By JO ABI.
I am aching from head to toe. I am aching in places I didn’t know I could ache. But I did it. I ran 8 kilometres in the Mother’s Day Classic at The Domain in Sydney on Sunday and I feel fabulous; fabulous but incredibly sore.
Here I am – a 37-year-old novice runner and a tired mother-of-three. The longest I’ve ever run non-stop is 4 kilometres. I’ve done some Body Attack classes at the gym. I’ve played soccer with my kids. I’ve always wanted to do a marathon or a half-marathon. This event was the perfect way to start.
I’d been preparing for this event for 6 weeks prior. My first step had been to get fitted at The Athlete’s Foot for a proper pair of running shoes, where I walked away with a pair of Brooks Trance runners. Once I had the shoes, I knew I could plan out my outfit. – pink, pink and more pink. Not only did they coordinate well, they really helped in my training. It was a motivation just knowing I was preparing the right way with the correct shoes. I made sure I stuck to my plan each week: two cardio classes at the gym and two 4km runs around my local area. My goal was to make sure I could run 4kms start to finish.
While training, I was also fundraising. I’ve only raised a few hundred dollars, but every dollar counts when it comes to breast cancer research and this is only my first year. Everyone I’ve approached has been happy to donate. We all know of someone with or who has been affected by breast cancer.
When I arrived at the event, I couldn’t wipe the smile off my face. It looked incredible. There were so many people dressed in special costumes, wigs, superhero outfits, pink boas, tutus… Everyone was with a friend, a family or a group, the atmosphere was awesome. Stalls selling different delicious foods were set up. A coffee cart, a breastfeeding and nappy changing tent were doing big business. Someone was handing out free packets of jelly beans!
I also spent time chatting to people about why they were there. Most knew someone battling breast cancer, many had lost someone to the disease. The tribute wall where participants pinned names and notes to those they’d lost filled quickly. It was emotional but inspiring and it gave you a great sense of purpose to be there.
The 8 kilometre runners were called. We were led through an aerobic warm up. It was so fun and there was a lot of laughter. Then we started walking to the starting line. A lot of the chit chat stopped. We were all trying to get as close to the front as possible.
“Wow, I’m pretty fit,” I thought to myself. “This is going to be easy.”
I had to be just about finished when a volunteer called out, “Almost half way.”
“Um, what? WHAT?” A voice shouts in my head.
I thought I was almost done. ALMOST half way. Oh God, I was never going to make it. NEVER.
It was at around the 6 kilometre mark that my right ankle started to throb and the inside part up my leg. (What’s that called?) And then my right butt cheek.
And I was chaffed under my arms. It was positively stinging. I would have paid $50 for some talcum powder. I tried to splash some water under them but it didn’t quite make contact.
Still, I kept on going. Some runners walked a little and started running again but I just knew that if I stopped running I’d never start again. I kept on going.
The last kilometre was the hardest. Now I know why people vomit during exercise. I did see some casualties along the way. But these were minimal. It was so well organised, the health and safety tips so clear, multiple drink stations kept us hydrated and volunteers yelling out and cheering us on the entire way. I loved each and every one of them as they propelled me forward with their enthusiasm.