Date: 13 October
I can’t help but wonder when I will line up at the start of an event again feeling just half prepared, and not physically in a bad way (stressed out, migraine, anxious, niggles everywhere, you get the gist). All this comes down to daily life. It’s tough isn’t it? When you have a million things to do every day and you’re always behind schedule, it just gets on one’s nerves and causes all sorts of problems.
All my posts of late sound a bit like a broken record, but I was yet again questioning why I run at all at the moment. I can’t seem to get myself organised enough to do everything I want to. We don’t have the time to train so we half-arse all events, my niggles turn into injuries and there just isn’t the time to work on my strength and mobility as much as I’d like to.
These past few years I have dedicated a lot of time on writing a thesis. I’m more of a practical kind of person who would rather do things than sit and think about things. Formalising words and thoughts into a coherent manner is a challenge for me, but I feel compelled to set uncomfortable goals for myself, and so took the plunge and registered for the degree. Needless to say, it took quite a bit of effort and time to get the thesis to the point where it can be submitted for examination. This glorious moment happened on the Sunday at 10pm right after this event. Yep, on a Sunday and on the 13th no less.
Looking at my FB or Insta accounts, or spotting us out on a run, gives a totally warped picture. Yes, we attended the Centre Road Champs for a couple of hours, but on the way there and back, I was working on my thesis. Yes, we went to the Kris Kristofferson concert in Wellington the Friday before. Did I work all the way to Wellington and back? You betcha. Arriving in the middle of the night only to have to get up early to get going again. Yes, we watched Kipchoge run a marathon in 1:59.40.2 which was one of the greatest moments in running history, only to have to work up to the minute they started and again right after they finished. And yes, we ran the Wairarapa Country half marathon, again with me working all the way to there and back, take a shower and keep going. From the outside, it might look like we’re having a normal life and doing all these lovely things, but truth be told, I didn’t appreciate any of it. There wasn’t any time to ponder what we’ve seen or experienced as my mind was constantly consumed by this mammoth endeavour that took over my whole life, especially in the final few months. Both of our lives actually, as Gerry went through it all with me every step of the way. So the rare occasions when we could still fit in a quick jog was just that, rare.
Since I knew the day for submission was approaching fast, I was getting more and more panicky and anxious, and so when Friday rolled around, I realised I was behind schedule. I was hoping to submit my thesis that day, but completely forgot we had the Kristofferson concert in Wellington (booked ages ago). When the realisation hit home, I instantly got the headache of a lifetime. It wasn’t far off from migraine level. This, of course, makes the letters float on the page with the computer screen compounding the problem, which in turn makes nausea set in. I’m not one to ever take pills, but you know things are in a bad way when I go for the strongest pain killers you can force out of the pharmacist, topped with anti-puking tablets. And as we know, codeine causes constipation. Just putting it out there, bearing in mind we have a half marathon coming up in two days.
By Friday afternoon, I wasn’t eating anymore because everything I put in my mouth wanted to come out again. The trip to Wellington for the Kristofferson concert was hell. Trying to read and work in the car (I can normally do this with ease) was painful. New Zealand roads are, to put it mildly, horrendous when you’re driving a normal, oldish car. We were bouncing all over the road and the twists and turns just exacerbated the problem. With a plastic bag by my side, just in case, we got there in time to get in the concert hall, watch the show, get out and charge back home.
Saturday rolled around after a horrible night’s sleep, waking up every few minutes all through the night with a pounding head before drifting off again. I got up and knew that more pills were required. And, naturally, they also knock me out so I became less and less effective. And the more I battle to concentrate, the more I stress. And the more I stress, the more my head hurts and my tummy turns. I couldn’t eat or drink anything. By the afternoon, I laid down for a bit. Gerry grated some apples to turn brown as this is usually the only thing I can hold down when everything else wants to bubble over. After a dose of Jamaica Ginger (a mixture of ginger and ethanol for upset stomachs, as at this point I was also entertaining the thought of a bad tummy due to bad eating habits the last few months), the browned apples and a cup of herbal tea (Rooibos) I got up and got going, holding my head as I went. By the time Kipchoge started his mind-boggling effort I tried, and managed, to keep down a couple of corn cakes with vegemite.
Sunday morning came along, and still there was no change in my unfortunate situation. My head was still pounding (the pills only numb the worst of the headache to some extent) and all I could face was some more grated and browned apple and Rooibos tea. How’s this regime for carbo-loading. Not a whole lot went in since Friday afternoon.
Needless to say, the half marathon was also agony. I was “running” on egg shells to try and keep my head as still as possible. It was still bobbing and it was still hurting like hell. We were near the back, and as the kilometres ticked over we hardly saw any other participants. Only a few in the distance which we ended up passing somehow. A couple of the marathon runners came past, but for the most part we were by ourselves.
My buggered hip was sore. Not too bad though, but I was well aware of it. My “healthy” hip, on the other hand, started niggling fairly early on (in fact, it’s been niggling for at least two weeks prior to this event), and we were not even halfway before it turned into a lot of pain with every step. Like the other hip the pain was around the upper rim of my iliac crest, at a guess, at the gluteus medius attachment point (for which I was diagnosed with FAI). So I’m assuming that if I go to a physio I will be send off for an MRI, and be told by an orthopaedic surgeon that I have FAI and would have to stop running. The usual old adage – if you have pain somewhere, don’t use that body part anymore. Like that has helped anyone ever.
I’m rambling. As for the event: there are three drink stations with water only, and one portaloo about halfway around the course. Unfortunately, all roads are open and participants share the roads with trucks, cars, bikes, and motorbikes on among others the Te Whiti Road (Martinborough-Masterton) which was particularly busy and not nice to run on. No medals. Traffic management was minimal, and nothing on Te Whiti Road that I was aware of. Yes, the event do timing and St John’s was out on the course. At the finish we took a drink of water, and what tasted like very diluted Raro drink (?). $50 entry fee. Everything was in place and well organised and everybody were very friendly. This is a quaint countryside event, and beats running 21kms by yourself (or yourselves if you are two people) any day of the week.
As for my hips and general health, I probably need to take a step back and reassess my situation. If it means taking a few months completely off running, and strengthening my butt, then so be it. Ultreia!