On Sunday 16th October I completed my second marathon!!! Feels weird writing that as 18 months ago I was struggling to run parkrun.
Overall this was a much better experience than Gold Coast in July. The preparation was a little interrupted due to a calf and achilles strain so was feeling a bit apprehensive that I hadn’t done enough. But I was trying to trust my training and in some ways I think I felt more in control and more confident. I was much happier with this outcome and felt that I did more right than wrong this time around. However, there is still massive room for improvement.
The Right: The first 33km was run according to the race plan, although the first 5 was probably a little fast. I managed my nutrition and hydration better and had no ill effects (no staggering around or feeling sick). My belief in my capabilities was good for most of the race and I achieved the target I set.
The Wrong: The mental battle is still a struggle for me. At the 33km mark I could feel the self doubt creeping in and then I could feel the pain in my feet, then the wind was bothering me, then the bugs I was swallowing were annoying me. By 37km I completely lost all control and walked the majority of the kilometer. The negative self talk had started. I was consumed with worrying about what the coach was going to think, about letting him down, my family that were sitting waiting for me in the MCG, what would my friends and family think, oh god I’m going to fail again. It just went around and around in my head. And yes there were tears and tantrums happening as well. I totally lost confidence in myself and forgot about the plan.
The Right: Even though I struggle in my self-belief, I never doubted the wisdom of Brad or the belief he has in me. I’m not sure what happened but while walking, I started to think about everything Brad and I had talked about pre race and went back to basics. I got it together of sorts and while it wasn’t the pace that I wanted, it was still running. I managed to control my anxiety better than usual and finished strong.
I need to remind myself that I have a lot to be proud of. I started running when I was 54 and 18 months later I have completed 2 marathons. Yay me! I have a great coach and truly could never have done this without his patience and wisdom. He tells me often that he has done nothing it is all me. But the truth is it is a team effort and I am truly grateful. Discovering the joy of running (although at times it doesn’t seem like I enjoy it) has challenged me like nothing else has and in turn has had a huge positive impact on my life. I am healthier and happier than I have ever been and while at times it doesn’t seem like it, I also have much more confidence and self belief.