GCAM 17, part 3, post race 🏁

Crossing the finish line was the greatest moment of my day. I was exhausted but happy, I had finished a tough race, and in what I thought was a good time. Walking through the finish area I was unsure what to do for a brief moment, but following the other runners I saw the signs for t-shirts and medal collection. Ah, the moment I have been waiting for. Bling! One reason we love to do races. Thanking the girl I walked into the tent and collected my shirt, oh my it’s beautiful. I had seen others wearing their and they looked fantastic.
I took off my pack and lay on the grass for a few minutes, soaking in the sun, and having more drinks. After 5 minutes I wandered off outside the main area to do some stretches in the peace and quiet. And then it hit me. I got up and almost immediately sat on the ground, head between my legs, then I had to lay down, head spinning, my gut churning. Wait a few minutes and try another stretch. Message my husband. Walk a few metres and have to sit down again. Oh shit, I need the toilet, where is it, oh no, head is spinning…Somehow I found my way back to the baggage tent where, with head spinning and body all hot and cold, I collapsed on the ground and curled up in the foetal position. I could feel that fainting feeling, my head was about to blow off, my body couldn’t decide if it was hot or cold, and my gut wanted to burst out of my bladder (the problem I thought lay in not going to the toilet before the start of the race).
A few minutes went past and the ladies inside the tent came over and asked if I needed help. I think I nodded and mumbled a yes I did want help. The next half hour or so went in a blur, of jackets lain over me, tin foil wrap, the medic taking my blood pressure and sugar levels, sipping water, shivering like no tomorrow despite blankets,and my head not knowing if it was spinning or not.
The decision was made to get me into a wheel chair and head over to the main medical tent. We went via the porta loo where I managed to do nothing at all bar a small wee. Disappointed to the max. And my gut still hurt. The ‘best’ part of the trip was having to cross the highway – marathon runners and cheering crowds to boot – in a wheelchair wrapped in tin foil, skin white a ghost. That could have been embarrassing but you know what, I was feeling like shit and with that many people it was bound to happen to some. I very elegantly (not) laid on a stretcher and was surrounded by eager medics.
In the eigtheen months I have been running the only time I have come close to feeling like this, is after my very first half marathon where I knew nothing of recovery, race hydration and the like. Boy have I learnt a lot since then. It makes all the difference to your performance for the whole day.
I’m starting to feel better after two bananas and a bottle of water. I call my husband and have a chat then ask I feel I can head off. I’ve walked around, my head is not spinning any more and I’m not running hot and cold. Given I was there on my own I was advised to take it slowly so I didn’t keel over while driving.
My husband and I had agreed that I had major anxiety over the being late issue and after letting me run the race my body had gone into shock once I’d finished. It did take the fun out the afternoon for me, but I was happy that I had survived and done this amazing thing.
I wandered slowly back along to cross the road, and finally being able to use the loo was interrupted by the phone ringing. Not now, really…. the lady in the stall next door chuckles and has to listen to my phone til gives up. Talk about bad timing. I have a quick chat to my eldest son and message the other one as I cross the road back again and go looking for the car.
This is where things went bad again.
Away from the waterfront the heat was stifling, it was just past 12 and there was no breeze. I’m wandering along the street looking for the car and cannot see it anywhere. Now I know I was in a panic when I parked but I also know I was only one block back from the course. I was in the right street, just not far enough across. I say down on some steps to think, and hope like hell I didnt have to ring my friends and say I’d lost their car. No, I hadn’t lost the car, just gained them a parking fine for stopping in a loading zone. Shit. Not as bad as I had thought it would be.
Hoping to find a maccas or something on the way home was not to be and I certaintly wasn’t going to tempt fate and make a detour. I made it back up the mountain to my friend’s house without any further directional difficulties. Noting that one was home and feeling glad for a minute, I stripped off, climbed into bed and promptly fell asleep. An hour later I wake feeling somewhat better, and stumble into the shower. Omg. That is fantastic, hot, good pressure and soapy. I stand there for what feels like an eternity before drying off and cooking up Vegemite toast. Just what I needed. By then I was starving, although with a slight headache still. I head upstairs where I’m asked, after the how’d the race go, if I wanted to head out for a drink. No alcohol for me but a bowl of sweet potato fries filled the spot. Back home and I head back to bed before dinner.
After dinner I have a long soak in a radox bath before packing my bags and catching yet another early night ready for my trip home. I wake at 4.45 for a 5.15 trip to the train station and notice that for the third time the pillow has a lovely wet patch on it. You know the kind of deep sleep where you wake having drooled on the pillow – yep, that was me three times in 24hrs after my race. I had been exhausted in more ways than just the physical and I must admit I woke on that Monday morning feeling of refreshed and ready to go.

