As you may know, two of our members are training for a marathon in 6 weeks. Rachel our founder, and 2IC Diala. They are in week 14 of their marathon training. Both have been feeling really strong this week and both felt mentally ready for their longest run ever – 35km. They learnt that training runs don’t always go to plan. Here is their account of what happened, and what they will do next.
We started the morning in the dark as usual. We both felt really strong and positive. We were running well and felt great despite a few toilet and drink stops. We had our first rainfall on a long run which wasn’t too bad and then made it to Brighton to see the sun come up. We even saw our marathon running friend at Brighton and at 16kms told him we were feeling really good. From this point on, Rachel who has had a previous iliotibial band syndrome (ITBS) injury started to feel sore in her left leg (the previously good one!). This is a very common running injury and can appear from the thigh to knee area. We ran slowly and had to stop for another drink and the pain started to get much worse. Rachel decided to run through it but it got worse.
A few very slow kilometres later, we were near Rockdale. I said to Rachel “I think our stops will come to about half an hour.” She then began to laugh hysterically. At first I could not even hear her respond due to the fits of laughter, which then turned to tears of laughter, then tears of pain, then panicking and not being able to breathe, all in a matter of about a minute. I realised she was going into the delirious mode. She was saying “is this the wall, have I hit the wall?”. Quite possibly yes. I think the pain was bad too. This delirious state when you are not sure how you feel and why you are doing the things you do can happen when you have been running for a while and by this time we had been out running for about 3 hours. It is called the wall by many marathon runners. Just as quickly as it started this funny phase stopped. I could tell she was still hurting though!
This was our sign to stop. I asked Rachel if we should stop and she said she was ok to keep going. I could tell she wasn’t well and over the next very slow few kilometres her pain got worse. Every time we stopped at a traffic light and she had to start again she was in agony. At one point we crossed the road and she had to sit down she was in so much pain. This is when I knew we should have stopped earlier. In my bossy insisting voice I said “give me the phone, I am calling Mike now!”. Rachel then called her husband Mike who came to pick us up. By the time he arrived Rachel had to be carried to the car and could not move at all. Being her knight in shining armour, Mike scooped up Rachel and carried her over his shoulder to the chariot (his car)! One small problem – Mike dropped Rachel just short of the car so she ended up falling on the pavement and the fits of laughter started again! At least she was in good spirits!
So here are the lessons we have learnt:
1.Listen to your body straight away. Do not push past what you know is unbearable pain as you could cause some real damage.
2. If your running buddy is in unbearable pain, make them stop. I learnt this one today.
3. Things can happen in a training run that are not in your plan. That’s what training is for. It’s all in preparation for race day. Pick yourself up and keep going.
4. Not completing a training run the way you would have liked does not mean you will not finish the race. Far from it.
5. Training for a marathon is not easy.
6. The strength of your running buddy/your team is unbelievable.
7. Sometimes you need to stop and rest.
8. The biggest one of all – our bodies are pretty amazing but in the end they are in charge not us. Listen to your body. If you don’t, it will make you stop and rest!
It was bound to happen, a bump in the road, a stumbling block, but it will not get us down. A visit to the physio tomorrow for Rachel & some enforced rest will hopefully see her back on the road soon. In the meantime, ice, painkillers and rest are her friend!
We have six weeks to go to our big marathon and will both do everything we can to get our bodies and minds there.