So yesterday I ran my fourth half marathon. I still can’t believe I’m writing that. I used to be the person who would struggle running for the bus. Running wasn’t even a word in my vocabulary and it was never on my list of things to do. Isn’t it funny how life works out? I kind of think running saved my life. I wrote about that here.
This wasn’t my first half marathon in Sydney but it was my first in the Sydney Morning Herald Half Marathon so it was a different time of year and a different course. I’m such a creature of habit, it felt good to embrace change and do something new. The morning got off to a good start. The city was looking pretty spectacular at sunrise…
….as were me, Steph and Michelle at the start line.
Even after the sun was fully wide awake, we could still see the moon.
Then we were off. As I started along the course, I saw a man with this on his back.
It sums up my running journey perfectly.
The 21km course was a race of three parts. I smashed the first 10km out of the park and was loving every minute, I fell apart in the next 8km and by the last 3km, I was losing my will to live, never mind about my will to run. I did however, cross the finish line, in 2 hours 13 minutes and 10 seconds and I got a medal for my efforts.
I don’t think the other half marathons I’ve done were half as hard as this one, or maybe they were, but I’ve forgotten how much they hurt in the post race euphoria. This run taught me a powerful lesson.
I have a weird sense of running logic. I say, if you can run 10km, you can run 21km (if you train hard enough.) If you’ve run one half marathon you can run another. If you believe it, you can do it!
I always talk to myself when I run. I don’t know whether this is because I’m nuts, because I’m an only child or because it’s an effective way to pass the time but it works for me. Yesterday, it was all about the pep talk because I sure as hell wasn’t going to let my head give up before my legs.
Over the last part of the course, a group of runners caught my eye. They were wearing T-shirts emblazoned with “Happy as Larry” and didn’t seem to be suffering at all, even though they were pushing a man in a wheelchair. Not only were they hard working, and in good humour, but they were fast, so I could never quite catch them. I admired their teamwork, as they took it in turns to push that wheelchair all the way to the finish line. As I crossed the finish line, they were there too. But they weren’t running, they’d stopped the wheelchair, lifted out the man and carried him across the line. Now that’s what I call team spirit. It was a beautiful moment.
When I got home, I was so intrigued by Team “Happy as Larry” that I did a little snooping on Google. It turns out that the man in the wheelchair was Larry, who had suffered a stroke, and his team were made up of all his family and friends, raising money for his treatment and the Stroke Recovery Association. You can find out more here.
That’s when I realised what running can do and why I love it so. It gives us a purpose, it brings us together and it makes us feel alive.
I am not a record breaking runner by any stretch of the imagination, but I am consistent. I always run without a thyroid, I’m forever gaining weight and every race I run, I always lose speed. So for me, I don’t measure my achievements in time or distance, because every time I cross the finish line is an incredible triumph. I may not be the strongest or the fastest, but I always try my hardest.
My post race recovery consisted of soaking in Epsom Salts, looking daggy in compression pants and eating a lot of chocolate. Of course, I won’t be sitting on my laurels for long, I’ll be doing it all over again in Disneyland in 3 months and 12 days (not that I’m counting.) Only this time when I finish I’ll get a Mickey Mouse medal in the place where dreams really do come true!
Do you talk to yourself too? What’s your latest triumph?