7 Challenges on 7 Continents Challenge!

This little cutie is my three year old daughter Madeleine.

Once you look past her gorgeous eyes and beautiful smile, you may notice she has a CMN over her left eye. She also has a bigger one on her scalp. It’s difficult to tell if or how Maddy will be affected by her CMNs – they’re still developing. It’s starting to thicken over her eyelid and she’s having tear duct issues but all in all, we’re not complaining. She is having her second annual MRI in April and we’re crossing fingers that we’ll get a second all clear.

My wife and I are keen supporters of Caring Matters Now and I decided to run (or more accurately run-walk) the Winery Marathon as part of the 7 Challenges on 7 Continents initiative. Officially my goal was to raise awareness of CMN within my social circles and to raise some cash for research in the UK. Really… I just wanted to do something because I feel pretty useless otherwise and I think all parents agree – you want to do something. I figured if Maddy has a heap of issues in front of her, the least I could do was to put myself through some training hardship for a few months and then a few hours of running/walking torture.

When I first emailed around about “Maddy’s Marathon”, I wasn’t sure what to expect. My goal was to raise awareness, not so much the money side of it. The response was breathtaking. I got to my $500 target within 6 hours. On top of the amazing generosity, there was so many wonderful folk keen to know how my little princess is doing. With the money raising/awareness part ticking over nicely, it was time to start training…

Things didn’t start too well – I strained my back on my first run and needed 6 weeks of physio before I could start training properly.

I then lived a life of working during the day followed by a night time of running around my neighbourhood, which was in turn followed by hours of cramps, stretches, ice packs, hot packs, supplements, painkillers and then finally sleep. I had to learn some very questionable terminology like lactic acid threshold, max VO2, fartlek, endurance nutrition, tempo runs and the dreaded weekly “long slow run”. I went through a pair of runners, two tubes of dencorub, a tube of anti-chaffing cream, an unmentionable amount of lycra and about 30 metres of strapping tape.

During my training I spent over 25 hours running and clocked up over 230 km. Add to this over 200 km of cycling and 20 hours of gym work.

During a 25 km training run about four weeks from the marathon I strained my calf muscle. The only thing I could do was rest and hope it healed in time…

On the day of the marathon it was a balmy 4oC at the 6:30am start time but that didn’t worry me so much as the views were spectacular. For the first hour or so it was wonderfully peaceful and I was having fun. The pack of actual, fair dinkum runners had left me in their wake and by about the 4 km mark I was left by myself enjoying the sunrise.

Then it all turned to crap…

at 13km, I had grown a gnarly blister on each foot – this was annoying but manageable.

at 18km, my calf pain came back – again manageable but alarm bells were sounding

at 24km, I realized that I couldn’t push up hills anymore – a little concerning as there’s four big hills still to come

at 28km, my right knee went – uh oh, this isn’t good

at 34km, everything’s gone – the last 8 km was harder than all the 270 km I had run leading up to this point combined.

Then at 42km – I saw this…

Needless to say I wasn’t hurting at this point. I’ve attached the video of this – I recommend you watch it with sound on.

It was a race after all and I’m sad to say that I missed out on a place… by a little over 2 hours. My 5 hours, 21 seconds saw me finish 78th (out of 87) for all runners, 61st (out of 64) for males and 13th (out of 15) for my 30-39 category. It was a little disappointing that I was wearing a shirt attempting to raise awareness for CMN with all the info on the back – and nobody was behind me to read the thing!!  🙂

Lastly – there are two things I took away; seeing my family at the finish line and the support I received from so many wonderful people. The messages of support, the donations (over $2,500 raised!!!), and coming out to cheer me on – guys I can’t tell you how much it meant. I can’t offer much in return except…

Thank you.