Was it worth it?

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Well, it’s done!

After months and months of pounding the pavement for hours on end, getting up in the dark, running in the rain, giving up my creature comforts and lets not even start on the numerous injuries and body breakdowns, but it is finally done and dusted!

Yip, last Saturday I ran 21.1 km’s! This was a huge goal for me and something I never thought I could do. I was told years ago, my knee’s would never hold up and to take up another hobby like walking or knitting!! But I am stubborn and don’t like to be told I can’t do anything so I persevered, stuck to my plan and I did it!

All week I had been so nervous and wondering what on earth I was doing? Could I even do it? I had put in the hard yards but when it comes down to the day, would I make it? Would my nerves get the better of me? Was this an unrealistic goal I had set myself? What was I thinking!

On the day my nerves were actually pretty good, I only went bathroom a couple of times (which is really good for me when I am nervous!) and I felt great. I don’t know if it was the sports beans I had for breakfast, the fact that it was nearly over, or the prayer covering I knew I had over me, but I felt like I could actually do this and my energy levels were amazing! I lined up with around 4000 other people and the gun went off!

There were so many people it took me 3 minutes just to get to the start line, and even then, couldn’t move quicker than a walk without tripping over someone! My 1st km was by far the slowest, but I had been warned of that happening so I wasn’t panicking just yet. Once I was able to break free from the crowds, I just put one foot in front of the other and ran…….

I had set out faster than what I had planned, but thought I would slow it down when I got too tired. But that never happened….. I just kept running at that pace for the whole race. There was a huge bunch of people from Church that had come down to cheer us all on and that honestly made a huge difference. It’s amazing what a friendly face and some encouraging words can do to keep you moving. Phil and the kids were at several spots along the way cheering me on, and I can tell you, there is nothing like the people closest to you believing in you and cheering you on to keep those legs moving! Plus, I never knew when I would see them so didn’t want to walk in case that was the moment they turned up! If they believed I could do it, then maybe I actually could!

So I ran. And I ran. And I ran. For 2 hours, 8 minutes and 28 seconds I ran till I crossed that finish line. And once I crossed that line, you couldn’t wipe the grin off my face. I had done it! I was stoked and still a little surprised! I had set myself 3 goals for the day: To finish, to run the whole thing and to do it under 2:20…….. nailed all 3! Man, what a feeling!

As the day went on, the euphoria started wearing off and the aches and pains started kicking in. After a long soak in the bath, I was ready for bed by 8pm and could hardly walk up the stairs to crawl into bed. Every time I turned in the night I could feel another part of me aching somewhere! Really, the things we put ourselves through!

So, was it worth it? Absolutely! Would I do it again? Not this week! But I never say never! It’s amazing what you can achieve when you break through those mental barriers, when you put in the hard yards and set yourself a goal.

I am living proof that anyone can achieve something they never thought they could. I have a sign hanging in my office that says “Every accomplishment starts with the decision to try.” So go on! Get out there! Set yourself a goal and work towards it. It doesn’t have to be running, it can be anything, but in the immortal words of Nike “Just do it!” You may even surprise yourself as much as I did!

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Just over a week till its all Over!

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Yip, that’s right!

This time in 10 days, I will be on the other side. Done and dusted. Finished. Completed. OVER!

Yip, my half marathon will be done. Biggest goal I think I have ever set myself will be completed, well at least I hope it will be completed. I have been having a few dreams (well, more like nightmares!) lately that I don’t quite cross the finish line! You know things like getting hit by a car, running in the wrong direction, and sleeping through my alarm and missing the whole thing. I’m sure I am not the only runner to have these dreams…… Am I?

It has been a very long 6 months of training, and I’m not just talking about pounding the pavement for hours every week! I have been tired, grumpy, tired, hungry, and tireder than anything! I have drained my body of all the iron stores it had, and have pushed it beyond what it could do! I have blisters and callous’s on my feet and most of my toenails have turned black! I have eat, slept, and lived running and it would be fair to say I have become a little more than obsessed with it! Do I love it? Well, that is up for debate, but I am definitely addicted!

My family has been amazing at encouraging and supporting me and listening to my continuous Ramblings about running and everything related to it. Phil has been on 90% of the training runs with me. He has run further than he ever has before and been my biggest cheerleader, I could not have gotten this far without him. He pushed himself through his comfort zones just so I can achieve my goal. Then there is my coach who has been amazing too. Answering all my e-mails, at all hours of the day. E-mails that with no doubt, are some of the silliest of questions. Without his plan and guidance, I would have given up months ago! But there is nothing like accountability to family and friends who support you to get you out of bed at 6am on a cold Saturday morning!

