Running the Dunedin 1/2 marathon in a hypomania phase
So, the big day had finally arrive – the Fathers Day Dunedin 1/2 Marathon. Two months after setting the goal back in July
I awoke excited, no nerves, no anxiety just a bundle of what felt like raw energy. I dress in the very basics of running gear, no extra weight. My cool new hypo coloured ASICS running shoes are as light as a feather, design for speed not comfort. I eat a boiled egg and a banana. A friend drops me off at the start. I stretch and warm up to some DJ pumping out the hits.
8.25am I line up with the 800+ other runners of all shapes and sizes. The faster ones at the front, the slower at the back. The weather is chilly, but the sun is out and there is no breeze. I make my way closer to the front wanting a smooth start without having to negotiate around other slower runners, weary of being stuck in a bottle neck 200-300 down the footpath (we were all starting at the Forsyth Barr stadium, where the All Blacks often play.)
The Dunedin 1/2 marathon course was not a simple out and back. The first 3km had us running on a gravel trail out in nature, amongst native trees and plants. I could hear the tui bird chirping its morning greeting. Not what I was expected, some people stopped or slowed down on some of the inclines…not me…I increase me stride and power up the hills and sprinted down the other side.
On my left hand written in vibrant blue ink is my set running pace. My goal for the Dunedin 1/2 Marathon was to average 4.45min km’s and thus reach my target of running 21.2km in 1hr 40min. I liken it to a cup full of water with 21 equal markings up the side. The water represents my total energy to be expelled evenly over every km so as to reach the finish line just as the cup runs empty. Precise, measured, focussed.
But I’m a bit uncertain about this course because it wasn’t flat, it contain 25 corners, some at 180 degrees. It had us running over bridges, down narrow footpaths, running thought underpasses, and even across a train track, that was in operation and it was just good or bad luck if you hit the track when a train was approaching…the train had right of way, so if caught out you would have to wait while it passed.
In my case a train was approaching…As it worked out I was the last person to get across before they temporally close the track…some may say I ignored the shouted warning from the marshal to wait and stay on the right side of the train track. Others would say I have selected hearing. I just knew no train was going to get in my way, slow me down, cause me to miss my timing. Anyway moving on, I’m soon running along the bay.
I can see my moving shadow/reflection in the water. Running posture looks good.
Ahead of time in the Dunedin 1/2 marathon
I hit the 10km mark and do a double check. I was 2min 50sec ahead of schedule. Had I started out too hard too early? should I slow down and conserve my energy? Was I going to crack at the 18km mark? Or should I carry on at my current pace and give it a crack? What would you do? I make a split second decision and decide to keep running at my current pace (4min 30sec per km) why not, I felt good, in fact I felt really really good. Coaches would say I was “in the Zone”
I press on, talking with other runners, every posing for the official photographers. I was having fun, I had a smile on my face and a determination glint in my eye. I selected runners ahead of me (that dude in the black T-shirt and blue cap) and slowly draw up to them, passing them and then selecting the next human marker. My mind is alive and in tune with everything that is happening around me. I even start mentally witting this blog. My sense of smell is enhanced, great for flowers and cologne but not so good when running pass rubbish bins
As the Dunedin 1/2 Marathon comes to close I see the stadium just in front of me. 1km to be precise. I decide to sprint (going back later in Strava- running app, I discover its my fastest km split) I bound across the finish line, feeling alive, feeling like I could keep on running, weird! The official timing clock had me completing the course in 1hr 34min a full 6min faster than my target goal. Not the quickest run of the day by any means but for me it was outstanding considering I had only been training for 8 weeks.
I do some warm down stretching but my mind is just so active so I decide to talk to as many runners wearing the same purple T-shirt as me with the writing “I’m sweating for mental health” on the back. I find 23 people to talk with and congratulate. Most were knacked, not saying much in return but politely shake the hand I put out. A few I slap on the back. A job well done!