Saturday, November 30, 2013

Race Day

Well before I start my blog today, I need to make a confession.  Yesterday one of my colleagues who recently had dengue fever, tracked me down to say he wasn't feeling well enough start the half marathon and wondered if I might like his entry.  Would I???  YES I really would - thank you so much Nick.  It was such a relief as I really wasn't prepared to run the full marathon and one should really respect the marathon distance.

So it was with rather light feet this morning that I jumped out of bed at 4.30 am and sat down in front of the telly to watch the 5am marathon start whilst I enjoyed my banana and large mug of peppermint tea.

The taxi arrived at 5.30am which took myself and another one of my work colleagues, Jeremy, who lives in the same condo, to the start line at Sentosa.  Given the early start there wasn't much traffic on the road and we arrived at the start-line at 5.37am for a 6.30 am start.  Oh dear.  However, there are benefits in arriving at the start line early, especially when there are 22,000 other half marathon runners also lining up - a great starting position.

But before we knew it the starting gun went and we were off.  I held my breath for a while wondering if the ITB and the archillies tendonitis might play up but things were feeling pretty good.  I had my last run on Tuesday followed by a really good hard massage to stretch out the ITB so the legs were feeling well rested.  It was also a fairly cool morning for Singapore - so great running conditions:

I had decided the absolute best I could hope for would be to keep to the same pace going for the whole distance and keep to what I had been doing in training - run for 8 minutes and walk for 2 minutes - I had my garmin set to buzz every 8 mins and again 2 mins later so that I didn't need to keep checking the time.  This worked really well and I was excited to go through the 8km mark in 1 hour (the exact pace that I managed on really good training days given the heat and humidity).  The route was very scenic and even wound its way through Universal Studios where I managed to get a few snaps:

To be honest the kilometres flew by and I went through the 16km mark in exactly 2 hours so was still on pace - I had downloaded some awesome Christmas music to listen to on the way - and was having so much fun that I realised I was singing along out loud and was not in the least bit worried that no-one else could hear what I was listening to.

At the 18 km mark the marathon runners merged with the half marathon runners and it did get very congested (given there were 16,000 in the marathon race and 22,000 in the half marathon) but nothing could dampen my enjoyment and realisation that I was almost finished.

Just before the finish line 'the kids dash' was starting and Morag's kids, Sam and Isla, were taking part along with over 4000 other kids so I was keeping my eye out for them - that race started 750 metres from the finishing line.  In total more than 54,000 took part in one of the race day events so you can imagine the craziness at the end.

I crossed the finish line in 2.35 minutes so had picked up the pace a bit in the second half (what a well paced run).  I really had an absolute blast - enjoying every minute.  I don't even feel the slightest bit guilty that I didn't do what I had set out to do which was run the marathon.  Sometimes plans need to change as things don't always go the way we intended.   Sam and Isla were very proud of their efforts as well:

I am inspired now to build on the training I have done to date and will get ready for the Triathlon season which starts here in February - I have to see if I can improve on my third placing in my age group - lots to look forward to. 

Before signing off today I want to say a special thanks to Sue Dorman for her wonderful coaching - she always goes with the flow for which I am very grateful.  See you in Auckland soon Sue!    Also I hope that Nick (whose race number I borrowed) likes the finishing photos - I definitely beamed at every photo opportunity!

Saturday, November 23, 2013

7 Sleeps to go

With only 7 sleeps to go to the Singapore marathon, I have been reflecting back to the first marathon I ever took part in almost 30 years ago - it was the Rotorua marathon and I was scared to death!  

I had joined the Auckland YMCA marathon club a few months prior and turned up bright and early every Sunday morning to join their build up to the Rotorua event. I remember one of their 20 mile runs which went out to the airport and back from the central city and I was so exhausted afterwards I despaired at the thought of having to run a further 10kms on marathon day.  Then the night before the marathon there was a dreadful storm with hail and high winds and I sat crying in the bathroom wondering what had possessed me to sign up to such an event and what was I thinking having told people about it - now I had to start!  It really was a monumental moment as I had been a couch potato for most of my life prior to entering the marathon.  Unfortunately by morning the weather hadn't  changed and I lined up at the start of the marathon with a rubbish bag over me to protect me from the hail stones and high winds.  And then we were off. It felt quite surreal.  I plodded along in the dreadful weather conditions and did ok until the 32km mark (3 hours 30 minutes) and then hit the wall as we all hear about.  It took me an hour and 41 minutes to wade the last 10km to the finish - but you couldn't wipe the beaming smile off my face for days to come despite the awful stiffness that plagued me the following week.  It was a huge milestone for me.   A few months later I ran a 4 hour 12 marathon in Hamilton and went on to do a number of other marathons including London and New York - what a great way to see a city and one day I will break that 4 hour mark (but not next week).

