Okay, I’ll get it out of the way.  Running is hard, running a marathon is ridiculous, why would anyone want to do it, why the hell did I decide to do it in the first place, blah blah blah, oh god please kill me now.

That’s my usual spiel, and that’s how I always feel 3 km into any run I do.  Still.  But a few things have changed since my last blog, and the differences are incredible.

Yes, my last blog was ages ago. There’s a few reasons for that.  But the most important one is that I didn’t think I was going to make it to the start line of the Melbourne Marathon, so I was a bit embarrassed about continuing to blog when I was just going to fail anyway.

Training for a marathon is just not what I thought it would be.  I thought it would be hard slog to push myself to run a little bit longer, and a little bit further.  Don’t get me wrong, it IS that, but it’s also about managing injuries that pop up when you start to push yourself that little harder.

Because I’m not a seasoned runner, this was bound to happen.  Every time I get a little niggle that pops up, I talk to Michael, our functional movement specialist here, and he figures out what I’m doing wrong and gives me exercises to build up the muscles that aren’t working properly.  But in his words, it’s like trying to change a tyre while the car is still moving.

What I SHOULD have been doing was running for a couple of years before I started to load up on the k’s.  But I didn’t, and I’m still going.

And there’s a few reasons why I haven’t let anything defeat me yet.

Firstly, I’ve got myself a coach.  This guy:

Running Coach Chris Wright

Chris Wright breezed into the clinic one day to have a look around our Recovery Centre.  He’s an amabassador for Nokkon – active lifestyle services and product company that aims to support those who are out there helping others to live healthier lives.  Chris invited me to join a running crew that meets at 6.05am on Tuesdays – all levels, all shapes and sizes.  It had occurred to me before that I might need some running buddies for support and motivation, so I said yes and fronted up to meet the 605 crew the next morning.

I got a lot more than I expected.  I thought it would be a casual run and some nice chats with people that share running as a common interest.

What I got was an entry into the Running Community – bucketloads of support, truckloads of encouragement, and a whole heap of lovely new friends.

605 Running Crew

The 605 Crew

The running community is incredible – they support each other tirelessly.  We share and celebrate each other’s achievements and commiserate our low points – after all, we’re all going through the same thing.  We all run for a reason, weather it’s to see how far we can push ourselves, or connect with other runners, or to beat back our demons.

The 605 crew gave me an entry into this community, and I’m so glad I joined.  If I hadn’t, I wouldn’t have made it this far.

We do it in the dark!

So with the 605 crew having my back and Chris on board as my coach and cheerleader, I was on the right path.  Chris designed me a training program to help me get to the Melbourne Marathon without dying.  My first big milestone on this path would be the half-marathon.  So with my heart in my mouth I entered the Run Melbourne Half Marathon.

The Half was a lot harder than I expected.  Mostly because I’d set myself the ridiculous goal of trying to do it in under 2 hours, which is too much for a first timer (especially one that only started running at the start of the year!)  I struggled very badly, and made a few stupid mistakes.  I took on too much water beforehand, and had to stop to pee twice.  I didn’t run with a pacer, and I didn’t have my Strava telling me how fast I was going.  I hadn’t trained on enough hills, so every slight incline took it out of me.  So consequently, even though I finished the half marathon in an incredible time – 2.04 – I spent the rest of the day crying because I was so disappointed that I didn’t break 2 hours.

That’s me at the end of my race!

So I cried, but it was a nice kind of crying, the kind where you’re disappointed, but also kind of happy that you’re experiencing life and all it’s ups and downs.  You know, sad but happy that you get to experience the sad.  It was weirdly nice and horribly disheartening at the same time.

And now I have another goal to beat before the end of the year – a sub 2 hour half marathon.

But before then, I have to finish this marathon!  Until now, I wasn’t sure I was going to make it.  After the half marathon, my body decided to start letting me know that what I was trying to do was ridiculous.  First, my ankle was giving me grief, then my knee, then my hip, and now I’m feeling the dreaded cramp of Plantar Fasciitis.

I’m incredibly lucky to have access to our Recovery Centre.  I’m in the ice baths after every run, I chill out in the far infrared sauna, and I’m always hanging on our lounges with the recovery pump boots.  It’s been essential in getting me this far.

And I’m still going.

And on Friday, I managed my last long run before taper.  I ran 35km, and I’m still alive.

I think I can do this.  I HAVE to do this.

Wish me luck!