…through the looking glass

Race report: Prince’s Park 6 Hour

Walk shuffle shuffle shuffle plod jog run had been the rythme of my life for the past 45 minutes.

For a while I soared on a breeze of sultanas, water and electrolytes and soured on sore muscles when the salt and sultana euphoria flopped.

But now, probably due to mild dehydration, I find myself experiencing something akin to an out-of-body experience, except my soul got stuck half way.

It is an odd sensation to be invested but not fully involved in the pleasure and pain one’s own body is experiencing; I reckon if I had some paper I could have made a pretty interesting graph about it.

Laps. Time remaining. The repetitiveness of the scenery. This all became mere factors in the various stages of the battle between the emotional feedback my body was supplying and my brains unwillingness to commit to it.

The only thing to snap me out of this analytical trance was the numbers on my watch… 41.84, 41.85, 41.86… I am mere metres away from the precipice that is MARATHON and I still have over an hour left to run.

Is the Earth disc shaped? Is time travel possible? Does the multiverse actually exist?

41.99, I hold my breath

A deep blue expanse opens out before me, I am treading water in the shallows as an endless ocean stretches out to the horizon.

42

I leap out.

Turns out the world is not disc shaped and running further than a marathon does not open a worm hole to the past or a tear the fabric of the universe and suck me into an alternative dimension entirely populated by giraffes.

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BREATHE JAMES

I feel like I should be skipping, crying, running backwards, running faster — anything to mark this moment but I find that I just have to keep going.

The joy of a marathon is that 42K is fixed and for many it is a pinnacle of what they want to achieve but beyond that there’s just more.

So I keep going.

Riding the high of breaking marathon and knowing I have a good chunk of time in the bank, my mission becomes clear.

The race is now on. Just how far can I get in 6 hours – today.

Except, my legs hurt, my feet hurt. I’m hungry, I’m so so tired and whatever distance I cover now is all gravy, anything between now and 4pm will be recorded as my longest ever run EVER and it’s all ultra – even if it is just 44 kilometres.

But, as I finish the bottle of water I am carrying and the sultanas I am eating I feel replenished.

I have an hour to go, 60 minutes. I have been out here for five whole hours, run further than I have ever run in one go and all I need to do now is keep moving until the clock strikes 4pm.

With muscles and mind screaming for me to stop, just stop I push through the last hour, taking my 30 minute laps back down to around 20 minutes.

With a couple of minutes to spare my watch ticks over to 50ks, I punch the air in celebration and keep on shuffling for the final few minutes.

When my watch ticks over to 4pm I finally stop, and take a seat on the railing while I take off my number.

It feels GREAT to stop. Stopping has never felt so incredible.

Back at the event village and, now, half way through a vegemite roll, I almost feel like I can keep going, shuffle on for a few more hours, but I am glad that today I don’t have to.

I am looking forward to returning to Princes’s Park next year and hopefully will get closer to the 60k mark.

My official distance was 49.468 kilometres, a mere 600 metres off of 50k, down to some gps drift – but regardless, 50k in 6 hours is achievable – I am in a good condition to continue my training for Run Larapinta and the Surf Coast.

This 100k run in September is well within my grasp.

 

One thought on “…through the looking glass

  1. In the twilight between failure and success you become the cat. You are at breaking point while simultaneously being close to a literal rebirth. Only you know the truth “did I quit, or was I beaten” and you’re the onlyone who you can answer that. Never stop running Herr Schroedinger.

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