But alas, I speak as though I have already crossed that finish line! Nope, I still actually have to get out there on Saturday week, line up with the thousands of other crazies, and run for 21.1 k’s. To be honest, I am nervous, worried, and unsure if I can do it. The training plan would tell me otherwise, so I just need to fight the negative thoughts, know I have put in the hard yards and know that I can do this!

Yip, I’m sure I’m not the only one who will be glad when this is all over.

Now for my next goal…..

a a running


I Quit Running!

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Today, I think that would be an easy option……. To just quit running!
I have blisters on my feet, a strained hamstring, I am tired, my runs are getting longer and its getting colder in the mornings!

It’s only 6 weeks till, I am supposed to get up at the crack of dawn, put on my running shoes and run 21.1 k’s with 5000 other people!

To be honest, I am SO nervous! Now, I’m not exactly sure what I am so nervous about. I’m not sure if it’s the fact I still don’t think I can run that far. Maybe it’s that I don’t want to come last. Or maybe it’s a huge fear of failure in the eyes of others!

Actually, I think it is a combination of all the above, but I am telling myself this week “So what?”

  • So what if I don’t actually run the entire way?
  • So what if I come last?
  • So what if I don’t actually finish?

I am learning that it isn’t always about the destination, but it is more about the journey!

Sure, it’s going to be amazing when I cross that finish line, but what about all the milestones and goals I have hit along the way:

Running 3 personal bests in one week.
Running more km’s in a week and month than I ever thought possible.
Getting up at 5.30 in the dark and the rain and running for 1 and a half hours.
Sticking to a running plan for 8 weeks.
Being disciplined and running 5 days a week.
Battling the voices in my head telling me I can’t…… And winning!

Or the personal benefits:

Spending more time with Phil (yes, he keeps me company on most runs)
Being fitter than I have ever been.
Buying a smaller pair of jeans.
Feeling happier and healthier.
Having more energy.

Yip, the finish line will be amazing, but actually today I stand amazed at what I have achieved so far. For a 40 something-year-old chick who honestly couldn’t even run for 3 minutes when I started 18 months ago, I think I am doing pretty good!

So actually, I am not quitting running this week! As much as I want to some day, it’s not an option for me! In fact, I am running further and faster than I ever have and fighting off the voices in my head telling me I can’t do it. I choose not to take the easy option and just quit, but to keep fighting for the goal that lies in front of me, a goal which I know I will hit. It will be well earned and deserved and I’m sure the Big Mac at the end of the race will never have tasted so good!

a journey


I did it!

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It was just an ordinary Sunday. Nothing that you would write home about. But this Sunday was not as ordinary as what it seemed. This Sunday was going to be a milestone for me.

I set my alarm and got up early. I hate running late, and today was not one of those days I needed to worry about time. I had myself a hearty breakfast, actually I hate breakfast but am learning that I need to fuel my body, so breakfast it was! I endured my way through cereal and fresh fruit followed by a protein shake.

I went to the bathroom about a million times before I got dressed. I had carefully chosen my outfit, nothing too flashy, comfortable, practical. Hair loosely pulled back in a ponytail, tidy, but out of the way! Shoes, where were my shoes? Shoes are important on a day like this. Breathe Kathy, just breathe! They were exactly where I had left them the night before! (Of course)

Nerves!
Those jolly nerves were starting to kick in and I was off to the toilet again, wondering why I had drunk so much water when really, all it does is go straight through me. Come on Kathy, get yourself together, you can do this! Thousands of people do this, and so can you!

We jumped in the car and Phil was great talking me through the morning. We arrived at our destination and got a park no problem. I couldn’t believe the amount of people that were there. Who would have thought there were so many crazy people out there, all having the same idea!

I found the nearest port-a-loo and made good use of it before we lined up with all the other crazies!

Next thing, we were off.

The adrenaline was kicking in and I was off to a good start. Phil had agreed to be my coach and pacesetter for the day. He was legendary, so encouraging and motivational which is so what I needed as a quarter of the way in, my legs were starting to ache to the point that all I wanted to do was lie down and give up. But giving up was not an option. I had worked too hard to get to this point, and today was the day I had to push through!

So I kept going. Admittedly, some points were slower than others, but I kept moving my feet, one foot in front of the other till I had done it!

Yip, I had done it! I had run my first official 10k!

