Posts Tagged Half Marathon

Run Till You’re Sick

“Running the miles, pretty damn quick. Run through the wilds. Run till you’re sick”

(Going To Mexico, Motörhead, from the album “Aftershock”)

I have finished my six weeks in running purgatory (See “Too Fit To Run” 5/4/14) and visited a new cardiologist, one who looks fit, has Tour de France athletes on his books and seems to understand the concept of exercise. I passed my follow up heart test which means that, as my fitness level drops, my heart rate comes back into the “normal” range. Apparently there is “normal” and there is “normal”. Unfortunately my “normal” is closer to the “needs a pacemaker” kind of normal. But for now I can run again.

In order to try and keep my heart under control I have been put on a modified program of two weeks hard running, two weeks moderate running, two weeks no running, for 18 weeks (three cycles). Then I have a heart stress test and repeat heart monitor assessment. If all is good I assume that will be my foreseeable future. If all is not good then it’s back to the drawing board.

And I am allowed to run a marathon because I don’t have any myocardial scarring. The cardiologist was quite disparaging about my previous marathon result. Apparently, if it takes me four hours to complete a marathon, then I am not running nearly hard enough to damage my heart.

I guess that’s good news but I don’t think I will take up that particular challenge, at least not this year. After six weeks off I feel understandably sluggish and slow. I dare say that will all improve reasonably rapidly but, for now, I think I will confine myself to half marathons and see what happens.

Dr. F. Bunny

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Marathon Man(iac)

Now that I have had time to think about it, and my various aching body parts have had time to become slightly less aching, I wish to recant my comment on the “Marathon Man” post. I am in a big rush to do it again. I feel that I have unfinished business.

True, my first goal: to finish the marathon, was reached. However, my second goal, finishing under four hours, was not achieved (4 hrs, 8 min, 57 sec). What’s worse, for the first time in a race, despite giving it everything I had, I feel that I could have done better. While I finished strongly in the half marathon I all but fell over the line at the end of the marathon. Had I prepared properly, bitten the bullet and gone on those 30+ km training runs my body may have been better prepared to withstand the buffeting it received. Even as late as the 40 km mark I could still have got under the magic four hours, if things hadn’t fallen completely apart.

Over the previous months I had been making slow but steady progress. By gradually increasing the distance from 5 km to 10 km to 15 km and finally to 21 km (the half marathon) the runs ceased to be a painful struggle but something that could be enjoyed and accomplished with relative ease. Jumping from my previous longest run of 24 km all the way to 42 km was always destined to be doomed to failure. But I did not want to put in the work or the effort. During the marathon I saw a friend of mine running with what looked to be very little fuss and bother, but then he spent numerous weeks in the lead up running 30-35 km every Sunday. The result? He finished in 3 hrs, 10 min.

I should feel proud of my achievement, and I do, but something still nags and gnaws at me, something unfulfilled. The prospect of doing it all again, including the much more rigorous training program, certainly seems daunting at the moment and only time will tell if I decide to have another crack or leave it all to lie where it fell and move on to my next bizarre challenge (climbing Mt. Kilimanjaro, I think).

Dr. F. Bunny

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