In the time between my first and second nap I browsed Facebook and saw the times had already been posted on their website…ooh, how exciting, lets check out what I achieved….I must say I was plesaently surprised. After what I thought was an ok time turned out to be an awesome time. My chip time was only a few minutes over my previous PB. So to say I was happy is an understatement. I was excited. It wasn’t as bad as all that. The pain of the post run struggle was worth it. It may not have been a new pb (I knew it wouldn’t be by the half way point) but it was well within reach of my other times. 2.27.50!


The time above is the gun time, which I’m still pretty happy with, and the other time is what comes on my itab, and whati am saying it did it in. After all, it took that 9minutes to get from my start to the actual start.

It’s been a good week and a half since my trip to GCAM but already feels like a life time past. In that time I have moved house and continued my usual 9-10hr a day job. So much happens each day that I feel like it is old news already.
The things I learn t along the way on this race are many and varied.
– be more prepared and check out the timing of travel (airport transfers to start with)
– get there earlier to make sure I know where I am going on race day.
– stay closer to the race precinct.
– take my husband with me.
– all of the above.
– relax and breathe more during a race.
– drink more during a race – despite not feeling so bad, it was a lot hotter than what I have been used to so was mildly dehydrated at the end.

Stay safe, run with fun and enjoy your races, jennifer

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GCAM 17 part 2, the race

I get to my corral and, feeling a moment of relief, settle for what feels like half a second to catch my breath. Still feeling a little panicked and out of breath I take off my jacket, and yank on the tutu, all a little too fast to be comfortable.  Tying the jacket to the back of my pack I pull it on, making sure it’s fitting in all the right places.  Some guy sees the bottles and says “no jet packs allowed” I laugh back at him and say “I wish” before he disappears into the crowd.
The announcer has moved the elites off and we patiently wait for room to walk forward. There are so many ahead of me and by now I have calmed down enough to take a good mouthful of drink, shake out my body and gather my thoughts for the race ahead. I get my phone ready for tracking and make sure my sunnies are secure in their pocket before taking a pre race selfie and picture of the pack ahead of me.
We’re moving slowly forward and I’m in the last corral – which is the 2.20 and above time group – so it’s a good 5 mins before a cheer goes up from ahead and we can start a slow jog. We cheer and holler as we go under the arch waving at the crowds along the road.

My plan for this race has changed numerous times and by the time I head through the starting arch it has came back to ‘simply finish and enjoy myself’. I cruise along, not thinking too much about anything except not tripping heels in front and being courteous to those behind me. It takes several kilometres before the crowd starts to thin and I can run with a bit more space to myself. I’m so used to running ‘free’ I was almost claustrophobic with the crowds. Almost but not quite.
While it was not on purpose I was happy that there was no volume on my phone to give me distance and stats, I just wanted to run and enjoy the day. That being said, the first 5k took forever, and I started to lag. I could feel a blister forming on my left foot, some chaffing on the inner thigh and my hydration pack had a kink somewhere near my underarm that just wouldn’t fold flat. After a few goes of trying to sort it out I gave up and figured I’d just take whatever it gave me. It couldn’t get any worse than what I had just gone through.  After two weeks of no activity I was worn out, sluggish with lead legs, and every turn we went round I was hoping to see the 10k turn point.
That point came when I least expected it and I was pleasantly surprised with the time on the board. I can do 10km in around 60-66 mins so when I saw it was around 75, it gave me hope. Add another reason to hold back the tears. After the bad start to my day I had been holding back tears of both disappointment and absolute joy at being there. It was kind of surreal, I had spent so long training for this and looking forward to it, I couldn’t quite believe I was actually there.
I kept cruising, avoiding the toilet lines and moving aside at the drink stations, (I had my own after all), waving and cheering out to the spectators. The crowds certainly kept my spirits up, and with the thought of husband with me I was able to keep those ‘negative nelly’ feelings at bay.
I was starting to wane shortly after the 12km mark with my knee also starting to jiggle. I made the decision to walk where I needed to and not push too much, my goal of finishing being foremost in my head.
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From here on in, I fought back the tears on more than one occasion, and aimed to collect as many high fives as I could. I spotted one camera guy just in time thanks to the girl in front of me doing a wave and ‘V’ with her hand – and my picture shows me looking happy and strong – something I’ve worked hard at achieving.


By the time 19kms came about I was really struggling, taking the race one km at a time, limping a little, walking where needed and still, holding back the tears.
The hardest part, which was also the best was the last full kilometre. So many people, so many cheers and high fives, and finally, turning the corner to see the most fantastic sight….the arch with ‘250m to go’ and the crowd that gathers in the final 100metres…incredible!

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I have never been so happy in a race as I did at that point*. Trying not to limp too much, I’m head down, bum up, legs moving, no energy for any kind of sprint, trying to smile and not cry, crossing the line and subsequently forgetting all about smiling and giving the air high fives.
Seeing my time of 2.36 and I’m over the moon. Not only did I finish, but in a time much quicker than I had expected given my lead legs.

 

To be continued….

*a small lie, finishing my marathon was up there with the happiest I’ve felt in a race.