Today I will fill out the online entry form for the Gold Coast Marathon on 1 July. It’s 25 years since my last marathon, so I’m right out of my comfort zone. I ran Rotorua in 1993 in 4:09, about 35 minutes better than my only other marathon, Masterton 1983.
So why now? While I never stopped running, it became sporadice through the 1990s as I dealt with injuries and other ‘stuff’. Then a few years ago, I just fell in love with racing all over again – the challenge of training to a programme, the satisfaction of getting to race day uninjured, and the sheer joy of being part of a mass of similarly-minded runners – the excitement and sense of achievement. By now, PBs (Personal Bests) belong to the past – but I do try to stave off PWs! The marathon was the ultimate challenge, but I now have a long-term injury that needs to be nursed along (with the help of my osteopath!) – a very sensitive left sacro-iliac joint. But it’s not going to get better, so if I want to run another marathon, it will have to be now!
Having seen the posts for last year’s Gold Coast event on Facebook, I posted to my family that they might want to join me in one of the events – and have a family reunion at the same time. The uptake hasn’t been that great in terms of participation – but the reunion is on! (However, my Mum, who will be 89 by then, is doing the 5k, along with one brother. There’s a rumour that a niece is doing the half…)
I’ve decided that if I’m to get through this marathon, I need to take a ‘less is more’ approach. The ling Sunday runs are non-negotiable, but I’m only running two, maybe three, other days each week, including one quality hill or speed session. To compensate, I do one aquajogging session, and a stationary bike session, as well as some strength work-outs at the gym. And I’ve loaded “steps” app on my phone to ensure that I at least get to 6,000 steps per day – except maybe Mondays!
Will this work? It’s not a programme I’d recommend to anyone, but at 66 I just can’t run 5 or 6 days per week anymore without getting injured. So far, I’ve ‘achieved’ the distances I’ve set out to do on Sundays, even if there’s some walking over the last 5km. I set myself targets – a bit further each Sunday before I take a walk break, and then it’s 1 minute walk/7 minutes jog…. until that’s too hard and I switch to 2 minutes walk/6 minutes jog. I’m OK with this. I just have to put one foot in front of the other….
I’ll update further in future newslettters, and there will be posts on Facebook, just to keep you entertained!