So nearly 30 years on I still don't know what possessed me to enter this event as the marathon distance really takes its toll - I haven't had a great build up but there are many years of miles in the bank and many lessons learned along the way.  I have also had the great pleasure to run in many cities in the world, London, New York, Denver, Chicago, Washington, Tokyo, Hong Kong, Sydney, Wellington and Auckland, so I guess it makes sense at some strange level to line up and take part in one of the biggest events in Singapore along with nearly 25,000 others.  

The Singapore marathon starts at 5am next Sunday 1 December (that's 10am NZ time).  I guess there are only a few things left to do - both these little gems seem appropriate today...


Until next week.....

Saturday, November 16, 2013

Countdown is on

Monsoon season has arrived and every morning there is massive thunder and lightning which has me pull the sheet over my head, roll over and go back to sleep - I will head out training in most weather but not lightening.   On Tuesday I had got 4 Kms down the road when the thunder and lightening started so needed to get home as quickly as possible to avoid a lightening strike.  The other life threatening challenge being faced here at the moment is an outbreak of Dengue fever - my boss was hospitalised with it earlier in the week - here is the notice in our neighbourhood reminding us about it:

So despite the challenges there is still a marathon to run.  This week I wondered whether my running shoes may be contributing to the running injuries being experienced so I headed out to running lab which is similar to shoe science in NZ to see what I could find.   The first pair of shoes I tried on felt amazing so despite never having run in this particular brand I headed home with them - amazingly they match my camelbak perfectly :)

Its not perfect buying new shoes 2 weeks out from the marathon but the way things were going it was unlikely I would make the startline - so I figure there is nothing to lose by trying new shoes.

This morning I headed out for my last long training session - 3-3.5 hours was the aim.  I wanted to eat breakfast this morning as a trial as there is no way I want to start a marathon without breakfast.  I am still eating Paleo and love this - I have it every morning.  1 apple and then a handful of each of these nuts, seeds, goji berries and coconut - into the blender and then a topping of Greek yoghurt - yum - nutritious and delicious!

Once I had eaten and loaded myself up with all it that I take with me (who knew you needed so much gear) - hat, sweatband, camelbak, iPod , iPhone, garmin, money and waistband to carry my chocolate gu):

I headed off towards Mt Faber which offers a great running trail to Kent Ridge.  Here are some pictures I took along the way:

As always I did have a bathroom stop - wow talk about the call of nature - look at this awesome bathroom I found along the trail - definitely worth a photo!

The new shoes were feeling good and pain levels from injuries was about a 3/10 so not really enough to complain about.  I walked and jogged for 3 hours 20 mins only covering 23 Kms but I finished the same distance 15 mins faster than last week.  I am definitely ready for a half marathon but as we all know I am signed up for the full marathon.  I am hoping one of the guys at work who is doing the half marathon changes his mind so I can take his spot!  The training miles are now all in the bank and its time now to rest up and freshen the legs up a bit - now I am heading off for a 60 minute massage.

Friday, November 8, 2013

Looking out a different window

There is a saying I once heard 'If you don't like the view then look out another window' and that is what I am doing this week.  Another visit to the chiropractor suggested that I won't be running the marathon in 3 weeks time - I have tendonitis in both archillies and the ITB injury is still causing pain.  As a result I have decided to 'take time to smell the roses' and walk the event.  No more complaining from me about aches and pains and slow running times - I thought this roadside sign that I saw was very apt! 

So I decided to go on a bit of an exploring  adventure this morning which took me through 'Gardens by the Bay' - I am ashamed to say that in the 13 months I have been in Singapore I have never been there despite the Gardens  being less than 5km from my front door.  It is gorgeous. 

I then decided to head up the East Coast and try to find a crossing back over the river rather than walk out an hour and 45 mins and then turn back and as luck (or perseverance) would have it I found a way across the river and wound my way back into the city.  The joys of taking time out to explore!

As I headed home I walked into hundreds of tourists watching the dragon boat racing on the river although I am sure they didn't stay watcing for long as the heavens opened and the rain came pouring down which was a great pleasure for me having walked for more than 3.5 hours in the 32 degree heat.

