Being apart of the elite field in the build up to an international gold label marathon is an experience of a lifetime and one I feel very honored to have been apart of. Its not every day you are treated like royalty and get to be surrounded by some of the worlds best runners, such talent, I was in awe.
This time was the first time my husband has ever traveled with me to a big race, how blessed I was to have this guy by my side. I’m honestly not sure I would have made it to that start line if it wasn’t for him.
The 3 May arrived, it was race day, and I was excited but had no idea what lay ahead. I felt ok, emotionally flat but was trying to hang onto any bit of bounce I could muster up because I had decided to run, I was running for my Barbs and I was ready to run my heart out for the hard brave battle she had fought against cancer.
We were transported to the special elite changing area where we were able to relax and warm up as we wished; I was actually surprisingly quiet calm. I was actually calming a Swedish friend I had met who seemed quiet nervous.
As I stood on the start line ready to go, I looked up at the sky and said “THIS ONES FOR YOU BARBS, my angel in heaven”. The atmosphere was insane, the crowds were shouting and I was so happy to be apart of this incredible experience.
I was calm, I was as ready as I could be and finally we were off! The first 5km came and went by easily, the pace was fine and I was taking it all in. At about 8km we ran over some nasty cobbles stones, something I’m not used to at all and by 9km I felt my knee niggle. I got quiet a fright. So early, how and why but tried to stay calm and roll with it hoping it wouldn’t get any worse. By 21km I was in so much pain and when I looked down at my leg it looked like an elastic band bending out, I was loosing control of it and battling to just run let alone endure the pain but something deep inside me just wouldn’t let me stop. I was running for BARBS. She had suffered so much and this was nothing in comparison. I fell off the group I was with as I just couldn’t control my leg and the pain was so intense that I just tried to keep momentum and keep going. I had never felt pain like that before, I have no words to describe it but all I knew is that I was not giving up.
When I say my race went LEFT… it went left in every avenue possible. Everything went wrong that day. Stupidly in the rush to get us elites from the change room to the start line I had forgotten to put my 32Gi gels into my top and when I was due to take one and couldn’t find it it sank in. What a stupid thing to do and I didn’t even have them on all my bottles but hey there was no point sweating about it, there was nothing I could do, it was a rookie mistake, one I will never make again. The best way to learn is through mistakes so here’s to a hard lesson there.
I eventually got a gel on one of my bottles; the next bottle wasn’t there, for some unknown reason and the bottle after that I dropped. So things were not panning it quiet like I had expected them to.
I was in such pain; I talked myself through every single kilometer. When I got to 35km I grabbed my bottle and dropped that too, I turned to pick it up off the floor and my knee gave in and I fell to the ground. As I lay there I wondered what to do but something inside me just wouldn’t let me give up, I got back up and soldiered on. I remember hearing the crowd go “yoooooh” as I fell, it was not my most elegant moment I must admit haha.
(The roads with cobbles that my knee didn’t see eye to eye with)
Those last 7km were the hardest 7km’s I’ve ever run in my life. I’ve never felt pain quiet like that but I was not giving up, not now. Barbs was in my heart and this one was for her.
I crossed the finish line and collapsed …luckily for me Brett was there and caught me on the way down. Nearly had two collisions with the tarmac. A narrow escape, thanks Challie, good catch.
I finished 12th in 2.42.24… I had done it, after all I went through just getting to the start line then all that went LEFT during the race…I was proud of myself and so relieved it was over.
I have absolutely no regrets at all. In the bigger scheme of life and as frustrating as it is my knee will heal, I have my health and I am thankful for it. It was an incredible experience, one not everyone will get to be apart of in his or her lives. You often learn the most from the bad races, I certainly learnt so much about myself and about the marathon. I lived in the moment and embraced everything that was thrown at me and I never gave up and to me that was like winning on that particular day for that particular race, for Barbs.
I’ve learnt that finishing a marathon isn’t just an athletic achievement; it’s a state of mind. A state of mind that says anything is possible.
I ran for a woman who meant the world to me and was take from us far too early, I know she would be so proud of me. I gave it my all on the day and I’m proud of myself for that.
Thanks goes to Endurocad and Elana Meyer for making this experience possible, to my rock star physio Wayne Holroyd and my coach Ernie Gruhn for getting me to the start line, to Mark Wolf for his endless support, encouragement and help and lastly to Brett Challenor for holding me together and being there to “catch me fall”.
One of the most awesome things about racing overseas is making new friends. My new friend, Louise from Sweden and I having some post marathon fun.
LIVING MY DREAM
My blog is written from the heart.. I’m one of the few professional athletes who will tell the world about a bad race and an injury. I don’t think i need to hide it and I’m not ashamed but i do hope by doing so people see that we too are human, we too have ups and downs, its all apart of life and i hope it inspires you in some small way to keep at it and never give up on a dream.
Lastly THANK YOU to my amazing sponsors: