A little background on me;
I just turned 50 in January and this is my third year running.
I’m a nurse and work fulltime, a mother of 4 and a proud grandmother of 3.
I fit my training in around work and family life. When I started running at 48, I gave myself a goal at 50 I would run a marathon. No jumping out of planes etc. I wanted a challenge to celebrate my 50 years.
At 48 I concentrated on the 5km & 10km distance events. 49 was my year of the half marathons. I did several and conquered a challenge to run 30kms last December. I did it. The Gold Coast Running festival marked my first long run in training for the Gold Coast Marathon . To date this year, I’ve been enjoying and am loving the freedom of trail running. So I hadn’t completed a long road run since that 30km last December.
I knew the half marathon running constantly on the road was going to be tough again. I have to admit I was putting it off and left it to the last minute to register. I also knew it was a two lap event with hills, but I had my trail runs in the bank (coach term for km’s in legs 😅). I’m not a big fan of lap running which mentally gets to me, but having run five half marathons events last year, I knew I had that strength there to complete it.
I was nervous, but knew I just had to find that strength and test it again. Test that strength and you grow. Pre-race nerves always bring me a sleepless night. The doubts roll in. I drive my husband nuts, “can I do this?”. A call to my friend and coach clutching to her positive words. Why do us women doubt ourselves so much? I turn this negativity into a positive. I visualize myself running across the finish line and draw strength from it.
Race bib pick up always excites me and makes it all real. I love seeing friends and chatting. I had the pleasure of meeting Michael Shelley Commonwealth games dual Gold Medallist and loved his positive energy. Going into race day it was a beautiful mild autumn morning on the Gold Coast. Hot air balloons were rising to meet the sunrise and fellow runners were arriving to race their dreams. I meet up with Jodie my friend, coach and running buddy as we were running the event together. Our run was planned to be “time on legs,” and to have fun doing it.
Pre-race photos followed and before we knew it we were off and running. The first 10km went by comfortably and I had settled into the run. Jodie and I chatted and laughed. I soon realised again the joy of lap running…You get to see other runner’s multiple times on the course, which lifted my spirit. Hi fives, cheers, seeing other RMA ladies and did I mention the Garmin man, was incredible and their encouragement was in full force.
The 10km turn around was tough knowing you had to do it all again and then the mental game starts. Jodie was amazing with her encouragement and belief in me that goes beyond words. But in saying that, it’s still you and your mind that has to believe you can do it and your legs just follow. The hills hurt and my feet started to cause a lot of pain by kilometre 15. I realised the strapping on my feet was too tight and had to stop and rip it off and from then I ran a lot easier.
The last 5km leg home was tough. The hills seemed liked climbing Mt Everest. But I ran everyone! The finish line was in sight and with just the last kilometre to go, Jodie picks up the pace, “Come on mate we’ve got this!” It’s tough but running that last kilometre for me is empowering giving it your all after running 20kms. It just blows me away.
Running into the stadium was amazing hand in hand with Jodie and seeing my husband and daughter made me so happy.
I crossed the finishing line with the greatest sense of achievement as it was one of my hardest runs, I’ve done in a while.
Jodie and I embraced. Our hearts were beaming with happiness. That moment that common bond of running and friendship we knew what we had just shared.
The race has brought me renewed confidence that I can move forward in my training towards my first full marathon in July.
I may not be a fast runner but I get the job done with a full heart and I an added bonus was that I positioned 10th place in my age group!
Running makes me feel free, alive and happy and I’ve found an inner strength in my mind, body and soul that I never thought I had.
The RMA community of ladies are so incredibly supportive, with so many beautiful friendships. I never thought at my age, I would be achieving the things I am doing. I now know that you can do anything you put your mind to and not to let age be your barrier.