Taking on the Marathon (Part 2)

by have0limits

…and in fact I get an automatic registration confirmation asking me to transfer the payment to the organiser’s bank account.

I transfer the money and meanwhile ask around on different marathon forums if somebody is taking part in the Athens Classic Marathon and if they got another, manual confirmation (meaning I am not really registered) or is the one I got the only confirmation I am about to get (meaning I may be lucky). I depict my situation and the fact that I have managed to send out my registration in spite of the registration being over for 4 months already. The forum users are really outraged about it and bawl me out: “What kind of a sick mind would do something like this? Do you really think you will succeed with this? etc.”

But lo and behold, after two weeks I get a confirmation of my money transfer together with the official starting numbers for me and my friend. Now I am pretty sure we are really registered and the preparations can go on. Of course I don’t post anything about it on any forum. I don’t want to scandalize people there.

Six weeks before the marathon, midway through the preparation, we are going to run the Warsaw Marathon. Or more precisely, we are going ro run in the Warsaw Marathon, but go off the race after running a half marathon, i.e. 21km. Jack just run such a distance a week before for the first time in his life. I tell him we are going to run this half marathon course under 2 hours. He goes: “No way, last week I had 2:30. I can’t see how you imagine me running 21 kilometers under 2 hours”. My best time up to now is 2:10 but a lawyer friend of mine, a half marathon runner, has told me if I can run 2:10 on myself I will for sure run below 2:00 at the competition. I tell Jack there are several reasons why we are going to manage this goal. First of all we are going to run under race conditions, i.e. be under influence of adrenaline driving us to more speed. Then there will be people around us keeping a constant tempo. And we can and will run behind a designated pacer, which gives us a guarantee of the specified time if we can keep his pace.

On the day of the Warsaw Marathon we are in best shape up to then. But after ten kilometers Jack tells me his pulse is 95% of his maximum. That usually means he will need to pay a visit to emergency room if he runs for 5 more minutes under this physical load. But we have at least 60 minutes to go and we can’t slow down if we want to stay under 2 hours. I ask him if it is ok if we continue with this pace. He says he will tell me as soon as he can’t any more. So we continue and eventually manage to reach the 21km landmark and stay under 2 hours. Jack definitely crossed his physical limits but thank to his mental strength he manages to keep this high pace.

After the race he tells me it wasn’t due to the adrenaline, it was due to pheromones. I am pretty astonished by this statement. He says he was following the pheromones of a girl running in front of him and this stimulated him to this extraordinary performance in spite of the pulsimeter indicating his critical state.

But the preparation is far from easy. For the first time in my life I am running such distances and on top of it with such an intensity. I do stretch, I do additional exercise but my body begins to protest to this training regime. I suffer more and more pain in my shin bone. As it gets unbearable and I can’t do my training any more I decide to go to the orthopedist. He informs me I can forget about running a marathon in this state. There is no way I could do it in 4 weeks and I should focus on getting back to health now instead of wasting time with this futile endeavour. I have to accept the reality, he tells me. I get some medication and exercises to apply.

So I am in a pretty precarious situation. Four weeks before marathon with a terrible pain in my legs while walking, making me limp and with a doctor telling me no way I can run this marathon.

What to do?

More in the next part of this story…