Twenty One Kilometres Of Pain

Today was the big day. At the end of last year I decided that this year I would run the Mexico City Marathon. Just for something to do, something a bit different, something challenging, something I hadn’t done before. I did have a few worries over my knee, which has been causing me problems for a few years. Probably a cartilage issue, which can only be fixed by surgery. It sure hasn’t gotten better on it’s own. And it proved a serious handicap when I started to run, and I quickly downgraded my ambitions. A half marathon would suffice. I can get to about 5kms without any pain, but it starts and increases from there. So I set myself a goal of finishing the half marathon in under 2 hours. My first half marathon was done in 2 hours and 23 minutes, so it was a fairly good challenge.

And anyway, by running the Fathers Day half marathon as well as today, the total adds up to a full marathon. So did I manage to get through today’s half  marathon? Sure I did. Did my knee give me crap? Sure it did. It was absolutely agonising.  Worse, by far, than it’s ever been before. And it severely screwed up my finishing time, which is disappointing. I bought an iPod Nano 5G with the Nike+ add on that gives me a read out of every run I do. It needed calibrating properly really, before the run. But I didn’t have the time, as I got the Nike+ chip on Saturday evening, so the read out isn’t terribly accurate. But the graph below does pretty much show what happened…

run

My Nike+ chip tells me I ran only 20kms, because I hadn’t calibrated it properly, but the certificate below does confirm I did the full 21kms. I ran the first 10kms just fine, and built up a decent cushion to help beat the 2 hour mark. The next 5 kms went ok too, and I was still well within my target time. In fact I beat the time I set in a 15km run a few weeks ago by over a minute. But the pain was getting worse.

Even as I passed the 18km mark, with just 3kms to go, even though I had slowed, I could still get under 2 hours with a decent last kilometre. And then nearing the 19km mark, my knee completely seized. The run went through a tunnel under a road, and as I came up the other side, the steep slope screwed me up. I could barely bend my knee by this point, but running up a slope rather dictates quite a bit of knee bending. And the pain was just too much. I had to walk up the slope.

cert

It was disappointing, because in every run to date, including practice runs in the park, I have never walked. Not once. Not even for a metre. I always make sure I keep going, even if I jog at a walking pace. But seriously…the pain. Sweet Jesus. Actually, I mumbled more obscene vocab than that. By the time I got to the top of the slope, my knee had seized totally, and any effort to bend it was agony. I had to walk with a little bit of hobble jogging for the final two and a bit kilometres. Which totally killed my time and hopes of getting through the finish line in less than 2 hours. Even though I took about half an hour to do those final two kilometres, I did manage to beat my Father Day half marathon time by over 8 minutes.

But at least I finished and picked up my medal (which is today’s photo in my 365 project) and raised $307.50 for a couple of turtle charities. I will probably do a few more events, and get some value for money out of my Nike+ chip! But no more than 10kms from now on, until I get my knee fixed. Preferably 5km events. There are plenty of them.

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