I felt good right up until about 21km – so good that I thought I might be able to run the marathon in 4 hours. Well, it was not meant to be because I really started to slow down just past the halfway point. While the rain may have had something to do with it, who was I kidding - I obviously hadn’t fully recovered from Two Oceans. I crossed the finish line in 4:30.
At 25km I was very pleasantly surprised to see Chris and Chris (sister and brother-in-law) at the Duomo – they were taking the day to sightsee and we just all happened to be at the same place at the same time. These are a couple of the pictures that Chris took and I think this is the only time during the race I was smiling.
The Duomo di Milano is very impressive – as were all of the Duomos/Basillicas I visited. I truly marvel at how these amazing buildings were constructed. In fact this particular Duomo which is the fourth largest cathedral in the world took nearly six centuries to complete.
On April 3 I began my vacation. I was going to spend a few days in Cape Town to run the Two Oceans Marathon, then fly to Italy for two weeks where I would run the Milan Marathon and run the marathon route in Rome. I’ll write the blog entries for Milan and Rome separately.
The Two Oceans Marathon is a marathon of 56km. On race day there is also a half marathon (21.2km). There were 16,000 entries for the half and just over 9,000 for the marathon. Many of the marathon runners use this race as a training run for Comrades Marathon which is a very challenging 87 km race.
It is important to remember that there is a 7 hour cut-off which means if you do not cross the finish line within 7 hours from when the gun goes off, you will not get a medal and you will be listed as a DNF (did not finish). In addition to the 7 hour cut-off, there are also various cut-off points along the course and if you do not make the cut-off you will not be allowed to continue.
Two Oceans is challenging as well as you can see from the profile. The link gives you a better picuture of the route profile. http://www.twooceansmarathon.org.za/themes/tom2010/alt/56K.pdf
An interesting feature of the route of Two Oceans Marathon, is as the name indicates, it passes both oceans surrounding the South African shoreline – the Indian and Atlantic Oceans. While the climb up Chapmans Peak is challenging you are rewarded with spectacular views. As challenging as this climb is, it is really nothing compared to the climb up Constantia Nek especially as it comes after the 42km mark. Going down the other side is difficult as well because the roads are very cambered which made it difficult for me to get a good pace going.
Although the race began under cloudy skies, it wasn’t long before the rain began and continued pretty much throughout the day. Even though it was about 18 degrees, I was happy that I had brought my arm warmers as they helped keep me warm. Coming from cooler temperatures, I was glad that it wasn’t a scorching hot day.
Support for this race is incredible. There were aid stations every couple of kilometres where they served a variety of items such as Coke, PowerAde, water, potatoes, ice cream, chocolates . Towards the end, the aid stations were every kilometre!
While the course was very challenging, I think that as I was used to running 42km every Sunday and because it took 6.5 hours to run the race my legs weren’t all that sore the following day. Good thing because I was heading to Rome in the evening, via Dubai. Now this part of my trip was very tiring. The flight to Dubai was about 9 hours followed by a 10 hour layover followed by another 6 hour flight. To say I was pretty tired by the time I arrived in Rome would be an understatment, yet I slept well that night and as such felt fresh the next morning as I caught the train to Florence where I would meet up with my sister (Christina) and her husband (Christopher) for a whirl wind two weeks in Italy.
These pictures taken during the run are climbing Chapmans Peak and at the Finish.
Last week was what I guess you would call a down week. Something I haven’t done in a very long week. in fact I only ran once during the week. While taking a break from time to time is always a good thing, I took a break because my big toe was really hurting. Although it has been hurting on an off for a long time it is just getting progressively worse.
Googling the issue brought me to this website which talks about big toe joint pain.
http://footcarexpress.com/foot-orthotics/big-toe-joint-pain/ – Big Toe Joint Pain (hallux rigidus) is a very painful condition for anyone who suffers from it. In fact, arthritis in the foot is most commonly found in the metatarsophalangeal joint which happens to be at the base of the Big Toe. The pain is most often associated with stiffness and as a result walking or running can become very difficult.
This describes perfectly what I have. So while for now this is my diagonosis, I will confirm by seeing my massage therapist, chiro and a podiatrist.
I thought taking a few days off would perhaps lessen the pain, but it didn’t. The pain was there just the same as always. As well, even though the work that is being done(chiropractic and ART) is helping, the pain is still there. I decided to see a podiatrist because I wondered if surgery would be helpful. Surgery is an option and aparantly the pain is gone as a result. The down side is that you can’t run for a few weeks. So, this is something I will consider after the marathons. I did opt for a cortizone shot to relieve the inflammation and to hopefully relieve some of the pain. The toe does feel better, but I’ll see how it holds up on my next run. All I need is for the toe to be ok for the next 36 marathons.