So you have dabbled in a little running, joined RMA, maybe even made a few running friends and gotten a little better at this running thing, and now you have found yourself keen to sign up to your first event. You are unsure… you have never run in an event before, or you think you will come last. There are all the ‘if’s’ to consider, but have you ever considered how great you will feel once you toe the start line, run your little heart out and run over that finish line? Sometimes it is more about the journey to get there than the race itself, but the culmination of the journey at the event is where we find that little part of ourself that we didn’t know existed. Here are two stories of RMA’s Trilby and Connie and their experience with their first official running events. Hopefully they will inspire you to click ‘register’ on an event very soon.
It was New Year’s Day and I lay groaning in bed, hungover from drinking too much on New Year’s Eve. Cliche I know, I’m not one to get into the hype of New Years and the like. In fact I’m not much of a drinker either. But there I was pondering life. What could I do to change my life this year? Is this how people make New Years resolutions? I’d always wanted to enter the Gold Coast marathon 5.7km event but it was so far away. I needed something sooner and the Gold Coast Bulletin Fun Run caught my eye in my hungover googling. Before I knew it I had entered the 5km and made a resolution (cliche again) to be able to run the whole way.
Fast forward nearly 5 months and I was ready to run my first event. When I signed up for the race I was focused on the goal, I had no idea that the journey was going to be the true life changer. I had found RMA on Facebook, I had joined parkrun and met some amazing real life RMA’s. I had gotten fitter and could run a whole 5km well before race day. In fact I thought maybe I should’ve signed up for the 10km as I could’ve done it. But the 5km was my goal event and I knew I could do it well now.
An RMA who was in the 10km gave me a lift to the event, luckily as I was so anxious about parking and getting there. I first watched my new RMA friends finish the 10km, experiencing the joy of cheering for others. I got nervous and excited, I ate all my snacks and went to the toilet a few times. I re-tied my shoelaces over and over, I’m kind of obsessive about things like that. After a little warm up jog I joined the start and found an RMA I knew from parkrun. She was always in front of me at parkrun (still is) and I figured if I kept her in my sights I’d do ok.
We were off! I can’t describe what it’s like to run and event, it’s so different to just going for a run. Something special happens and the vibe of the event sweeps you up. I ran a strong 5km, I powered up the hills and ended up passing my parkrun friend (only time I’ve nabbed her). It was hard at times, everything inside says stop you know how much you want to finish and that you will get there soon. I saw the stadium and quickened up, ‘sprinting’ to the finish. I was given my very first medal and followed other runners through to the recovery area.
I had done it, had signed up for something, trained and completed it. I was no longer the girl who grew tired of new interests quickly or said I’d like to do that one day but didn’t follow through. I now had a passion for something, a new identity I could be proud of. And now here I am a few more events under my belt, many more running friends made, goals achieved, stronger than ever and more in love with life than ever before.
– Trilby Barsley
Connie Wiseman at the end of The Mothers Day Classic
I decided that 2017 was going to be the year – the year that I would get off my ass and do something about my weight. I had been lucky enough to never of had to worry about diets and my weight, but it slowly caught up to me and on the 1ST January 2017 I weighed in at 70kgs (don’t recall ever being more than 60kg). I treated myself to a new pair of sports shoes and hit the pavement and went for a walk. My walks soon stared to get a bit repetitive, so I got some wireless headphones and started to enjoy listening to some of my fav songs from my younger years during my walks.
When driving, I would often notice runners doing their thing on the footpaths in my neighbourhood and would think to myself “I wish I had the confidence to get out there and run”. I used to be a runner in high school – absolutely loved participating in cross country carnivals and athletic carnivals – however that was 15 years ago… hadn’t run since then. I decided to give it a go and run the length of my street – couldn’t do it! I needed some motivation. I got myself a Fitbit Charge 2 to help me keep track of my times and distances when walking, and soon started to include little bursts of jogging into my walks.
I remember the first time I ran a solid 1km – 2nd April. I felt on top of the world. This is when I really caught the running bug. The way it made me feel to have a goal in my head and to achieve it would put me on a high to last the whole day. It was time to set myself a huge goal. I decided to sign up for the Mother’s Day Classic 4km run. I don’t know where the sudden confidence came from but I was determined to run in an event – all by myself! The longest run I had managed to do before race day was 3.5kms, I felt ready but very nervous. On race morning I got up super early due to nerves. I got dressed and checked my race list to make sure I had everything. My hubby and son drove me to Parramatta Park. I insisted I was fine and they could go home, it was early and cold and I would be fine to catch the train home. As I watched them drive off I was a mixed bag of emotions. Couldn’t believe I was left here on my own about to run in a race… what was I thinking?!
Then I started to notice all the other racers turning up, all their bright smiles, fun costumes and encouraging words. I started to feel comfortable and part of something important. I decided to dedicate my run to my mum who passed away in 2015. I miss her dearly and today’s run was going to be a great distraction from yet another Mother’s Day without MY mum. I lined up for the loos and did my stretches and lined up in the start line. I positioned myself in the middle of the pack – figured I could use those at the front to help pace me and to make sure that I wasn’t going to fall too far behind and come last. Music blasting in my ears and I was off!
I struggled, I cried, I smiled, I walked a bit and I ran! I ran my little heart out for most of the run. When I crossed the finish line I had nothing left. I was given a bottle of water and couldn’t get the words ‘thank you’ out – I was so puffed! My medal was placed over my head and I just wanted to cry. I had done it. I had done something which felt so ridiculous and out of my comfort zone – and I had done it for my mum. I was so proud. My official time came in at 22:51. When I got home I was so proud to tell my family my time and what I had achieved. I could see how proud and happy my husband and son were of me. I ended up sleeping for most of the day – I was so tired and sore, but it was worth it! I have since competed in 4 more events (Sydney Harbour 5KM, Blacktown Running Festival 5KM, Blackmores Bridge Run 10KM, Western Sydney Marathon 10KM). My PB for 5kms is 27:16, 10kms 1:00 and my longest training run is 12kms. I am currently training for Mount Panorama Punish and UTA22.
I ended up joining Running Mums Australia after my second event – even though I am yet to find myself some running buddies (I’m slowly working on that), the Facebook page provides me with a lot of encouragement and support. I love reading everyone’s stories and looking at everyone’s race day pics. I can honestly say that I have achieved so much more out of the goal I set myself at the start of the year – I now weigh 63kgs (woohoo) and have a new found passion in life (did I just say that?!). Life is great!!!