We’ve always been active whether it has been through bootcamps, boxing classes, water polo or our short stint in indoor beach volleyball – we generally came as a package, until mum started running. She was enjoying it, completing marathons here in Brisbane, The Gold Coast and Los Angeles. I had no interest in running and actually hated it. That was until mum convinced me to give Parkrun a go. I kept turning up every Saturday morning at Parkrun with my mum and started to enjoy the social aspect of it and the improvement it brought in my running. I’d recently gotten married and had a little Bub, so mum and me time was limited. Running was the only time I’d get to spend one on one time with my mum. I continued turning up for a run, I had ups and downs but suddenly I was slightly addicted.
Mum had entered the twilight bay half marathon in September 2015, and won a spare entry with two weeks to go. Suddenly I was lining up to run 21.1km with no real training. With butterflies in my stomach and mum by my side I set off, I told mum to go ahead and chase that goal time, I was just there to finish. It was dark, windy and hilly. I had just overcome the last hill of the race with 2km to go. I couldn’t go on, until I looked up and saw this lady running wearing an RMA singlet waving her arms frantically. Oh great, it was mum. She finished her race and had run back to find me. She wiped my tears and grabbed my hand, it was only 2km. I could do this, and I did. We crossed the line with holding each other’s hand.
After that night I fell a little bit more in love with the feeling running gave me. So on 8 December 2015, I entered the Gold Coast Marathon. I’d never thought about doing a marathon before but I knew if I had my mum by my side I could conquer the world.
So we began training in January 2016 after I had returned from a nice long 5 week holiday in America. We made a plan and tried to stick to it as best we could with work and me juggling family life. We built up our Sunday long runs and entered the Gold Coast Bulletin Half Marathon in April 2016. Mum has always been speedier then me, however she wasn’t worried about her time, she just wanted to support me and help me chase a PB. 9km into the race I was ready to finish. I didn’t want to do the second lap, but in true mum style she reminded me if I finished now my husband and daughter wouldn’t be able to see me finish, so I gritted my teeth grabbed her hand and ran on. I finished with a huge smile in a PB of 2:08. I was stoked and I owed it my mum for being there and believing in me when I lost my faith.
We would regularly meet up for lunch runs around the Brisbane River to destress, catch up and gossip. I missed one run late March and this was the run where my mum had injured herself. She was out. She wasn’t allowed to run. We were mid-way through our training plan for my first ever marathon. I was shattered as much as my mum. Instead of giving up mum sought the expertise from Paul at Body Leadership Physio who treated her and guided her through rehab. Mum would spend many hours in the gym on a cycle bike to keep her cardio fitness up and lots of water running. Three weeks out from the big day she began running. Okay it was 800m at a time. But it was still running.
The day was here. The big race. 42.2km ahead of us. The starter gun went off and away we went. The first 10km were great. But my head started to have doubts at 13kms. I broke down. Lucky for me my mum was right by my side. With a quick little pep talk we were away again. We managed to get through to 30km mark before my next teary moment, I saw my daughter and husband. With a quick hug and kiss we were off again.
The last 12km were not pretty. I was hurting, still recovering from the flu, I wanted to give up. Mum grabbed my hand and we ran/walked/hobbled on. We had less than a parkrun to go. The exact distance that had me addicted to this whole running thing. I could do this. I picked up my pace and we ran on. We saw a sea of supporters from friends, family, RMA and Team Hummingbird. We crossed the line at 5:19. I was slightly disappointed in my time, but I had finished a marathon. I had finished with my mum, who I later find out she was in pain the whole way with her original groin injury and battling a sore knee in the run but didn’t tell me as she was there for me. Like always putting my needs before hers.
We continued our running dates, meeting up at lunch time and enjoying the company of each other and meeting new people through our own running circles. We would always be told how lucky we were to have each other and share in the love of running together. And to be honest, to me it was nothing new, I mean we always worked out together and shared a lot in common. It wasn’t until one day when I really just needed a run, I needed a run with mum. What did I do? I called her at work and 15 minutes later we were pounding the pavement around the Brisbane River. It wasn’t until that moment I truly cherished what it meant to have a running mum, to have her there, anytime, any place.
Stay tuned for the next episode…Sandi’s journey (my mum).