Fast forward three weeks and I now had a Perth City to Surf Marathon entry in my mailbox which I was pretty excited about. The three weeks back since my break had progressed really well. Weekly visits to my wonderful physio Ali and sports massage therapist Nathan ensured that I kept things under control as my mileage was building up again. The great thing about my physio is that she understands the game I am in and that generic rebuild programs aren't really suitable or relevant for me. Its great having confidence in people who do their absolute best at getting you back out on the trails.
So it was the Monday before the Perth City to Surf and I had somehow stumbled across an entry for the full marathon, I have wanted to do the City to Surf Marathon since moving to Perth, but the chance never really presented itself. On one hand I was really excited about finally being able to do it, and on the other hand, in all honesty, I was paranoid and scared that something was going to flare up again.
I think having such a long period of time off really plays on your mind and gives a feeling of uncertainty about how each run is going to pan out. I knew that the three weeks had gone well and I really had nothing to stress about but the thought of being back on the sidelines really scared me. At times during the rebuild from the time off I thought about whether I really wanted to be racing again and whether it was worth it. I was scared that through racing I would end up with more injuries. I knew at the time, and even more so now, that those were purely thoughts based on my emotional feelings at the time and I definitely didn't want to stop racing.
I know from previous experiences that once I'm on that start line it's all go. There's no such thing as not racing a race. I like to think I could run a race as a training run but know that wouldn't happen... I'm too competitive. So from that came the idea to run the marathon in costume. What better way to ensure it actually was a training run. My goal for the race was purely to treat it as a long training run and have some fun. So Liz and I headed off to the costume store to check out a few costume options. The guy at the store was really keen on the idea and couldn't have been more helpful. We narrowed it down to Fred Flinstone, Ironman and Mr Incredible. We decided on Mr Incredible as we all thought that was a pretty cool outfit. Sunday morning was an early start as the race started at 6am so we had to be up and getting ready by 4:45am.
To say that I got some pretty funny looks and massive smiles is a huge understatement. The response from people on the start line was absolutely awesome, I was pretty surprised that friends still recognised me as Mr Incredible. The starter's gun fired and we were off. I started off in the second row of runners ensuring I wasn't in the way of the flying Kenyans and Big Kev. About 100m down the road I decided to make my way up to the front alongside BK and Trailblazer and in front of the mighty Kenyan runners.
We weren't in front for long but I think it ensured Mr Incredible was going to get on tv which I thought would look pretty funny. As I slowed down and settled into a comfortable pace I had quite a few runners fly past me, a few of which gave encouraging words saying to make sure I made it to the finish line. Everyone was so supportive, I kind of wish I had a better story as to why I was dressed up other than I thought it would be pretty funny and a reason to slow me down and avoid injury.
I went through the first half in 1:25:42 which felt really comfortable. I didn't have a target pace for this race, I was more just wanting to make sure I stayed well below my threshold and not do anything silly. After hearing from friends that the second half is where the hills were, I was pretty keen to stay with the pace I was running as long as it stayed easy.
Crossing back through the start line I got huge cheers with people clapping and taking photos, I've never had so much attention in a race before which was pretty cool. As we started getting into the hilly sections I found myself picking off runners one by one as we were moving along the course. I made sure I eased up on the hills and kept things cruisy. A lot of runners had gone out pretty hard and were now suffering because of this. I think I passed around 13 people in the second half of the race including four people in the final 5km. The looks I got from the guys at the start who had said to make sure I made the finish line were priceless. It must have looked pretty funny seeing Mr Incredible running along at a touch over 4min km pace ;) I crossed the line in 2:51:14 for 19th place overall and first superhero. Running up the finishing chute was a really cool experience. Hearing people yelling out "go Mr Incredible" was absolutely classic. I must admit that before the race I wasn't sure how people would take me running along in costume, but after the amount of people and especially the kids I made smile it was definitely a good choice. High fiving kids and drink station volunteers out on the course just added to the experience for me. I have honestly never had so much fun in a race before!
After I crossed the line I had the Channel 9 tv crew come over to me asking if they could ask a few questions which was pretty funny. It was all pretty chaotic at the finish line so hopefully I didn't embarrass myself too much. The Perth City to Surf for me could not have been a better experience that I will remember for the rest of my life, it was everything I expected and more. I will definitely be back in 2014 for round two. The past week since City to Surf has been nothing short of fantastic! I almost feel like a new runner these days. I am really learning from past experiences and using that knowledge for the future. I think this is partly because I am scared of not being able to run, I am making a constant effort to make good decisions as far as my training goes and my rest and recovery.
|Finish line, all done!|
|Coming up the finishing chute|
|Enjoying the hills through Kings Park|
|It was really beautiful running alongside the Swan River with no cars on the road|
|Running through UWA|
Monday after the City to Surf Marathon involved my now traditional swim and spa recovery session which has been hugely beneficial for me. Tuesday was a nice 10km run with Liz and Kate which has now become a regular event, I especially look forward to this run (possibly the coffee and muffin afterwards is a drawcard). Wednesday was a 20km tempo run at Bold Park. I have been really enjoying running up here the last few weeks. It's a 20km circuit with over 500m vertical gain so a great place to train and also a good gauge of how training is progressing. Thursday was a massage with Nathan followed by a 10km run along the coast and a coffee and smoothie with our nieces Amitty and Piper. A new feature I've added into my week is pilates on Friday morning. I'm really starting to feel the benefits of the sessions and looking forward to seeing it continue to progress. Friday was where the fun for the weekend started. I planned on doing about 100km over the 3 day weekend starting with 20km out at Lesmurdie Falls N.P at night. I love night time running and it was great to be out there again. James ended up joining me for 10km which was nice for some company. Saturday morning was another early start as the plan was to meet James and Tom down south on the Bibbulmun Track near Mt Cooke. It's pretty much the hilliest part of WA near Perth so makes sense to utilise this awesome area. We ran 50km in a series of out and backs from where the car was parked. It was a really windy day but we got quite lucky with the weather as there wasn't much rain. The main focus of the weekend training was to ensure I woke up on Sunday morning feeling like I wasn't completely drained and on tired legs. I woke up on Sunday at 6am ready to throw my alarm clock at the wall as I felt like I needed more sleep. Then as I was laying there I thought about a line from a new book I had just started reading the night before from legendary ultra/trail/mountain runner Kilian Jornet saying something about not having your face on the sheets. I jumped out of bed all motivated and excited about hitting the trails again. The run started a little slow as I think I was still waking up but I soon got into the swing of things. It was 31km with some nice hills from Kalamunda to Mundaring Weir and back. It was one of those runs you do when you just can't stop smiling and loving being in the bush. Moments like these are why I run trails. It was just me, the birds and a few kangaroos bouncing around. It was so silent and peaceful that I stopped and walked for a moment. I was looking up into the trees hearing the birds sing and thinking how good this was. I would have taken a self portrait but I don't think the iPhone has a wide angle lens to get my oversized smile in. I hope to have many more moments like these during other runs. So, things have been going tremendously well and I feel I am progressing well towards the Great Ocean Walk 100km in October. The weekly totals were: Distance: 138.9km; Vert: 4880m gain; Hours: 12hr 42min.
|Me and Tom running off the top of Mt Cooke, it was as slippery as ice.|
|Tom and James climbing back up Mt Cooke|
|Nice singletrack along the ridgeline|
|Me running back up Mt Cooke|
|Tom and James working hard getting up Mt Vincent|
|Panorama on the top of Mt Vincent|
|Nice running through the forest section|
|Pretty windy so needed the hat backwards ;)|