I was exhausted. I had the biggest blister on my foot, my legs were still aching, my face was redder than a redder thing, and I’m sure I was not looking at my peak…… But I had done it!

This was a big achievement for me seeings this time last year I couldn’t even run for 200 meters without stopping, and now I had just run 10k.

My goal of a half marathon still seems a long way off, but I am learning to tackle my goals one step at a time (literally) and I will get there.

But for now I will revel in the glory of my 10k!

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Pounding the Pavement!

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In case you were wondering the answer is yes!

Yes, I am still running! I haven’t written about it for a while, but I am still out there 3-4 days a week pounding the pavement!

Image 5Some days I love it. I hit the road and I feel like wonder woman, unstoppable, unbeatable and running like the wind! Other days, it’s not quite so majestic….. I am more like a telly tubby bouncing along the road, face redder than a beet-root and wondering again to myself “Why am I doing this?”

But there are benefits to this crazy running thing. My weight has stabilized, even with my weekly dose of french fries, I am feeling so much more motivated and I have actually noticed this week that I am getting fitter. My times now compared to January are quicker and I am running further.

So this is all lovely and good, but the purpose of this blog is not to pat myself on the back but to challenge myself!

You know, sometimes you have a goal or a dream that you are working towards but if you don’t tell anyone, then there’s no one to hold you accountable. There’s also no one to see you fail if you don’t quite make it, and so sometimes we don’t share our goals, so no one will see if we don’t make it.

That’s where I am at with my running. I have a goal, but if I don’t tell anyone, and I don’t make it, no one will be any the wiser and I won’t have failed in their eyes! But there is also no one to cheer me on, on the days where I just can’t be bothered (and yes, I do have those days!) So I am telling you. I am sharing my goal so there is no turning back or backing down from this. The moment I type those words, it is done, I am committed.

Ok, here I go….

“I am going to run a Half Marathon”

 

There! I have done it! I have put it out there. I’m kinda glad you can’t actually see how long it has taken me to type those words! But if I don’t put it out there, I have no accountability and can chicken out at any stage. And actually, I don’t want to do that!

It is a scary goal for me. The thought of running 21k’s seems absolutely impossible at the moment, but then again so did 5k’s this time last year! So I guess I just need to put one foot in front of the other…..for a whole 21k’s!

Even though I am doubting myself today, I have to believe I can do this, and lucky for you, you get to travel this journey with me!

Right, the next decision of the day, do I go put on my running shoes or sit by the fire with a hot chocolate and my book………..


Done & Dusted!

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Man, I am so proud of this photo!

It’s a photo of me and my 2 sisters at the end of our 3rd race with our “Finisher Medals” That medal hanging around my neck is actually worth more to me than gold!

You would not believe the blood, sweat and tears (and I can tell you there were a few tears along the way, ok tantrums too, but tantrums were not part of my saying!) that went into getting that medal, which now hangs proudly on my mirror as a reminder every day that when I set my mind to something……. I can achieve it!

The third race was going to be my crowning glory. The cherry on top. The Pièce de résistance. Now my second race had gone better than my first and so this time I was determined to better my time again.

This race there were over 1000 people at the start line so things were even more congested than the last 2 races…… But this time I was ready, I had my elbows in position and I was ready for anybody who got in my way! Don’t mess with a girl on a mission!

Once again, we were off. I had a great start to the race, but by half way round I had the stitch so bad I thought I was going to vomit (sorry, doesn’t paint a pretty picture I know, but just being honest) I was so sure all that extra training would pay off and I would skip across that finish line in a world record, but alas, it was not meant to be.

Now I have been told that not every time you go out for a run you will perform your best, you won’t always have a better time than the last time you ran. Some days, you’re just not wonder woman, in fact, some days you don’t even come close.

I have to admit I was pretty proud of myself as I crossed that line and I was handed my medal. Ok, so I know that everyone who crossed that line got a medal, regardless of your time, but for me it was more the fact that I had actually started in the first place!

As I mulled over my race and we got our official times, I realized that I was 20 seconds slower than the second race. I got madder and madder at myself! As the day wore on I was on a downward spiral……..

Why didn’t I push myself harder? (Any harder and I think I may have blown a fufu valve)

Why didn’t I train more? (I trained as much as I possibly could without killing myself)

Why didn’t I stay focused? (Any more focused and the runner in front of me would have had burn marks on her back)

Why? Why? Why?

Why didn’t I do this, why didn’t I do that, why didn’t I just do better?

