.  In fact I was worse.  I chose to go against my usual tendencies, and this time actually visit a doctor.  He diagnosed my issue as an infected windpipe.  He was suitably unimpressed that I had attempted a half marathon in that condition.

Antio-biotics and an asthma puffer have eased things.