In 2011 I took part in my first competitive race for 8 years. I spent my early to mid-twenties living and working in Poland. Some friends of mine had heard that Warsaw had a half-marathon taking place in March so in about the December preceding the event the 3 of us agreed collectively to take part.
I spent the following 3 months building up to the event. As it was winter in Poland which meant it was really cold I did almost all my training on the treadmill at my local gym. I ran 2-3 times a week and one of those runs involved a progressively longer run. At most I probably got my long run up to 10-11 miles on the treadmill. I didn’t have a time-goal in mind for the event it was more just to get round. I was delighted to finish in 1 hour 27 minutes and felt pretty pumped by the whole experience.
By the time summer came around me and one of the guys I’d ran the half marathon with (Eduardo) agreed to take part in the Warsaw marathon which was to take place in the September of 2011. My training for this was terrible in hindsight. I think off the back of the half marathon I felt I could rest on my laurels a bit and let my running ‘background’ carry me through. I spent the summer training very little and going on a few holidays which involved no training. I did manage a couple of long runs as i’d joined Warsaw International Triathlon Club (WITC) and had some company to try and test the legs a bit at distance.
Needless to say my lack of training proved poignant as I managed to injure my leg less than half way round the marathon course and walked/hobbled the second half finishing in over 5 hours. I was even beat by a group of about 30 guys jogging dressed up as vikings! It was a pretty horrific experience to go through and ridiculously painful. My only reason for carrying on and completing the course was that I thought this might be the only time I ever do a marathon so wanted to finish it. I was humbled but also roused by the camaradie of fellow marathoners on the course who could see I was massively struggling but helped with pain killers, tips on most effective way to hobble and even electrolyte drink containing vodka (thanks Alan!).
It would be another 7 months before I would run again as my leg was ruined and the knee injury from before meant I had little belief that it would be better again. See pictures below of Hobley’s infamous hobble.