My first marathon (Aug 2017) and my 50 km run (June 2018) both went without a hitch. Melbourne Marathon Sunday 14 October 2018 was a bit more humbling.
- At 25 km, it was hot and my throat felt like it was closing, and I had trouble getting enough oxygen. I had chest pains for a minute, with a heartrate spike of 195. I had to do walk/run/walk/run to finish the marathon, and couldn’t talk without the throat constriction happening.
- I had to walk in an event and I’ve always prided myself on never needing to walk.
- I wanted to prove in an official, big marathon, I was better than average, but I finished 1552 of 1826 women. 114 of 145 in my Age Group.
- Digestion was fine beforehand, and then only needed the loo at 20 km.
- Fuelling and hydration were great. Also tipped water on my head every 3 km drinks station.
- I knew when to walk when necessary.
- I took a nice photo of my club friends, Caroline and Carolyn.
- I got to run the F1 Albert Park circuit and take a selfie in pit straight.
- A man with a below-knee prosthesis passed me after that and I thought it was so cool l quickly took a picture.
- I had an awesome weekend away in the city on my own with only a couple of anxiety pains, when a few years ago I’d never dreamed I’d do anything like this.
- I was a 29-year smoker and 35 kg overweight 4.5 years ago, and have come a long way.
- Met up with lots of running friends I’ve made since starting running & parkrun 3 years ago.
- Ambrosia-like handful of jelly beans from a spectator at 26 km that kept me amused for 4 km.
- There were all ages, genders, and sizes around me near the back of the pack.
- 13% didn’t finish at all! I feel sorry for them, but that makes me feel luckier.
- Talked with a Spartan at 36 km (he’d run MelbMara 10 times) and he was saying we were doing well in the heat.
- At 32 km, a spectator offered me Minties. The motto is “At moments like these, you need Minties”. Of course I said yes. And I enjoyed that Mintie till I finished it just before the end.
- I didn’t need First Aid!
- I f*&%ing finished my third marathon!
The doctor I saw about my marathon “episode” said she didn’t think it was exercise-induced asthma / bronchioconstriction. Probably just one of those things in marathons when you push your body to its limits. Long run, high heart rate spike, needing lots of oxygen, hot conditions, no shade. She said to just see if it happens again on a 30ish km run in the cool, and if so, she’d refer me to a sports clinic.
But a once-off like this sounded like my body’s fairly normal reaction to tough conditions at the time. If it was asthma, I wouldn’t have breathed easier after walking a minute or two.
I learned a lot this time. Looking forward to doing a Winter marathon next time!
The final words go to mention that through all of this, I knew I was kicking off a 24 hour relay “Run For Dennis (aka KeepRunningFatboy)” with My Fitness Pal friends and needed to run for about 5 hours to fill my slot. Dennis Ley ran over 25 marathons in his inspiring life that was cut short in August.
I had to keep running.