Saturday, July 9, 2011

The End Of the Journey?

So now it's my turn to record the culmination of 20 weeks of training for the GC 1/2 marathon.
To say I have learnt a lot along the way would be an understatement and as with most things, the more I learn, the more I realise I DON"T know about running.

Even so, I do feel like I can call myself a runner now- I think completing a 'half' qualifies that and I am no longer an impostor runner. Still a fairly new runner at less than a year in the game, but I AM A RUNNER.

That day at the Gold Coast was honestly one of the best days of my life. Not in a 'giving birth amazing' kind of way, but it was such a nerve-wracking and quite emotionally high experience. In fact I think I was on a high for most of the race and felt like I was running a dream (now I just sound weird).

I learnt a lot in the last few weeks of training, especially in the long runs I did with Maddi and Dan. The first thing was that I sucked on hills and Maddi surging up ahead of me freaked me out just a bit. So I did include some more hill work leading up to it. I learnt that I am a steady runner, but not much else. I tried to improve on that too with a bit more 'speed' work.

I learnt that it is really important to run with someone else even just a couple of times before a big run. Maddi and I worked well together and quickly learnt each other's strengths and weaknesses. We decided to run together because of that on the day and it worked.

In the first half of the 1/2 we were mostly telling each other to slow down because we had a game plan to stick to! It's hard not to resist ducking in front of people all the time... It was so cool to be able to chat together (another big win - talking and running at the same time) and talk about the friends we have made along the 12wbt journey. We saw the back of Jess Rush (thanks to her Uniform shirt) at one stage but she quickly left us behind! and we yelled out to Nix who was on the turn back, but I think that was when Katie had caught her and tapped her on the shoulder so they didn't hear us. Oh well, we were going to catch up after the race!

We were lucky to have our men supporting us along the way too - a great idea of Dan's to take bikes and keep ahead of us along the way. They rode with us for a while in the last few ks which was pretty cool. Perhaps that was why I enjoyed this run so much? The other runs I have done have been very much alone and it's just not the same.

Then we did go a bit quiet - a couple of times Maddi looked so stressed I thought she was crying (squeezing your butt cheeks will do that to you apparently) and I had to ask if she was OK, but she was not going to give up.

My longest training runs which were 16, 19 and 20k were really tough, literally just able to put one foot after the other in the last few ks. So when the number 17k sign appeared it was a such a surprise to feel so great still, then 18 was ticked off and only 3 to go! ('shut up' said Maddi) But the last three went easily too and to run INTO the crowd of supporters was so cool - there was Kirsty and Co waving madly at us over the fence.

We did a little ducking and weaving right at the end (the running field just never seemed to thin out much over the whole run) and Maddi and I grabbed for each other to run over the line together. So emotional - the relief and culmination of all that training.

Happy Finisher!

Our marathoner Keren x
What a feeling!

It was so cool to be able to get together as a group afterwards and cheer in our marathoners and share a sausage sanga (thanks Kirsty!), jelly beans and red frogs.  All those medals together!