So although I haven't completed any 32 km runs (or walks) which I would normally have done about three times before a marathon event I am just going to head out on the day and see how things go.  I have another 3.5 hour training walk/run scheduled next week before I start 'tapering off' to freshen up the legs before 1 December and will look forward to another opportunity to explore a bit further.

In the meantime here is my new roller which is supposed to do wonders for ITB injuries - I will keep you posted.

Saturday, November 2, 2013

3 hour run today

With the stress of Soph having been so sick this week and the ongoing pain of my ITB injury there hasn't been much training going on.  There are now only 4 weeks remaining until the marathon on 1 December and despite desperate attempts to switch to the half marathon the race organisers aren't having a bar of it - they tell me its against the race rules and then send me the link to the race rules - I haven't got the time or the inclination to read them.

So this morning I decided there was nothing else to do but strap on the camelbak and running shoes and head out the door.  The run time scheduled on my training plan today was 3 hours and given the injury I decided to be even more cautious than I usually am - so for the first hour I walked 8 mins and then ran for 2 mins.  There wasn't too much pain being experienced so during the second hour I lifted the pace slightly and then did the same again for the third hour - finally I was back to running 8 mins and walking 2.  

The other interesting observation is that the fat adaption continues as I am still enjoying the real food I eat on paleo - I didn't eat breakfast before I left for my run this morning and I didn't get hungry while I was out.  I took 1.5 lites of electrolyte with me and also bought a litre of water while I was out - that helped to wash down the 2 chocolate gu's that I had at 40 minute intervals starting after I had been out for an hour and 40 mins.

I also decided that given the amount of time I needed to be on my feet I would to explore parts of the city that I haven't covered before and I attach some photos I took along the way - similar views but taken from different angles.

I was finally relieved to arrive back home with my watch showing that I had been out for 3 hours exactly- however, only 22 Kms was covered - goodness me - ar this rate I will be out for 6 hours on marathon day - I will need to take a packed lunch!

Friday, November 1, 2013

A week I hope will never repeat!

Well things weren't so bright last week but they were about to get a whole lot worse.  For those of you who know me well you will know that I always imagine the worst possible outcomes to situations especially if my gorgeous girl gets sick but even I hadn't imagined what would eventuate this week.

I mentioned last week that Soph had got the chickenpox - hers turned out to be one of the worst cases that the Doctor had seen.  The older you get the worse it is.  By Tuesday her temperature was 39 and the spots were raging everywhere - her gums, ears, head and entire body - even her hands and feet - the Doctor said there was no way she could sit any of her remaining 3 exams and I suspect the message was received with a mixed reaction given all the work that had gone into preparing for the exams but also balancing that was the realisation that she couldn't study or get out of bed to attend an exam.   

On Wednesday she was having trouble standing up and I wondered if it was due to her ongoing low levels of iron.  Then her spots started turning black.  Thankfully one of her wonderful friends took her into the hospital where she was admitted.  Her resting heart rate was 168 and an ultrasound of her heart showed the valves had collapsed.  She was so severely dehydrated that she needed 4 litres of fluid pumped into her.  If she hadn't gone to the hospital when she did she was told she would have gone unconscious and her kidneys would have begun to fail.  

While all this went on I was quite unaware of how serious things had become.   Soph had called me to say that she was just going to get her spots checked at the hospital and then that she was being admitted overnight but neither she or I had any clue as to how serious things were.  Although I guess in hindsight you don't get admitted to hospital these days unless things aren't looking good.  

A number of times I have wanted to jump on a plane home (as any parent would) but Soph has been adamant that I don't come as I have not had the chickenpox and she says she couldn't cope if she thought she could pass it on to me.  So I have had to stay close to my phone so we can skype morning and night and text during the day - thank goodness for technology.

The good news is that Soph was given medical clearance to fly home to Auckland today where she is now tucked up safely with grandparents hovering around.  I am hoping now that she can rest up without worrying about exams and packing up her Otago flat for the year that she will get her energy back up.  Oh and plenty of fluids!!

Here is a picture I took of her whilst we were Skyping once she was released from the hospital.

Before signing off I want to give a big shout out to Soph's wonderful school friend, Olivia Harland, who went above and beyond this week with the incredible care she provided my gorgeous girl - she stayed by her side for hours on end despite needing to sit her own exams - Olivia, I will be forever grateful - and Soph, its so good to know you are now home safe and sound - 7 weeks and counting till I will be home with you xxx