A while ago, my husband Euan suggested we try to run a marathon. We've done a few half marathons, and I finally cracked the 2 hour mark (just) earlier this year. Last year I also did my longest ever run - at 24km. However - a marathon, at 42km is much much further and did seem rather a crazy step up.
However, when we first started out running a few years ago, we started out with the Pyramid Race which is a tough race up a mountain. We didn't do a lot of training for it, and at the time it was one of the hardest things we'd ever done - but we had so much support from friends who came to watch, and we completed the race - exhausted but victorious!
So run a marathon? Why not!
We figured we're pretty fit, and could always just walk when we needed to. It would be an adventure and as always nice to be able to run together.
We started out at 6am up at Palm Cove. A friend drove us up there, which was great as it meant we wouldn't have to drive back up there later in the day to collect a car!
It was a beautiful morning and we set off from the end of the pier in good spirits, with our plan to just jog at a slow sustainable pace.
Euan had worked out the route which would be around 42km, but I had my phone with Runkeeper on to track and check our distance to make sure we ran the full marathon.
Most of our run was alongside the highway. For a lot of it there were paths off the road, with trees and shade and even wallabies!
About halfway in we reached the Esplanade, which was a welcome relief after running along the side of the highway for so long.
At this stage we had started the walk a little, run a little, which soon deteriorated into just walking as we needed more fuel.
A stop at McDonalds provided us with some much needed salt, sugar and carbs!
We managed to keep on with the jog a little walk a little until about the 34 km mark, when we found even a slow jog was too hard. Everything hurt. I felt that it wasn't really my muscles that were sore and tired (although I'm sure they were!) it felt more like my joints were struggling - my hips and knees were just exhausted and aching.
Those last 8 km were some of the hardest we've ever walked. It was hot, we were exhausted but determined to finish what we'd started. We did talk about what we'd do if a friend happened to drive by and offered us a lift home, and agreed we'd have to say no, and complete the marathon distance, no matter how long it took us and how much it hurt!
We finally finished the 42 km in just under 7 hours. We managed a slow jog together to cross our imaginary finishing line.
It was so nice to walk through the door at home to our waiting girls who had been cheering us on with supportive text messages along the way!
I don't think I've ever felt quite so exhausted and the rest of that day was spent resting and recovering, grateful for our pool!
I think my body took a good week to recover from this marathon attempt. The aches went after just a couple of days, but the fatigue was still there. 6 days later we did one of our regular 10 km trail runs which was much tougher and slower than usual!
Would I do it again? Absolutely - but not for a while.
We probably could have walked the marathon distance in much the same time at a steady strong walking pace, but it's made me want to build up to be able to run for that long and that far because right now I can't even imagine being able to do it.
We have a goal to run the Great Wall of China marathon for my 50th birthday in a little over 6 years time. I'd like to be able to complete that strongly and enjoy the experience. I know I have a lot of work to do between now and then to get to that stage, but I do like a challenge and it's good have goals to strive for!
Let the training begin!
Have you ever run a marathon?