I have come to realize over the years that I am a perfectionist. Now I am working on it, but when things like this happen, I throw myself under the first bus I see and look at all the negatives instead of the positives. All this over 20 seconds!

I forget that I just ran 5k’s – something I couldn’t do 6 months ago.

I forget that I did my best – and my family is so proud of me.

I forget that I just achieved a goal I set myself – and actually I should be proud of myself too.

I forgot that I stuck to an 8 week training plan and did it!

I was so focused on what I felt I hadn’t done, instead of what I had actually achieved.

When I stopped beating myself up, took a deep breath, and had a coke zero, I realized that actually, I’m not as bad as I make out I am. I am learning more and more to celebrate who I am and not compare myself to everyone around me. On the scales of things, 20 seconds was not going to ruin my life!

Turns out over the series of 3 runs, I came 42nd out of 273 female runners and 12th out of 76 in my age group. Not too shabby for an old girl who eats too many fries!

 

 

 


It’s Official, I am a Runner!

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The day was here.

Everything I had been working for so hard over the last 3 months has led me to this place. I was lined up with 500 other people ready to hit the pavement and run 5k’s!

  • Really?
  • I think I need to pee!
  • Am I ready for this?
  • Maybe I should have gone for another run this week to make sure I was ready!
  • Yip, I do need to pee?
  • What if I am not ready?
  • What if I can’t do this?
  • I’m sure I need to pee again!
  • What if I trip?
  • What if I trip someone else?
  • What if my timing chip doesn’t work?
  • Seriously, I definitely need to pee again!

Despite all the chaos and scenarios going around in my head, I was about to run in my first ever official race. The time had come and whether I was ready or not, I was about to do it!
I had been to the toilet a zillion times (yes, I’m sure that is an official number!) before we got to the race and the first thing I needed to do was find the portaloo!

As we all lined up and the hooter went off I turned to my sisters (yip, we had dragged my other sister into this crazy journey with us. Hey, if we have to do this we might as well drag in more family members for the pain!) and said “See you at the other end” and in my head I was saying “See you at the other end…… Hopefully”

Now, to be honest, I’m not sure exactly what I was thinking. Maybe I thought the adrenaline would kick in and the fact that I was running with 500 other people would help me. Like I would all of a sudden become athletic, that I would bounce along, full of energy, smiling and doing my royal wave at all the people cheering us on. I think my vision got clouded with images from “Chariots of Fire” I saw myself running in slow motion, my ponytail flowing behind me, beautiful, elegant, majestic even!

But once again, as it tends to happen in my life, reality kicked in! I was sucking in air like there was no tomorrow (actually at that point I don’t know if there was going to be a tomorrow!) I was fighting with the person next to me for a space (hello people, have you not heard of “personal space”) but at the same time seeing if I could  suck in some of their air as I didn’t seem to have enough of my own. My legs were heavy, my lungs burning at capacity and  my head telling me to “Run fat girl, run!”

As we hit the 1k mark, I was like “Seriously 1k? You have got to be kidding me! I feel like I have been out here for 7 hours already, and I’ve only done 1 measly k!” Maybe I read the sign wrong, maybe it was a 4….. Nope, it was definitely a 1!

Right, time for backup!

“God, please help this unfit, un co-ordinated, coke zero addicted, french fry lover, (Hmmm french fries, Kathy, get your head back in this race!) 41 year old to keep going and get to the end, no matter how undignified I may look when I cross the finish line. God, please help me to dig deep, and do this. Amen, oh and if you could please help my sisters too, that would be awesome. Amen. Oops, sorry one more thing, please help my face to not be too red and sweaty when I get to the end. Amen, for real this time!

And so I ran! I gave it all I had and you know what…… I finished the race!

I was stoked with my time and did way better than I thought I would!

Thank you Lord, one down, two to go!

1st run


I think I can, I think I can, actually I don’t think I can!

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I’ve hit the wall!

This running thing is getting the better of me. I see people out running and they all look so athletic, so trim, no wobbly bits as they bounce along, making it look so easy and effortless. As if they were running in a Disney movie with blue birds on their shoulders and deer and cute wee bunnies hopping along beside them. Me, well, there are no bluebirds or bunnies (step away bunnies, otherwise you will get trampled) just the cold hard reality, the wind in my face, the bugs flying into my mouth as I fight to suck in enough air to keep me alive another day.

No, things are definitely not looking pretty at this stage!

