Monday, 4 July 2011

Broken but not beaten

I sit writing this, with my daughter having a tea party(I've had several cups) in her fort (2 chairs with a blanket over the top) My legs & back ache,  beating myself up a little over Saturdays  Black Country Half Marathon.

The start point
Having looked forward to this for months & after the Lichfield Half Marathon time on 2:12. I was looking forward to beating that time & maybe the 2:09 in last year’s Wolves Half.

However coming off juneathon (Running & blogging for the 30 days of June)  I was nervous about this run, as I have some on-going injuries that I've been carrying for a few weeks The main one being my  Iliotibial band I've had to deal with shin splints & muscle injuries that I’ve pushed through on but this is something else. It started at the Aldridge 10k on the last mile. & then a couple weeks ago on a 9 mile run. The pain just started & I couldn't run.

However I was up for it, getting up early having my breakie, sorting all my things out. With the staggered start, I wasn't running till 11am, the better half & my little one dropped me off at about 10:20 with loads of time to stretch & get ready. (They were going to meet me in Brum at the finish) Chatting with a couple of people having a bit of banter before we set off eased me even more..

The start was fine I eased into my pace with no tension or aggravation. The weather was warm but I’ve run in warm temps so this didn't faze me at all.. The guy in front had set a nice steady pace so used him as my pace man!

I didn't see many mile markers, which was more of a help as if I don’t know how far I gone then I don’t know how far is left. There were a couple in spray paint but not for every mile. The main markers were at mile 3, 6, 9 & 12 where there were barges moored up offering energy drinks (A welcome treat) or water. 

Mile 4 saw the 360yard run through a nearly pitch black tunnel, with the only light coming from torches, Not the safest of sections but the.

I hadn’t been troubled by my knee, but that was still to come. Running on the towpaths was fine; however at between miles 5-6 we had to cross the bridge so as soon as my leg started to go up the incline I had a massive pain go through my knee. My I.T. Band went bang.  (Something like ripping a tooth out) It did make me go sick with pain.

I decided to walk a little to try & ease the pain, which helped somewhat, but the real damage my mentally as I just let all the negativity in and just felt battered. I was feeling the heat the tiredness. I’d taken my SIS gel & sweets but the fatigue I was feeling was hard to get through. Once I’d stopped it becomes a start stop run till the end.

Mile 7 ½ - 9 was just so, running for a few minutes then a 30 second walk then running again. I changed from the podcasts to music to see if this would improve my motivation and get me back up & running.

Sometimes the mental fatigue is worse than physical, if my knee wasn’t hurting so much then my pace would have been there, but every step was hard.  


From mile 9 till 12 I passed people then they passed me then I passed them. There was some good banter between us all. That seemed to keep us all going! Even the sight of someone walking towards us with a winners medal did not detour us, i t actually spurred me on. The two RAF girls who I’d been chatting to earlier come past keeping a steady pace. They surged on, whilst I plodded.

Smiles because I can see my girls cheering me on
As I neared the bridge the marshal was holding a sign 12.5 miles ……..”YES only a little while further to go” I pushed on. My spirit felt revived in the distance I could hear a crowd, cheers sounded along the canal, then in the distance I  could see a large crowd gathered shouting encouragement to the runners , think about my partner & daughter waiting for me, gave me  a massive lump in my throat. It took a lot of energy not to let the emotion out. (There were lots of people there) but as I came closer to the crowd I noticed the better half & my daughter waving cheering me on this nearly made me go again. (You can see from joy of seeing them in the picture) Getting a high five from my daughter I finally crossed the finish line in a time of 2:27:18. Race results 
some of the runners who kept me going
Santa who my little one was excited to see
RAF girls who passed me by
Nowhere near what I wanted but with the factors against me, not as bad as it could be, I did think that this would end with me Tweeting “BLACK COUNTRY HALF MARATHON DNF” However that wasn’t to be so my third half marathon has been completed. I will now sit back & hang-up up my runners for a few weeks, Give my knees time to heel. The Wolves Half is September 4th so we’ll see what happens then.

Battered but it's all over!
Many thanks to all the people who tweeted & FB's me well wishes! Just remember that I'm raising money for Macmillan nurses! So giz a quid!
Virgin Money Giving | Fundraising | Ian Maullin's fundraising page

Some great pics from Brian Smith photography & chrisyoungphotos, I have not had permission to use the photos but if you enjoy them then please make a purchase.

The Route of Pain (Endomondo)

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