WOW words can’t describe how I felt when I crossed the finish line on Sunday.
I was pretty overcome…… just think of a runners high after a ‘normal’ run multiplied out, on top of that, was the journey of the last 9mths.
Training for the Melbourne Marathon, being 2 weeks out from it last October, and suffering a major migraine which resulted in numbness down the right hand side of my body, to be advised by doctors not to run as ‘you have an undiagnosed neurological condition’. This transpired a month later to hearing ‘you have 8 lesions on the brain….. it’s MS’
Hmm….. starting from scratch literally….. my diet, my health, my fitness, my thoughts, my world was turned on it’s head, and gradually taking baby steps it was all revised, piece by piece.
Wanting more then anything to run again, completely changing my diet, changing how I thought and how I trained etc etc to having the will and knowing deep down in my heart that I would cross the finish line when I set my sights on the Gold Coast Marathon.
The day itself was glorious, amazing weather, great supportive crowds, awesome running community and the elite runners that just blew our minds with their speed. The winner, Kenneth Mungara finishing the marathon in 2:08:42.
Luckily I arrived at the start line with 5 minutes to spare. To be honest any longer, I think I would have been a basket case, as the emotions were running pretty high. I got choked up on the starting line, amongst 6,500 other runners, thinking about their own journeys of how they got to the start line, and what we were all about to embark on.
I salute you all.
The crowds were awesome, the support, signs, music, well wishers were incredible. Rob de Costella gave a rousing speech at the start…. I heard it on the PA as I was still in the portaloo – LOL
It was slow going for the 1st 3km as the pack was large, although there was space, and it was fairly relaxed and cruisy.
I soon slotted into the 4:30 pacer pack and was going well, loo break at 15km, and then lost the pack in the distance….
Had juice & water in my fuel belt till 21km, then was on gels & water. It was pretty warm as the sun started to heat up from 9am…. good job I’m a low sweater hey.
Started to feel the heat at 30km, and was picking out shady patches on the road to run in. Knew the most I’d run was 35km, so it would be interesting after that.
The course was fairly flat and went from Southport to Burleigh Heads before looping back to Southport and heading north out to Anglers Paradise before the turnaround point to Southport and finish line.
Heading north out past Southport was a bit tough going, as you could see the finishers coming into the finish and passing the crowds in marquees for the last 1km….. the support and cheers was incredible, and I had to look away, as I was really getting choked up and was finding it difficult to breathe and run.
To think that they were supporting loved ones and complete random strangers was incredible and I knew that they would be there for me too, and they’d carry me running to the finish line no matter how I felt.
I think I had a couple of walking stretches around 32-34km, I was getting tired and over it, although in my heart I knew that I was soo close ‘Just another 5km’ I kept telling myself, as my speed started to slow right back….. then you can walk again… and so it went on.
Reckon it was around this time, I started to feel a bit light headed, so I just walked it out and sipped water, and was good to go again back to the ‘Cliffy shuffle’ just keep putting one foot in front of the other and you’re make it, I kept telling myself.
Breaking it down to 5km stretches… and soon it moved on to 3km to go, and my spirits lifted ‘I have this’ I told myself. Yes the crowd were there for the last 3km, and started to get thicker for the final 1km, I thanked them as I went past and they clapped even more. It was hard to stay focussed, as tears were welling up in my eyes, and a lump in my throat.
So many times I’d been in the crowd cheering on my heroes as they went past, and now I was there. I really felt like a superstar, a gladiator, overcoming the odds to run a marathon, doing my training differently this time, listening to my body and doing what it needed most.
And as I saw the final arch before the finish line “250 metres to go” I smiled and picked up my pace. It felt as if I was sprinting after the last 10km effort, and hands in the air as I crossed the finish line.
Awesome so so happy, overcome with emotion of what I’d just achieved
And the time 4:55:45. For me it wasn’t about what time I completed it in, it was about enjoying the moment, and overcoming the odds to run long distance again.
People ask me, ‘How did you pull up?’ Pretty good really. I fuelled up on fruit immediately afterwards – bananas, orange segments, apple. As well as water and a banana, date soy milk smoothie (made the night before). Chicken, guacamole, salsa taco wrap. I changed into my SKINS Recovery pants which helped my legs. The next day I was a bit stiff, and head like mush….. feeling like a vegetable/jet lag feeling not able to focus on much…. so a beach day was the go.
I still pinch myself that I did it, as well as knowing deep down that I would do it. I visualised the finish line and how I’d feel when I crossed it, months before, during my training.
I just had to make it happen.
Wish It … Dream It …. Do It!
Anything is possible, just keep putting one foot in front of the other.