DNF at km 7.
I knew that I had a remote chance of finishing a marathon, but didn't expect to pull out so early :(
Tried to run early in the week, but leg was too painful. Decided to rest for the rest of the week and was also on anti-inflammatories diet, hoping that everything will come good on Sunday.
On Wednesday, about 30mins before our flight was supposed to take off, Qantas decided to halt all flights to Perth for 24 hours due to Chilean volcanic ash.
Qantas offered full refund for the tickets. I was very tempted to take the cash since the marathon was virtually a no hoper. Contemplated Gold Coast in 2 weeks time, but there was no guarantee that I'd recover in time, and more importantly, I haven't been training much for the last month so I wasn't gonna be in tip top shape anyway.
At the end, I decided to keep the ticket betting that everything will be alright on race day. Flew to Perth the next day.
On Friday, ran 9k in Perth at 4.45 pace (including a mile at MP) and legs seemed to hold up. Feeling a bit more optimistic, and hoping 2 more days on NSAID diet will reduce the inflmmation in the posterior tibialis tendon.
Meet the Perth gank for pasta dinner on Friday. It was a good boys night out, talking about running !
Sunday morning: did 1k warm up with B'man (who eventually ran 2.49) at 5+ pace and legs seemed okay. Lined up at the start with Epi (who finished in 3.00.30) and felt great for the first couple ks running at 4.12-4.15 pace.
Then I came undone in a flash. There was a steep downhill after Windan Bridge and the force sent shock waves to my legs - ankles, and posterior tibia as well as the anterior tibia. Legs were burning like hell. Hold on for another k but another steep downhill in East Perth put the nail into the coffin. Run, walk, run, walk for a while, before deciding to pull the plug at approx km 7.
If the pain happened say after 30k, probably I wouldn't mind grinding it out. But the shit happened so early and running another 35k or so it will not be an enjoyable (& rewarding) experience and akin to climbing K2.
Nevertheless, it was a good holiday. Been 4 years since the last time I was there. Visited all the restaurants we used to eat before, took my son for a walk in Kings Park, and managed to catch up with the Perth running crew.
So what's next?
The same injury (posterior tibialis tendon) has now caused me to pull out of two marathons (DNS Melbourne 2010 and DNF Perth 2011). Both of them were caused by over-worked muscles due to excessive heel striking (the tendon contracts eccentrically during heel strike)
The short term solution will be to rest before resuming normal training again. It took me about a month of total rest to recover last year. I managed to put in a good 4-5 months of training post-injury before breaking down again.
The long term solution is to alter my biomechanics into a midfoot striker. Not sure how easy this will be after running for 7 years and clocking about 25000 km LOL. May have to look at options such as barefoot running, Newton shoes, learning about proprioceptive cues (falling forward running style) etc
In addtion to to the above, I might also have to look at altering my training regime. It seems 2 speed workouts a week is too much for my aging and aching body. I trained well during Melbourne and Perth preps but all came un-done in the last 3-4 weeks before the race (maybe Pfitz regiment of one speed and more medium long runs are more palatable??). Another modification is running more on softer surface. Last month I bought a car, and this would make travelling to training venues much easier. Once I gotten over my injuury, I might look at doing my long runs in Macritcihie forest trail or doing my tempo on the gravel surface of Bedok Reservoir - all of which would reduce the pounding.
If things go well and I can quickly recover from this shit, Melbourne Marathon on 9-10-11 will be the next marathon. That's less than 4 months away, so not very long to go !!
Gonna hang up my running shoes and go cross-training crazy for the next couple of weeks !!