Tuesday, October 15, 2013

2:49:47! I did it!

2:49:47. Ninth woman overall. 
Yes friends, you read that heading correctly.

2:49:47 in the Melbourne Marathon. 

A new marathon PB. More importantly, proof positive that I have conquered high hamstring tendinopathy and I am back and running stronger than ever.

At the end of last year I was told there was a chance I would never race competitively again. This ripped my heart out - not only did I love to run, but I had lots more I wanted to achieve with my running. The ensuing months of treatment and rehab and false starts and set backs are documented a little in this blog, although I refrained from posting about the really, really dark times.

Always, always at the back of my mind was Melbourne Marathon. My big goal for the year and, as the months progressed and recovery took far longer than I wanted, my ONLY goal for the year. I just couldn't write this entire year off - I needed something good to come out of it.

Crossing the finish line on the MCG on Sunday and seeing 2:49 on the clock was the most wonderful reward for all the work and patience and perseverance and the many, many tears that were shed whilst trying to get back to running.

Personal drinks ready to go. 
I can't even begin to express how utterly grateful I am to everyone who had a role in my recovery since last November. Without my wonderful husband Andrew, my family, friends, coach (Sean Williams), physio (Brent Kirkbride), doctor (Donald Kuah), massage therapist (Michael Viera - Complete Body Dymamics) and Mizuno I couldn't have done it. Thank you all from the bottom of my heart.

I know I'm going on as if I've won a gold medal at the Olympics or something, but I really need to express how much I appreciate everyone who has supported me. I love to run and, as much as I freak out before a race, I love to challenge myself by racing. I am so incredibly grateful and happy to be back at it again - and to be racing better than I ever have been before.

Wooooohooooo! Seriously! WOOOOOOHOOOOOOO! I'm sorry I can't be more eloquent - if you picture me running around madly waving my hands above my head you may have an inkling of how I'm feeling. 2:49:47!! YEAH!

The race went well. I wore the Mizuno Ronin - the first time I've worn them for the full marathon distance and they felt fantastic. No blisters, no bleeding and I still have all ten toenails. Excellent.

Early morning at the 'G'.
The weather wasn't as bad as I feared, although there was some wind and it started to rain a bit near the end. By about 9k I hooked up with two other women (Aarthi Venkatesan and Fleur Flanery) and we started to work together to maintain a pace of about 3:59/k. We were soon joined by some other women and a few men and our pack ran together quite strongly until that dreaded turnaround point near St Kilda Esplanade (25k). Not too long after that (I'm not sure where) we started to fall apart. Laura James and Hannah Flannery took off like they had jet-packs on - they both ran such strong, smart races and made it look so easy - while a few women fell behind me. I had a couple of bad stages but managed to hold a reasonable pace together until the 37k mark, where a hill and fading legs caused me to go from a 4:01km (@36k) to a 4:19km. Ouch. From there I had a couple of other bad splits which caused the anxiety levels to spike a little because I knew I'd be close to blowing the sub-2:50 time.

The last few seconds of the race, as I ran towards the finish and knew I was about scrape in under 2:50, were magic. A mix of utter relief and complete joy. The worst year suddenly became the best year, thanks to that little 42.2 kilometre run through Melbourne.

So happy. So grateful. So blessed.


  1. a well deserved result Joanna. Your potential to run faster is now obvious- run with it!

  2. Congratulations! This post gives me hope! Dealing with HHT since July and thought I was making progress. Wrong. Everything in place for Boston 2014 except for the fact I can't run more than 15 min or as of this all. Content with the fact I won't PR there, but I must run it. Thanks for your exercise insights, but I'm curious about PRP. I'm thinking of prolotherapy since PRP is $$ and I don' t know of a doctor around here who offers it. Do you think PRP was critical in your recovery? From what I've read from you and other high profile athletes it's definitely a factor. So happy you are back to your top racing form. Keep it up! And thanks for your insight. This injury is......too many words to describe.

  3. Hey Johanna--first up, a big congrats! Amazing time and I'm glad to see you overcame injury to achieve it.

    On the subject of that injury--I'm suffering from hht also--fairly new and have barely run since first experiencing it. Can you offer me advice on what did/didn't work for you in getting over it? Everything I read about it is pretty dismal. if you are so inclined. Many thanks.

  4. Hi Johanna,

    I came across your blog while trying to figure out what's been going on with my leg and was wondering if you might be able to offer some insight?