Saturday, August 31, 2013

My world champs experience . . Not the one I was hoping for :-(

August 10, 2013
World Champs marathon, Moscow, Russia
Goal: Personal best marathon time (sub 2:28) and a good placing.

Result: Absolute disaster :-( I have never been in so much pain. Even during childbirth!!!

Here is my recap:
The week leading in to the race I felt great and so excited. All of my runs had been right on pace. My last set of 1km repeats were the fastest I had done, the last tempo felt very relaxed at 3.21min/km and I was ready!!! However on the Thursday afternoon before the race I went for an easy 40min run and during the run I had a strange stitch like pain on my left side. I thought it was because I had eaten lunch a little too close to running. I had been trying to simulate running at 2pm all that week as our race started at this time. However the pain did not get better and that evening was having trouble taking a deep breath. I went to the team physical therapist to get some treatment. I was a little worried but thought it would be fine by Saturday. However on Friday it was still the same and I was pretty worried. I tried to forget about it and just focus on the race and hoped it would not happen during the race.

Race day:
I woke up feeling pretty lethargic and still with the pain :-( Not a good sign before running a marathon, let alone the world champs marathon. However I put the pain and negative feelings out of mind and went to warm up. During the warm up I could tell something was not right. Just doing an easy jog my chest felt tight. I thought it was my bra so did a quick change before the start. I met up with Krista and Lanni in the call room. We had planned to work together as much as we could during the race which we were all excited about as we were all aiming for around 3.28min/km pace. 

From the warm up track we got bused to the stadium where the start of the marathon would be. Walking out into the stadium was a very awesome feeling and one that I wont forget. We lined up and bang we were off. After such a long and hard build-up it was a very surreal feeling those first few laps of the track to finally be racing in my goal race. I got in to a good rhythm and was feeling pretty good. I was surprised that my side was not bothering me but very happy. The first 5km were great and right on pace. However around 6km that little niggle in my side started to come back. All I could think was "NOT NOW"!! "PLEASE NOT NOW"!! By 8km I was in so much pain and breathing was both painful and very hard. It felt like I was breathing though a straw. I tried to remain positive and just hoped the pain would go away so I could pick back up the pace, however this did not happen. Everything just got worse and I got slower and slower. I ended up running so hunched over to try and relieve the pain. I stopped on many occasions to stretch my side and stomach. take deep breaths, push on the area . . . anything I could think of to try and get the pain away. I thought about pulling out every kilometre since 10km but I had worked so hard for this moment and even though it was not my day I wanted to enter that stadium and cross the finish line!! Also I knew that a lot of the girls were struggling with the heat so my goal and focus through the pain was to pick up as many places as I could. For me that was the most frustrating part. My body was so used to running in extreme heat and humidity that the temperature really did not bother me. I have run in far worse in Houston. The heat definitely wold have been to my advantage had my side and breathing not been a problem. 

From kilometre 10 to the finish is a bit of a blur. The remaining memory is pain and wishing the finish line would be closer. I entered the stadium barely being able to run. Not the finish I had imagined during all those long 30km runs pushing the pace and visualizing that finish line. I was very emotional after the race. Angry, sad, frustrated etc etc. It took me a few hours to come right. Breathing was pretty painful for a few days after. However after an evening of complaining and wishing things had happened differently (thanks Gabriel and Lucas for listening and putting up with me) I put things into perspective. In the end it is just running and just one race. There are far more important things in life and there will be other races and other opportunities to perform. 

The NZ sport doctor thought it was probably a virus that affected the lungs and breathing. And possibly a strained muscle. Not sure if this is what happened but I hope I never experience this again. The doctor suggested getting more tests done when I got back to Houston to make sure it was nothing more serious than a virus.  I have had an X-ray, ultrasound, and blood work done. Nothing really significant has shown up on any of these tests. I am still in a little discomfort when running but nothing like it was during the marathon.  My focus now is rehab and getting the side and stomach 100% right. I have started to run again and am slowly building both mileage and intensity but listening to my body and backing off when I need to.

On a much happier note I had a lovely couple of weeks in Moscow with the family. A much needed physical and mental break form running. Moscow and St Petersburg are lovely cities and I am so happy we got to visit these areas together.

Thank you to everyone who has supported me and for all your kind comments following the race. It really helps to receive encouraging messages and feedback.

I will update you again on my progress.

Happy running everyone.
I will finish with a few pictures from Russia

Very early on in the marathon . . Still feeling good here :-) With Lanni and Krista

Start of the marathon in the stadium

Watching the 10,000m and 100m final with the NZ team :-) 

Touring Moscow


Church of the spilt blood, St Petersburg

Enjoying mint tea and Russian honey cake :-)
Lucas practicing running in Moscow :-)
Lucas favorite park in St Petersburg
St Petersburg
Beautiful St Petersburg

Having fun in St Petersburg

1 comment:

  1. Congratulations on persevering through such an enormous pain and finishing this race! It wasn't your day for a PR but practiced extreme endurance instead. Awesome job! Nice race report with great photos.