Where to begin? As a bright eyed new comer to running and having run my first Half Marathon in November 2017 I set myself a target of wanting to eventually run a marathon. Little did I know at the time that it would be within a year of setting that goal.
I guess I should start with some back story. I started running originally to help with the anxiety of almost losing our son. In November 2016 He had a major seizure when he was 3 and a half years old and I needed to perform CPR on him. We got him to the hospital via ambulance before he went into 4 hours of rolling seizures. It was a very scary time with the doctors unsure of the cause, and our little guy being to unstable to move. Eventually it got to the point they needed to take him to CT to rule out a Tumour or Brain bleed. That was possibly the longest 5 minutes of my life, and thankfully he was cleared of anything truly life threatening. The next step was to stabilize him so he could be moved out of the resus bay and into the care of the brilliant paediatric team. A few days later after a Lumbar Puncture and MRI to clear him of Meningitis we were allowed to take him home armed with the knowledge that his risk of having another seizure with in the next 12 months was increased. Little did we know that we only had to wait until 5am the following morning. Our little man was officially diagnosed with Epilepsy, and our new life began. Thankfully we found a brilliant doctor to look after him, and he is now well controlled by his medication and seizure free.
Back to running…. 2017 saw me start running as a way to deal with my anxiety. I started at parkrun at The Ponds on the first weekend of January followed by running my first 10km in July at Sydney Harbour 10k, to deciding to enter the City 2 Surf and then Blackmores Half Marathon. I injured myself at City 2 Surf, and subsequently withdrew from Blackmores, and then finally entered and ran the Central Coast Half Marathon in November. At the end of my first Half I felt so depleted. I had set myself a realistic goal and then injured myself at the 12km point and only just made it back to the finish line.
Recovery again took months of physio and I felt defeated. At this time we also moved to Canberra where I only knew a hand full of people and I felt so anxious about trying to go out to meet new people. I’m happy to join in and chat from the safety of a keyboard and one of my friends encouraged me to join another page for mums exercising in Canberra. Through this group I met the beautiful and inspiring Jo, who is also a RMA mum, and through her I met the lovely Shellie, again another amazing RMA Mum. These girls encouraged me to join in with our local running group, but again I was letting my anxiety get the best of me and I convinced myself I was too slow and I would hold everyone back. When Jo floated the idea that she was going to head to Queenstown to run the Marathon an idea was hatched and I firstly convinced myself, and then somehow convinced my hubby that we should cross the ditch as well. All of a sudden flights and accommodation were booked and I was entered to run my first full marathon.
I was terrified to tell anyone other than Jo and Shellie at the time as I was so scared I would fail. Up until September my training was going ok. I was entered to run Blackmores Half as a platform to spring my longer runs from, my daughter had other ideas getting sick and requiring mummy to pull out the night before after I had already driven all the way up from Canberra. My hubby was away with work, and my family were overseas at the time so I was relying on my in-laws to look after our little people for that event. I had missed out on running it the year before due to injury and I was so excited to finally be doing it. So pulling out even though it was the right decision for my little lady was hard. It was also hard to watch all the wonderful posts pop up in my feed, and I was struck with that feeling that I had missed out. So when I was given a verbal lashing by my sister in law that night I was already raw with emotion and it sent me into a tail spin. From there my training became so sporadic and I wasn’t committed. I kept trying to reignite my passion and my training but the more I thought about it the more I struggled to get out the door.
A week before we left I even messaged Jo saying that I was going to pull out. Something must have clicked in my brain though in the day or two before we left for Queenstown, and the thought of just finishing the distance was going to be good enough. I wasn’t going to put pressure on my self, I would give myself a guideline but if it wasn’t to be, then it wasn’t to be. The race itself was breathtakingly beautiful. Running (plus stopping to take photos) through the most picturesque country side, around glass like lakes and being in awe of the mountain ranges surrounding us was healing. I ran until I hit 22km, then I needed to shuffle, jog and walk my way through the rest as my left calf kept cramping, and every time I tried to stretch it out and then run again it would seize back up again. It was at this juncture that I would fall into stride with many of the other runners out on course, we would have a chat for a bit before they would pass me or I would pass them. Everyone was looking out for everyone else and the camaraderie was evident. No man or woman was going to be left behind.
When I saw that little sign saying 2km to go I knew I was going to finish! The emotion crept in and as I made my way into the town and could hear people cheering my name, it was all I could do to keep breathing let alone to keep running. As I rounded the corner and up the last hill towards the finishing chute I was overcome knowing my hubby was at that finishing line waiting for me…. over I went and then I saw it, the finish line, and then Jo and our team from Canberra in glorious Aqua-blue all cheering for me as I sprinted down onto the oval, through “high five alley” and jumped my way over the finish line. I was a Marathoner… I finally understood the runners high and my passion for running has been reignited!