Aged nineteen, on 22 August 1970, I ran my first marathon in 2:44, followed five weeks later with a 2:41. I was hooked, and in the 43 years since, have run more than 50 marathons. In my 20s I ran a 2:19, in my 30s another 2:19, and in my 40s a 2:38. As I slowed, the love affair began to wane and I only ran two in my 50s, the best of which was a 3:04. Now in my 60s, with an ageing body and chronic injuries, I plan to deploy all of my experience in pursuit of one last sub-3 marathon.
The first thing I did was make sure that I was well-hydrated before the run and that I had another sports drink waiting for me when I finished. My best theory is, that back in December, I completed the run dehydrated and didn't drink much afterwards before having a post-run nap. Vein damage from my chronic right knee injury, exacerbated by dehydration and low blood pressure, caused clotting (DVT) some of which ultimately found its way to my lungs causing a PE. The lungs lost function and placed excessive pressure on my heart, generating debilitating AFl over the subsequent week. You've heard it all before, if you are a reader of this blog.
Dubbo Gully wetlands.
Anyway, despite taking the extra precautions, I remained somewhat anxious. The run, with Sharon and some friends, started slowly down a very long descent, and I hung back, still a little stiff and sore from yesterday's run and not wanting to strain. I never pushed the pace, but after warming up, gradually drew away from the others on the long climbs later on the run. Despite sweating a lot and working hard, so far as I could tell, my heart continued to beat regularly. Both knees hurt, particularly down hills, and I cursed the extra three to four kilograms I'm carrying - so easy to put it on and so hard to get it off. I feel sure, that without the extra weight, I would be running faster with less knee pain. Hopefully time will tell.
The course finished with a steady 3km climb, which is always tough, but pleasingly I managed to run the whole way. My time of 2:43 was slow compared to the 2:58 run in December for the 30km version, but not that bad. I drank and kept moving after the run and don't feel like I have damaged myself in any way. It gives me increased confidence that the bad times are behind me and I'm looking forward to my next Dubbo Gully run.