Tuesday, 15 January 2013

How I ran 11km

Before the run!
So, I ran 11km day yesterday.  Non stop.  11 KILOMETRES!  Can you believe it?  I can.  And here’s why.

Because I believed that I could.

I did the Activ8 Change Resolution Run.  It’s a charity based fun run that has 2 options: 5.5km and 11km.  I heard about it last year and without thinking too much about it, added it to my ‘list of things I’m going to do’.  I still love to #doalltheevents. ;)

I chose the 11km option because it was a good challenge.  I knew I could do 5km now, so I thought I’d try the bigger one.  It’s also in line with my goal to run a half marathon in July.  Then I hurt myself so things changed.  I was looking forward to doing it but I wasn’t excited because I hadn’t been able to train for it because of my ankle.  I only started slowly being able to run again this fortnight after 2 months of being on crutches, in a moon boot and in a general total running hiatus.  So in the lead up I was in a bit of a ‘meh – whatever’ frame of mind.  I was annoyed that I couldn’t give it my all, and that I hadn’t been able to train like I would have usually chosen to.  I had planned to be able to run at least 7km non stop by now.

Like that was going to happen.

I need more arm space
But like its name states, I thought it would be a good run to kick off my year with.  Resolution Run: I make goals, not resolutions – but the idea was the same.  I thought I’d start the year how I intended to continue it.  Even if I had to walk most of it.  And I was doing it with the lovely Courtney who writes Sporadic Buckets.  So I pepped up and decided to just have fun with Court, see my 12WBT mates who were also doing it, and just give it a go.  If anything, 11km would be the longest distance that I had ever walked.

I had to work 9pm – 5am the night before, so I didn’t get to rest up prior, but I felt fine once the sun rose – albeit extremely nervous for some reason!

Some of the QLD Crew
It didn’t matter what I wore but for some reason I had a “everything makes me look fat” moment in the work bathroom while getting dressed before heading off to the event.  In the end, after multiple changes of the clothes that I brought along and a lot of being precious, I ended up wearing the dirty shirt I wore through the night at work!  Far out.  Partly because I needed to and partly because I’m an idiot, I ended up wearing 6 layers on my chest.  It was slightly unintentional and slightly unavoidable, but stupid all the same. ;)  Put that together with my Polar strap and my Spi-belt, and by the time I got to the Start line I felt like I was being crushed by a cobra.  One day in a future fun run, I’m going to wear a sports bra ONLY.  Not because I can, but simply to make up for doing this run wrapped like an Egyptian Mummy.

2013 is my year!
I said earlier that I did this because I believed that I could.  I didn’t believe I could in the lead up.  No way.  I thought I’d be lucky to run 1km – that was my estimated maximum distance I could handle on my ankle.  I assumed most of it would be walked.  I also had my breathing fear thing going on: I was terrified I’d panic about breathing while running again.  Being dressed like a Mummy wasn’t helping this!

Clothes, ankle and breathing issues under a very hot sun, and we were on our way.  When I managed to run all the way to the 1km mark, I decided that I was going to run to the 7km mark and then continue running to the 11km end.  I told Court (and myself!) that I would just try.  But deep inside I knew that I would.  Oh yeah, just add 10km to that.  What the??  There was so much against me, namely a very weak and recently un-trained ankle. 

But I wanted to.

So I did it.
2013 is my year.  And Court's!

It wasn’t easy!  I’ve had a sore back for a week and it was hurting; I got a side stitch early on.  The breathing thing started when I ran up inclines.  It was mentally tough to have to go back for another loop once we’d reached the end of the 5.5km.  There was a lot of head talk, too.  I couldn’t run 11km, my biggest distance was 5km.  You can’t more than double things like that!  Who cares if I’ve done just that before!  My ankle would probably start hurting.  I should have signed up for the 5.5km and been smart.  Speaking of smart, it felt like it was about 40 degrees.  We were coming very last.  We cheered each time we saw that markers or marshals remained on the course.  This is the 3rd time this had happened to me in a major sporting event.  The last two times I broke down.  That’s what I do.  Blah, blah, blah BLAH.

But something inside me knew that I would do it.  It took me ages to admit to Courtney what I was going to try to do.  I don’t think I even 100% admitted it to myself.  Because I could fail.  And I probably couldn’t do it anyway.  I had so much stacked against me, you see. ;)

But when you have this fierce thing inside of you that believes in yourself, those other things mean nothing.

I know who I am.

I didn’t do it by myself by any means.  Courtney was right by my side the whole way.  She even touched a pressure point in my back to get me up a small hill.  I don’t think she even knew about my breathing thing and this helped me so much.  She was this constant presence of support.  It was so comforting not doing this by myself.  Our other 12WBT friends who we saw at the Start line, on the course and who cheered us over the Finish line all spurred me on.  Friends from my online runners group had given me advice which I thought of while running.  My training and transformation improved my fitness so that I could do this.  In June I almost collapsed after running for 200 metres.  That’s all I could manage.  And here I was, 7 months later running 11km!  Even Jessica Watson indirectly helped!  We ran past her docked boat, “Ella’s Pink Lady” and I said to Court: if Jess Watson can sail around the world, we can do this 11km.

But ultimately it was me who made it happen.  It was my legs, and my brain that kept moving my legs.  After testing the waters at the start, I then knew I could do it.  And that steely determination saw me through.  Things had the potential to stop me.  But I refused to let them – I had to block them out.  I don’t know if Court saw him, but there was a man who was in a potentially creepily close proximity behind us when we were in a lonely spot under a bridge.  I was so determined to get to the finish line without stopping that my initial thought when I noticed him was that of a grit determination of ‘there is no way you are catching us, we are getting to this finish line!  Get lost!’  I of course kept my absolute wits about him too, but that was my very first thought!  Complete focus!

When we had made it 5km
And 100 metres from the finish line, we held hands and we ran across together.  We got given left over prizes (I got given a pink jersey!) and endless apples and water at the end.  The crew were lovely.  We beat our goal time by well over 10 minutes.  We ended up coming very last and I have been in a world of pain since the moment I ran through that finish banner, but we finished and I didn’t even care about all of that.

We walked to the car and said to each other that we can’t believe we had conquered that.  We had our own personal goals and we both smashed our own.  I was overwhelmed that I did it.  I went from 200 metres in June, straight to 1km in August, straight to 5km in September, couldn’t run in November and December at all, and now had just ran 11km without stopping.  I apparently don't do things gradually....  I didn’t even know that was possible.  I really thought I was surprised I did it.  But I realised later that I wasn’t at all.  I knew that I would do it all along.

After years of ‘trying’, recovering, testing the waters if this was ‘safe’ for me and then making a decision to do something, all that was left was to believe in myself.  If things interrupt you, you have to block them out and keep running your own race.  It doesn’t matter if you come last, as long as you try, and as long as you stay true and honest.  You can only do it for yourself.  When you want something strong enough and get that true grit inside of yourself, nothing will stop you.

Absolute focus on what’s important.

The parallel moral of this story in terms of other struggles we are all going through was not accidentally written.

Believe in yourself.

It's actually that simple.


Those who come last get left over prizes!

Court and I

My medal, pink jersey, star, bib and shoes

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