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NSW Central Coast Photographer – Marathon Dreaming

A year ago I set out to get myself back into shape. After having my daughters, I let myself go and didn’t give ‘ME’ any time. Everything I did was for them and I forgot to look after myself. I stopped exercising, I ate whatever I liked and I got soft around the edges. I was unhappy with how I looked and felt but didn’t have the energy to do anything about it.

So one year ago, I made some decisions to get myself mentally and physically in a better position. I joined the Michelle Bridges 12 week body transformation and lost 12 kilograms. I was stronger and healthier both physically and mentally. I am now in a healthy weight range and feel great about my future.

In my teens and 20’s I shied away from any exercise. Would avoid it at all costs if I could. Then I started bushwalking and met my now husband. We both started to run and I just love how it makes me feel. A year before Alice was born, I ran my first marathon. I had a terrible day, getting sick during the run with stomach cramps and didn’t do as well as I had hoped. I thought maybe one day I’d like to try again. I am by no means a fast runner, more of a shuffler but I just love to get out there and give it a go.

So last year when I got back into a fitness routine, my love of running returned. It got me thinking that I should try and do another marathon. Determination kicked in and I set myself some goals. Another marathon would be possible this year, a goal of under 4 1/2 hours and no walking. I wanted to run this one more comfortably than the last.

With these goals constantly in my mind, I set out for 4 months of training. I followed a novice program I found on the internet that suited my lifestyle with 2 young children. Halfway through I had knee pain and was doubting whether I’d make it to the start line. With some physiotherapy treatments and exercises, my knee came good and I was back out there on the roads. Some of the weekly long runs were soul destroying. Long, hot days during the middle of the day in our summer time. Dehydrated and in pain, my mental state was beginning to go on a downward spiral again. Though one thing about me is I’m STUBBORN!!! There is no way I was going to give up no matter how down I got on myself. My amazing husband started taking days off work to do the long runs with me and keep me focussed. He was going to run the marathon with me and while he can run a lot faster than me and it would be really difficult for him to slow to my pace for that long, he was determined to stay with me.

The morning of the Marathon arrived and I was a bit nervous but felt well prepared. I’d had a week of doing very little exercise and felt positive. I knew that I’d finish but was doubting I’d make my goals of under 4 1/2 hours and no walking. It was crowded and the first 10km it was pretty congested but the spectators and scenery of Canberra kept my mind off the actual race. Canberra is beautiful this time of year with Autumn colour and hot air balloons above Parliament House was pretty spectacular. I was just running along taking it all in and by the time we got halfway, I realised that I was actually doing a pretty good pace for me. I was happy to know that if I kept up my pace for this long, I’d have enough time to slow down towards the end when I was really fatigued and not feel too guilty about it.

Coming into 30km I was really surprised to discover I had run under 3 hours which was faster than any training run I’d completed. I actually felt pretty good. I did start to slow down and after 35km I was getting even slower but I knew by then that I’d make my goals and the positive thoughts started to outweigh the tired, sore legs and few negative thoughts that were creeping in. The crowds along the roads were amazing with cheering every runner on.

We finished our race in 4 hours 15 minutes and 44 seconds. My husband stuck by my side the entire time and when he put his hand out at the finish line to hold mine, I could have cried.

During all my training, I said this would be my last one. I just wanted to finish a marathon comfortably and feel proud of myself. However, not even a week after the run and I’m already looking for the next one. And for the first time ever, I actually consider myself a runner and not a jogger. It feels pretty awesome.

I think that if you have a  goal, no matter how small or big. It doesn’t have to be exercise related, it could be something crafty, gardening, writing a book, photography based – whatever it is, put your mind to it and give it a go. It’s amazing what a bit of determination can do. You will only fail if you don’t try.

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