Well, I did it! I ran a marathon. Never thought I would say I am a marathoner and in the last 14 weeks there were times I thought it would never happen but it’s done!
A group of us from Life Fit and other friends went down to Canberra last Friday. Some of our runners were running in the 10km event on the Saturday morning and it was great to watch them achieve amazingly fast times and the elation on their faces when they finished was priceless! It was good for all the runners running the next day in the half and full marathons to see the set-up of the race, where the start and finish lines were etc. It was also nerve wracking though, knowing that it would be us the next day waiting for the gun to go off and just wishing we too were finished and could go out and celebrate.
The next morning we were up at 4.30 am going through our pre run regime that has become second nature to us. I stuck with what I have been doing throughout our training. Had my porridge and chia seed drink and made sure the vasoline was applied to… well everywhere. I had laid out all my clothes the night before with the race bib attached, my gels were packed, music, headphones, I was all set.
Our start time was 6.25am and it was a lovely crisp morning in Canberra, perfect running conditions. My plan was to start off at my comfortable pace, not too slow but not too fast, I really had no expectations of time. My good goal was just to finish, my great goal was to finish without hitting the wall and my amazing goal was to finish in under 4 hours. As I was running I realised I had fallen in with the 3.45 pacer. They were running at my pace so I thought I would stick with them as long as I could and if I fell back I might still be able to get in under 4 hours. In the past I have tortured myself trying to monitor my pace and worrying if I was falling behind but having a pacer took away all that stress, it felt like our little bunch of runners were carrying each other along.
The Canberra course is actually really scenic which was a welcome distraction and parts of the course doubled back on itself which was great because I got to see my running pals and give each other encouragement as we passed one another. The best part of the run though was when we saw our support crew who scattered themselves along the course to cheer us on. I don’t think they have any idea how important their role was. The lift it gives you to see a friendly face willing you to go on is absolutely unbelievable and I can’t thank them enough.
I counted down the first 10 kms, then the second but I was dreading reaching the 30 km mark as everything I had read said the real race starts at 30kms. That is where I knew I would be in no mans land. After 33km I had never run farther than that in my life and I just didn’t know what would happen. I was aware of the pain in my knee from the 15km mark, I could feel blisters on my feet and could feel the squelch of blood in my shoes from bloody bruised toes but I was okay.
With 5km to go the pacer advised us we were on our own till the end as he had to fall back to help some other runners, I felt panicked that he wasn’t with us any longer but straight away one of the runners in the group fell into step with me. We matched stride for stride the whole way to the finish. We didn’t speak but we knew we were there for each other. When I saw the finish line and saw all our support crew of family and friends cheering me on I felt like I was in the Olympics! It was such a good feeling. Me and the random runner with me crossed the line together! We high fived each other with huge smiles on our faces. We were done. We ran a marathon in 3 hours and 43 minutes.
All of the Life Fit runners and friends who competed on Sunday, did themselves proud. Was it worth it? A resounding YES!! Not one of us regrets doing it and the clairvoyant was right, the Life Fit runners are already talking about the next one!!!
Would I do it again??? It would be nice to beat my time……