But I have learnt that when you hit that wall, you bring out your sledge hammer and you smash it down! Don’t ever believe that the wall in front of you is too big to climb over, or better still, smash it down completely. The easy thing would be for me to give up. To use my old “sore tummy or stubbed toe” excuse and tell myself its ok, at least I gave it a go!

What if all those great people out there had not succeeded at what they set out to do, but just “gave it a go”

What if Sir Edmund Hillary had stopped half way up the Mountain?

What if Thomas Edison had quit at trying to make a light bulb?

What if Levi Straus had stopped short of creating denim?

Or worse still, what if John Pemberton had given up on inventing Coke? (Sorry, just had to catch my breath there for a minute, that thought is beyond comprehension!)

Now I’m not saying that my running is going to change the world, but it is going to change my world, and that can only be a good thing!

So I persevere. It’s not pretty. It’s not glamorous. Most days it’s not even co-ordinated but I am out there, running, despite all my excuses and attempts at quitting.

And you know what…… I can now run for 20 minutes without stopping! Ok, so its not the New York Marathon (yet!), but for me its a huge achievement. I set my mind to it and I did it.

You place a wall in front of me, you’d better watch out, this girl has a sledge hammer and she’s not afraid to use it!


Run Fat Girl, Run!

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Now back in the day, you just ran!

You put on your shoes and hit the road. If you were lucky you had a watch and could time yourself, but that’s about as fancy as it got. Today, there are app’s and stat’s for everything! How anyone runs these days without knowing how far, what time, how many cal’s you have burnt, or knowing you did better than last time beats me! I downloaded a couch to 5k app on my phone and hit the pavement. I was going to face this challenge head on…….

Honestly, the first run just about killed me. I was sucking in air like there was no tomorrow, my jelly legs all of a sudden couldn’t hold my weight and I could feel the earth shaking under me with every step I took. “The baby elephant walk” tune kept running through my head and I could feel the looks of pity I got as people drove past and were probably wondering what this poor girl was doing to herself, and wondering if they should actually call an ambulance! And to let you in on a wee secret….I was only running for 1 1/2 minutes at a time! How on earth did I think I was ever going to run 5k’s non-stop!

Come on, run fat girl, run! Ok, so I am not really a fat girl (sure we could all lose a couple of pounds, but generally I am in good health!) but when I hit the road, I was sure it was going to crumble under my heavy pounding and I would owe the council millions, as they fixed up the footpaths in the wake of my runs. I felt, heavy, un-co, and was really starting to wonder “Cause why am I doing this?”

But there’s nothing like accountability and I knew I would have to check in with my sis at the end of the week, so I persevered. It’s one thing to fail in your own mind, but it’s another thing to fail in the eyes of someone else.

Surely this was going to get easier?


Dont tell me I cant, cause you know I will!

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Ever set yourself a challenge?

I don’t mean one of those ones where you swear you won’t eat anything between breakfast and lunch, but one of those challenges that is actually going to take some determination and grit?

Well, that is what I did in October, here’s how it all went down…..

You see, I am not a runner! For as long as I can remember, I have not run. It is “not my thing” and something I have avoided at any cost. I think the furthest I had run was the 100 meter dash through an airport to find a toilet. When all the other kids were running cross country around the school field, I was in the sick bay with a sore tummy or a stubbed toe, or was it a headache that week, I can’t remember, but whatever it was, it was enough to keep me off the running track!

I’m not sure if it was fear of failure, you know that deep seeded fear of coming last, embarrassment of my girly bits as I got older, the fact I have had 5 operations on my knee’s or just pure laziness, but whatever the reason, it was enough to keep me off my feet and on the couch for the last 40 years!

So skip forward to Oct 2012 and my sister Chris and I was at McDonalds having breakfast after dropping her husband at a half marathon. We were chowing down on our hash browns and McMuffin and feeling sorry for all the crazy people who were putting their bodies on the line that morning! As we watched some of the runners coming in, we were surprised at the “shape” of some of them. Not everyone crossing the finish line was athletic, trim, legs as long as giraffe’s and sporting all the latest gear.

Hmmm, maybe we could actually do this.

Maybe I could actually run. The more we talked the more excited (yes, I did use the word excited!) I got and as I finished my fat laden brekkie, what started as a crazy idea started to become a crazy reality. Imagine if we set a goal and I actually hit it!

The challenge was on, we were going to register for a series of 3 5k races in Jan, Feb & March. That would give us a few months to get in shape and see if we could pull off this miracle!

I guess all I needed to do now is actually get out there and run………..