Monday, October 19, 2015

How to run 21km on 2 hours sleep

Team Reid all smiles after our run!

You know the feeling when you wake up in the morning after a heavy night on the gas, your brain isn't working, it feels to early and every simple task like pouring a coffee seems like the greatest mission since Armstrong (not the Lance one) stepped on the moon.

Well substitute booze, and add in 4 wake up calls on the hour every hour from 11pm the alarm being a small human that has no understanding that Mum & Dad really want to run well the next day day and we're starting to find comparable situations, throw a cat hair ball in the mix and the pressure levels go up a notch.

I know when I go to bed that sleep this week is at a minimum and all I really want is to hopefully get some shut eye at the back end of the morning, say between 3-5:30am; I know at around 12-1am Z-Girl is going to grumble, as mentioned previously her brace and boogers are not helping her sleep well, how long the grumble goes on for is based on how much I want her sleeping in our bed or if I attempt to re-settle her. I played the up and down settling game for too long, giving up and taking her to bed. But wow did that alarm hurt 1.5 hrs later when it rang. The cat meowed, as he likes to be fed instantly and is under the impression I keep his food under my pillow! the baby stirred, she was lying on my chest and the wife groaned and rolled the opposite way.

Walking down stairs to prep the bags, start the kettle and put Z-Girl on her play mat was met with a squelching feeling under my feet, I jumped back hit the lights to find a turd shaped item in the lounge room.

"Has the cat poo'd in the lounge? Are we serious, Z-Girl don't attempt to play with that"

I kneel down to sniff it, yes I now sniff things before I touch them I think it's a parent thing. I look around I notice nobody else is going to mop this thing up. Lucky or unlucky I work out its a fur ball and that the cat always produces these in pairs so where the hell is the second one? Oh its in kitchen.

Good start to the morning, and the kettle hasn't even started boiling.

We are both pretty blessed with good parents/baby sitters, and my Mum making the 30 minute early morning journey with a slowly recovering broken leg to get to ours at 6:15am was a super help to make sure we could both attempt to complete this half marathon. I know she loves supporting these events by being track-side or pool side in my swimming days, but a infant and a broken leg would have made for uncomfortable viewing, maybe next year Mum.

Out the door on time had the hallmarks of potentially being the biggest achievement for the day, the Metro Train system in it's wisdom was working on the tracks the day 30,000 runners were going to descend on Melbourne so getting in the car and heading to chase a carpark was my first minor stress. In fact I enjoyed the drive, I relaxed a little, ate a banana talked to the wife on our own, without having to sing 'ABC' to keep Z-Girl from jumping out of her car seat. The MCG Carpark was not as full as I thought and we got a spot easily, the wife was gesturing the need to get some pre-race jitters out aka find the toilets.

A quick call to my training partner and friend Ivan found that he had already got rid of his pre-race jitters, and was closer to the start line than us. After making our way down and powdering our noses we got in the line to get things started, a little national anthem sing song shaking of the legs and I suddenly remembered I never did a warm up? Eek oh well nothing like the first 5km to settle your stride. I kissed the wife and wished her luck as the gun sounded and I tailed Ivan as we weaved our way around the pack, I was looking for the 1:50 pace group, my goal was to run with them and hopefully leave them with 5km to go but the rush of people meant I couldn't spot the group and it was just too busy!

In fact it was so busy I lost Ivan and then just settled into my own pace, having to jump off the road and onto the footpath along most of St Kilda Road as I didn't want to slow down to much early on, I checked down at my watch and picked up I was on 4:57km/min and was starting to feel a rhythm, in my head I was worried I had planned to run between 5:15-5:30km/min and started to think I might blow up, but I just started to feel comfortable and my stride was short and quick reducing the bashing my feet with an internal thought of running with light feet I kept this pace going as we reached Albert Park.

