Retro race report: Flashbacks from the Dam Part Three



So I was preparing for my first half marathon with my close friend Smug Running Guy. A few days before the race it started snowing. This wouldn’t be a problem, the organisers said; the race would definitely go ahead. As the race was in Norwich, a good three hours away Family Trihard would be staying with one of the many members of extended Family Trihard that lived in that part of the world. Before setting off on the Saturday a final check of the race website revealed that an inspection of the course had taken place and the race was definitely going ahead. Hurrah.

Norwich November 2010, health and safety gone mad
 Several hours later, while enjoying a cup of tea with Grandma and Grandad Trihard (“nothing stronger, I’m racing tomorrow”) in Norwich, I received a message from Smug Running Guy. The race was off. To say I was gutted was an understatement (“Grandad Trihard, I need something stronger!”). All those months of training for nothing. So then my attention turned to the marathon. The half marathon would have been the furthest I’d run so it was a bit of an anticlimax to pass 13 miles in training but I plugged on. 

I slowly progressed to reach a 20 mile training run. I still had four weeks before the marathon so was confident that I’d be able to tackle a 22 mile run and then have a couple of weeks of “tapering” which is essentially winding down to shorter runs, to allow your body to rest and recover before the big race. That week I took Toddler Trihard in to central London to meet a friend. Rather doing the sensible thing and taking Toddler Trihard out of her buggy to carry her up the stairs on the Underground I thought I’d be a big man and carry her in the buggy up the stairs. No problem. I met my friend we had a nice lunch, a few glasses of wine and myself and Toddler Trihard returned home.

The next day I was in serious pain. I’d never had back problems before but I had them now. That week I tried swimming, lots of stretching and a deep tissue massage. By the Sunday I felt quite a bit better but rather than trying a 20 mile run I thought I’d play it safe and just do 11 miles. Although in a bit of discomfort at first, the further I ran the better I felt; job done I thought. The next day I was in more pain than I’d ever been in, I literally couldn’t walk. There was no way I was pulling out of this marathon though. This had been a year in the making and I wasn’t going to just throw all that training away. I’d also collected quite a bit of money for charity, so wasn't entirely sure of my legal position. 

Over the next couple of weeks I tried one more run, of just a few miles, with a similar result to the 11 miler. But I refused to give in, even if it meant crawling the 26.2 miles. Smug Running Guy said I shouldn’t do it. I said I’d think about it. Two more of my friends said I shouldn’t do it. I said I’d think about it. But I wasn’t pulling out. Finally a friend who had run two marathons (in a more respectable time of around five hours) phoned me and said I shouldn’t do it. It was then that I realised that perhaps they all had a point. I thought it had been tough training for a marathon. I thought it had been disappointing not being able to run the Norwich half marathon. But without doubt the hardest thing I’ve ever had to do was making the decision to pull out of the Brighton marathon. 

But I dealt with it in an adult way. That night I emailed the organisers of the Brighton marathon to notify them of my withdrawal, drank quite a few cans of Kronenberg and then signed up for the Amsterdam marathon in October. About six weeks before the Amsterdam marathon myself and Toddler Trihard were in Marks and Spencer. The lift wasn’t working. No problem, I thought I can carry Toddler Trihard in her buggy up the stairs. The next morning I could barely walk...

Did I make it to the marathon starting line? Click here to find out and if you're a bit confused click here to read the start of my tale.

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