When I toyed with the idea of running Melbourne back in June, honestly it stemmed from the slight bummerama aftertaste from missing my second sweet n’ sublime sub-5 finish by a mere, cruel 29 seconds at the immensely gorgeous Vancouver Marathon in May.
Started training using a brand-new 18-week programme in late June, which had me doing 4 runs—Tuesday intervals, Thursday tempos, and a mix of a shorter LSD plus a longer one on Saturday and Sunday—and 2 CrossFit sessions weekly with only one day of rest on Wednesdays.
This may sound like a LOT on paper, but two weeks into it I got into the groove and really enjoyed training even though some days felt like I was dragging a dead body along in my running gear.
Anyway, the weekend before Ramadhan I did a hilly 12K night race with a fever in my system and whaddya know… This stressed my muscles so much that I somehow picked up an injury on my upper left leg.
|That's what my weekly running log looked like—absolutely zero runs from 1st to 24th August|
Rested for three days before cramming three runs in three days after that, my version of a big bang before welcoming the first day of the fasting month. The pain in my adductor and hamstring had, by this time, moved to my left quads and I decided to rest further.
But us runners can never be held down, not even with an injury. I continued my training the following week, just running through the pain. This was a-okay at first, but after two weeks the soreness had intensified and my physio demanded me to cease my running.
What was supposed to be a week-long rest eventually became a three-week hiatus just two months before the marathon and I was crushed. Bummerama slowly crept back into my mental, and my morale hit rock bottom.
There goes my dream of a 4:30-ish finish.
Heck, I wasn’t even sure that I could even complete the whole 26.2 miles.
At this point, I was cursing at myself for signing up.
It was the eve of the Melbourne Marathon. As I gathered all my chosen ammunitions for the impending “battle” the following day, I thought to myself, “What the heck am I doing? My head is heavy, my nose is runny, my body temperature is higher than normal.
Gee, as if the three-week absence from running in August wasn’t challenge enough. Hmm, let’s bring along the spare 21K bib that I have… just in case.”
|Still can't believe I managed to brainwash Azhar aka Superhuman to do |
an on-the-spot registration for the Full Marathon during racepack collection ;)
|My acclimatisation run in Melbourne at the gorgeous |
Koonung Creek Trail. Little did I know that I was gonna pick up
a flu bug that night, just 50 hours before flagoff :/
After everything was all packed, I downed some flu meds with Berocca and went to bed. Not unlike other nights before a race, I could not get a decent shut-eye and the next thing I knew, it was time to get up.
It was a chilly morning, and slight drizzles greeted us outside the door. Thankfully, the sky cleared up once we approached the Melbourne Cricket Ground aka The ‘G, the location of bag dropoff and, more importantly, our finishing gantry.
I felt surprisingly calm that morning, and tried my best to reassure Mini that she’d do alright in her very first cold-weather race. Made sure I went to the loo en route to the starting line—always good to get this out of the way before flagoff. While waiting for the start I did my stretches thoroughly from head to toe, making sure that all the muscles in my body were thoroughly warmed up; something I had never done properly in my last five Marathons.
Before we knew it, “Advance Australia Fair” was being sung and off we went shortly after, along with about 7,000 other 42K contenders (turns out that Mini and I were part of history; with 6,218 finishers, the 2012 Medibank Melbourne Marathon is the largest in Australia to date!)