Albert Park was the bit I liked the most, it's a nice place to run, the city on one side the lake on the other, the weather was just right and runners had started to thin out as we jogged in the middle of the Grand Prix Track, still I was thinking do I back off and get my pace to 5:10km/min but my body just seemed to ignore my thoughts and kept up the 4:56km/min it had dropped to (I was getting faster as we reached the 10km mark)

My nutrition plan was use all the drink spots on course, I only missed 2 of them and that was due to location of myself and too difficult to get across safely and the other one was on a uphill and I didn't want to slow down. I had a small bottle of mixed Tailwind calorie drink, a Endura Gel and my favorite Cliff Shot Blocs. The shot blocs are in a long packet reaching in after feeling the need at 10km to boost myself up I ripped the packet on the move shoved two in my mouth and thought 2 more when I get to St Kilda Rd would will carry me home, and then I proceeded to drop the remaining on the ground, looking back like a long lost lover at a train station I knew they were never coming back and hoped my gel would be the difference maker at the end.

On a little switch back Ivan saw me and gave me nice little helpful shout, the fact I wasn't too far behind him gave me a lot of confidence I was travelling well, he is certainly helps me benchmark my running, my wife even warned me not to try and beat Ivan on the grounds I would explode in a bonking mess. Getting up and out of Albert Park marked a milestone in my mind and I knew it was a pretty much a straight run home, ticking the legs I hit the 16km marker and reached to find my gel, dammit it tasted so good, sinful in fact considering I have cleaned up my diet. The placebo effect is amazing when you're running confidently and take an energy gel, my pace was still bang on 4:57 and I just spotted the 1:50 pace group! Praise be to the running gods, but like the rabbit in Alice and Wonderland I was late for a very important date, and I skipped past them.

I was now speeding up with 5km to go I was putting in a tough shift, my legs were really burning and I was worried I may of jumped to early, the Km Markers weren't coming as quick as I thought and my knee was starting to get painful, my head was playing tricks on me and I had drank all my tailwind, I was running on motivation only. The last drink stop told me I had still 2.8km to go, a splash of water shook me up and I kept trying to increase the load, I wanted to have nothing left when I crossed the line. I have a habit of holding back a little, just a little, pushing enough to do well but not great. Last years triathlon I finished but felt like I had something left, this time I wasn't going to doubt my effort.

Down the turn along the yarra and I spotted the MCG, I'm not a huge Aussie Rules fan but its a stadium that has the ghosts of athletic greats within its walls and if you can't shake a little tail for that then you shouldn't of entered, over the bridge that peaked like Everest and down to the final turns. My legs were becoming dust, and it showed in my time in the last km, it started to drop but clenched teeth go me in the stadium. You can't help but stare at the huge skyward reaching stands and rolling around the outside of the ground the finish line in sight, quick watch check and I was under, I was very much under 1:50, and I was spent.

The clock stopped at 1:42:45 - and my first Half Marathon PB, it would take some beating but I felt good for 90% of that run add in some Ironman 70.3 fatigue and I still feel I can run the final leg in under two hours come Feb 2016. I had done it, achieved a goal, the first goal of the year. Super wife followed in a time fit for Richie Benaud at 2:22 a women that has so much endurance she doesn't even have to train full time, a disrupted new job schedule along with childbirth recovery had her in 20mins slower than her previous at the Great Ocean Road Half, who knows her result if she trained!

You gotta look out and give the thanks when you get the result you wanted and some more, Super Wife is just ACE! I escape early mornings or lace up at 9pm for a run, she pushes me with her faith in me and unresolved nature to support all the crazy ideas, Mum for helping out with Z-Girl on race day, Z-Girl adding a layer of pressure and performance she is my little running partner, Cheeta Recovery for the running compression shorts and the recovery long pants post race, Tailwind Nutrition the science behind the best Endurance runners in the world for helping me out and those running buddies of mine Ivan for always getting more out of me and the group of buddies I have met at Westerfolds Parkrun.


  1. Good post - the first 3km felt like we were playing Frogger.....

  2. That was a great read, from start to finish !