The story starts in January 2018 when out of the blue I decided I’d run the half marathon at Melbourne marathon in October 2018. I signed up early and told as many people as I could for accountability. I started training straight away and managed to run 19km in 2.5 hours so thought I was on track. At Easter I ran my first half marathon distance but not in an event, just by myself along the local rail trail, ending of course with the most delicious hot cross buns I’ve ever had at Bushies in Glengarry! At about this time someone invited me to join RMA on facebook, and wow what a community!!!! I had in my mind that runners were a ‘different bunch of people’. I was always the fat kid growing up and although I participated in many sports, running was NOT my thing. RMA opened my eyes to what a lovely bunch of people runners actually are and that it is a very supportive community. So thank you to all those RMAs out there.
After running my Easter half marathon distance I realised I could run the distance and signed up to Werribee Mansion Run and the Traralgon half marathon. I completed both of these events as well as Run Melbourne where I finished under my goal time! After Run Melbourne and with Melbourne Marathon looming I made the somewhat bizarre decision to change to the full marathon. I’ve no idea why I decided to, but I thought life is short, time to get cracking. With lots of encouragement from RMA I signed up to a training program and got stuck into it. I was going great, ticking off all the exercise programs and eating really well. But I was so tired all the time in the first week. I thought I was just exercising too much. It turns out I had a (very) surprise baby in my tummy!
All the emotions were there. We had only every planned to have one child (who is now 3) and I wasn’t ready to tackle this new adventure. After a few days I calmed down and was so excited about being pregnant and what that would mean for our lives. It then dawned on me that I had signed up to a marathon. How the heck was that going to work? I talked with a LOT of people about this and came to the conclusion so long as I kept my heart rate down I could still participate in the marathon, but it would likely be close to the cut off time, I was ok with this. My training continued at a very slow plodding pace. It was so hard to keep my heart rate under the recommended 140 for my age group! I felt good, fit and strong!
Then everything changed. After finally being excited for this new baby I had a miscarriage (again) at around the 7-8 week mark. We were devastated. Although this was not a planned baby I was already in love with her/him and we had told our 3 year old I had a baby in my tummy so we had to try to explain it to her as well. She took it well and figured out that the big bad wolf must have got it (oh to be 3 again).
This meant a few weeks off training and Melbourne Marathon was looming. I put the call out to see if anyone could change me back to the half, as I missed the online cut off by 1 day, 1 day! Living regionally meant it was just not feasible for me to go to Melbourne and change my event. Lots of people offered to change it for me and provided so much encouragement. A paediatrician I work with (who also ran Melbourne Marathon a few years ago) encouraged me to still do the full marathon, so I said thanks so much to the lovely ladies who were going to change my event for me but kept it at the full. At this point I only had about 3 weeks to keep training. Argh!!! How was this going to work? Then we hit another down fall. My daughter got Scarlett fever. I thought it was an 1800’s disease, and didn’t even realise it still existed. So mummy duties were prioritised and running was put on the back burner yet again. My daughter was all recovered and the following week we found out my mum had stage 3 cancer and would need intensive treatment in Melbourne for 6 weeks. This was to start the day after the marathon (she is now almost finished treatment and comes home again this week). What makes it harder is my dad has a significant acquired brain injury and would need support during this time as well. Family is my rock, family has always been my rock and nothing, not even running would be prioritised over this.
Now I had 2 weeks to train. I was training hard, I was training all the emotions out of me. It was definitely my de-stress time. As the day was approaching I kept doubting myself. I keeping thinking “I can’t do this, I have had so much happening and I haven’t trained well, and this just won’t happen”. My husband and RMA encouraged me so much to just push through. And I am so glad I did. I started the event with two other RMAs, Debbie and Natalie, such strong women to start a marathon with. I ended up being slower than them so ran my own race from about the 18km mark. What a tough race that was! It was hot, I was in so much physical pain, calves were burning up. There were so many times I nearly gave up, but then a random RMA would shout of some encouragement and I kept going. I didn’t run the whole way. I never thought I would. But I finished. I finished the marathon. I felt amazing. I had completed something that apparently only 1% of the population does. From a fat kid growing up to running a marathon at 34. Who would have known. I would love to go back and tell my teenage self about it.
Even though I had so much going in my life for the 3 months prior to the run, it seemed there were just so many hurdles for me to jump, I made it across that line. I got my medal, I got my massage (oh the pain) and I hobbled to my husband who is my biggest supporter. My efforts also made me feature in the final email of the round from 12WBT, my photo and all!!!
So a huge thanks to all of you RMAs. Without the support of this community I doubt very much that I would have completed this marathon. And although it was painful and there were tears (not happy ones) and I so thankful that I pushed through to achieve this mammoth run.