Running, I used to hear that word and wonder, would I be ever be able to run long distance? I stood may times at the London marathon cheering runners on from the sideline, watching them hurt, cry, smile some limp in pain but still I wanted to be that person. Every year if I wasn’t at the live event, I would be watching it on tv, hooked like it was a serial drama on BBC.
I watched people run in silly costumes, for charity, for themselves and for loved ones they’d lost and were now running in their memory. I was mesmerised from my sofa most years just looking and wondering, could I?
So, I sit here now typing this blog as I train for my first full marathon, yes you heard right my first full marathon. That once watcher is now a runner and I run because I love it. I love the feeling of accomplishment, the feeling of success, the feeling of release.
You see it wasn’t until I was a mum of 2 beautiful children that I started my real running journey. Before then I had dabbled with triathlon events fumbling through the training and dipping in and out. I was always a plodder and casual enthusiast.
Now at the age of 39 I have achieved so much with my running, I started truly running regularly when my son was 5 months old and I was hit with the reality of being home with my children. As much as I loved them, it was exhausting. My husband was working long hard hours making the best lives for us and though being a stay at home mum was a happy time, I was also in a new country with no friends and family around me. It was tough, day in day out trying to make friends and be the best mum I could when all I wanted to do was curl up, sleep and hope the kids would be adults soon so I could get my life back. Crazy, why would I wish, now I type it I feel horrible, wishing my children’s lives away.
Realisation that I was suffering from a form of post-natal depression hit me when I visited the local doctor for a routine check with the kids, she was English too and knew I’d recently moved and had no family on my doorstep, and we all know an English cup of tea is worth is weight in gold with that loved one. She recognised my ‘lifeless approach to motherhood’ and advised speaking to someone. I obviously told her she was wrong I was absolutely fine and I’m coping.
It was after this visit and a subsequent one that she told me it was ok to be down; it was ok to ask for help and it would be a good idea to speak to my husband and get some support. My daughter was also going through some skin troubles which left her eczema painful and she slept very little she was tired; my son was a baby with baby demands and my husband was working so hard. So simply my needs were swallowed up with the family’s needs so we could all survive.
When I sat and thought of everything this doctor had told me I decided that self-care was key to being the best version of me for my family.
It was one day not long after that I popped my trainers on and went for my first run in a long time. I came back I felt good, I felt release, I felt fresh even though it hurt, it was hard, it was scary, and it was not as easy as I remembered.
My runs increased each week and I started to run with a friend and then met more friends and more friends and soon running was keeping me sane, it was giving me a natural anti-depressant shot. If I didn’t get chance to run, I was cranky, cranky as my son was when he needed a feed.
So, I got myself a double running pram of course, running with 2 children was easy!!! Nothing was stopping me. Then I decided I needed a goal.
So, I decided to run a half marathon, why? I have no idea I just wanted a goal to achieve. I trained in 6 weeks to run my first half marathon through the city of Sydney. I wanted to achieve this goal before I turned 40, I was 35. I ran this half 6 days from my 36th birthday. I was happy, ecstatic and emotionally pumped. I will also add I ran this event with the kindest lady, she posted on a local running page that she wanted to run the event and was looking for someone to pace as she had no set goal, I took her up on the offer and to this day I am truly grateful and in awe of her efforts she put into running with me that day. She was my running angel and will hold a place in my memories for eternity.
Ironically I ran this event again last year in 2018 as a last minute decision and used it purely as a training run, I turned up and met some local ladies from the same run club who were running their first half, we started and about 3km in I saw one of the ladies and we ended up running together and I was able to pay it forward and encourage her to the finish and push her on those tough hills, Macquarie’s chair will always haunt me!
Looking back on my first half I trained well but once I started looking at how I trained I knew I could do better. It was not long after that I decided now that kids were getting bigger, I would study and train to become a Personal Trainer. During my training I learnt so much, so much of how my training was so wrong!!!!
Since I’ve completed my PT studies, I went on to work in a local gym and gained a lot of experience and knowledge and understanding the biometrics of our bodies has helped me get stronger and dare I say it faster and more efficient in my running. Consistency is key to success I’ve discovered and over the years I took a back step with running while training other people to reach their goals in the gym.
Now I am back, I have a balance and also have studied nutrition to help me focus on my food and fuel whilst training which has helped me no end.
This is my year, I will run my first marathon with those memories of looking at all those runners in the London marathon over the years and I will do it regardless of time, I will run it knowing my body can achieve so much if my head allows it and I will run it knowing my children will be watching and one day they will see the journey they have given me because if I had not had those babies I don’t know if I ever would have realised life is short, sweet and we need to do everything we can in the time we have to believe in ourselves to achieve. “
“SHE BELIEVED SHE COULD, SO SHE DID”