The Marathon debrief.
Four solid months of training for the Queenstown Marathon, an epic running programme and a game plan for race day. The running gear is perfected and I’m fizzing to get to that startline. And (don’t worry I can laugh about it now) then, about an hour and 40 minutes in, the wheels completely fall off and the game plan is completely out the window. The first part of the course is way harder than I’d expected, and instead of adjusting the plan when the heart rate and the legs started hurting, I kept going with the race plan until it was too late. I was wanting to sneak under four hours for this race, which had me sitting at 5.40 minute kilometres (which I could sit comfortably at). My first marathon in Auckland was 4 hours 15 minutes, and this time I feel like I’d prepared more. But preparation is little comfort when you completely overcook yourself on the day.
So here we are, we’re running along a long straight road, approaching the halfway mark – and I’m absolutely whacked. I’m tired, my ticker is out of control, it’s hot, and I’m hating life. I’m angry at myself, I’m disappointed in myself and I’ve got 21 kilometres left to run. It was not supposed to happen this way. I was heartbroken and body broken. I knew I had to try and shake all these emotions off, and I had to convince myself that plans change, and today the plan had to change, and that had to be ok.
I managed to get the heart rate down, stop and slowly walk through the drink stations to fuel up, and by about 27 kilometres in, I’d managed to haul my mind and backside out of depths of despair. I’d pitched the new story to my head, and the story was: “Brodie, nothing else matters right now, you just have to finish this, the test is finishing and so long as you shuffle along to that bloody finish line, that’s all that matters.”
And shuffle I did. My feet were barely off the ground, just enough to inch forward along this truly stunning course. With 12 kilometres to go, the wind decided to kick us all while we were down, but when you’re in the bowels of the hurt locker, what’s a cold headwind at the end of the day!? Just keep shuffling, mate.
It would be dishonest of me to say I wasn’t disappointed on how the day played out. Did I overtrain? Had I rested enough? Did I go out too hard? Should I have changed the plan sooner? These are questions that are completely ok to ask yourself. But I tell you what, that disappointment has faded into the background now. It was there on the day, but now it has turned into pride. To think how I managed to turn that run around, how I managed to crawl out of my own personal horror story and finish that event is nothing short of remarkable, and I’m so proud. I learnt so many lessons about myself that day, and I’ll take them forward not only for my next running challenge, but for everyday life too. People might say I’m mad, but I’m already excited about the next one, because I will be so much better off for what happened in Queenstown. Herein lies the addiction to running – because for me, running is something that has changed my life for the better. And I genuinely believe everyone should find something that changes their lives for the better. I’m not saying it’s running, or running a marathon for that matter! But your very own personal challenge, for you, by you. It’s not something you can buy, but I promise you the feeling you get when you’ve found it is absolutely priceless.