Hi ladies, my name is Jodie CUMNER.
I’m a single mother, Run Coach and proud Gold Coast RMA Community Ambassador.
I have been road running for 9 years and trail running for 5.
Last Saturday I ran the Blackall 100 (50km) event. This was my first long distance running event since November I completed the Surf Coast Century 100km’s then the New York Marathon six weeks later. I ended up with some running injuries which stopped me running for 9 weeks and have led to many months of recovery. But they have also taught me a lot and made me stronger and more appreciative of the gift of running and movement.
I was coaching two girls that were about to challenge themselves to run their first 50kms on the trail and I was not going to miss it. I always planned to be up there with them, but decided to enter the race also, as a personal test for myself and to give me the confidence in my recovery process.
The drive up there with one of my athletes (also my bestie) Michelle was a load of laughs. I knew how nervous she was, so I felt that it was important to talk through the run with her, but not to get too serious. I have run one 100km trail race and several 50km road and trails, marathons etc, but still I get nervous myself a few days prior to and especially the moment that I put a race bib on.
Race bib pick up brings nerves and excitement. Nerves are good. I believe that they show that you respect the race, the distance, no matter how far it is. These nerves are good as they can be turned into energy, “Positive energy.”
Race day arrives and the weather prediction was right. Overcast with pending showers and a storm. It was muggy and the sky was grey. I’ve always been a glass half full kind of girl, so to me this was good. It meant that it wasn’t going to be as hot and a shower would cool it down for all of us.
We met up with other friends at the race start area and the energy, though nervous, was full of excitement.
Before I knew it, off we went. Running past the start line, out of the driveway and up along the road. Single trails, fire trails, creek crossings and several friendly chats with fellow runners followed. Arriving at the first checkpoint (approx. 18.9kms) I felt great. The volunteers were so helpful and the other runners were very friendly.
Then came those words, “Enjoy the run. Head out back along the path then up the hill.”
Yes, that hill. What a hill. Switch backs continued till we reached the top of the mountain. What a climb, and as the weather was cloudy, the view at the top was mist, mist and more mist. Still there is a beauty in seeing the mist in amongst the trees with runners in amongst it. So peaceful.
What goes up must come down when trail running. The down hill was a welcome change. Chatting to another lady we continued to run the next 12kms together. She had just turned 60, retired and wanted a challenge. 30kms was her longest run prior to tackling this 50kms. Brave, I thought. Maybe a little crazy too, but in my mind I settled on her being mostly brave with a strong spirit. Kudos to the power of the human mind…
Next came a change of terrain. Through the forest where there were puddles and tree roots along the single trails under a dense canopy of trees. Then it got darker as the weather closed in on us. The sky was rumbling as the storm was brewing. Strange, but it was a feeling of calmness. Then there was a single strike of lightening which lit up the path and a large thunder noise followed. Then mother nature opened up and it rained heavy on us for around 10 minutes.
The rain was quite refreshing and bought a smile to my face. The smile was also as I had a thought of my friends that were also running in the rain, somewhere behind me. I knew they would be feeling the same feeling. Nothing quite like running in the rain…
The trail ended, we crossed a road, then back into the trails. Then there was that second hill. This one was steeper, but shorter. Up I went, with a smile all the way. Yes, it was tough, but I’ve been through tougher in my life. This was about me facing this head on. Me controlling the outcome and that was that I was going to get to the top of the hill smiling!
I ran through the next checkpoint as it was a smaller one and I was enjoying the company of the other two runners around me.
The km’s passed as easy as the conversations flowed. Before I realised, I was at the next major checkpoint. The volunteers and the range of food was incredible. They filled my soft flasks and with a quick change of socks I was off again. A quick, well I thought it would be, but sometimes I forget there are hills in trail runs, 4km’s and I was back to the same checkpoint. I passed through this one feeling happy that I now had only 8km’s to the finish line.
Time to start up my live Facebook feed. Back onto the single trails and though again, there were a lot of tree roots, this path was quite runnable. Retracing the familiar steps as the way we began this journey was somewhat comforting as I knew what was ahead.
Coming out of the forest, 3km’s to go. But, these 3km’s were back on the road. Can be tough on the feet, legs and mind. But to me, this is all a challenge, another part of my journey. To make my mind and my body stronger. One foot in front of the other I just kept telling myself. Tap, tap, tap away. The km’s started ticking down. I engaged other runners that were also feeling the same way.
Positive comments create positive energy, and I have personally experiences this, so this is exactly what I like to pass on…
A little, ‘Hey how are you feeling? You’re looking strong, keep going”. Or in this case, I came across a young man (at least half my age). I said the previous words to him and told him to just try to stick with me for a little bit. I looked around a little while later and he was still there. He slipped behind a little, but he was now still running.
I turned and ran down the driveway towards the finish line and felt so overwhelmed with emotions. A huge range of emotions and thoughts. They drifted from my daughter, family, to my friends and all my support back home. Every run is like this for me. No matter what the distance. I have learnt to let myself feel this sense of achievement, sense of pride and that overwhelming feeling of the love and support that I feel at this very moment.
The finish line brings tears and kind words from friends. I love this raw emotion. This is why I run.
The young man then crosses the line and comes over to me and thanks me. The older lady I ran with finishes a while later, approaches me and gives me a cuddle and her tears flow.
My friends and athletes cross the finish line, all in their own time. The sense of achievement is visible through smiles and tears.
This is what running is about for me. This is why I run. This is why I coach.
Ladies, be proud of all of your achievements. Allow yourself to feel these achievements. Live in the moments. Moments are memories. Moments are feelings. Moments will fill your heart and lighten your soul.
Live, Love, Run.. Jodie xx