Monday, 12 August 2013

If you can run 200 metres, you can run a half marathon

I did it!  I did it!  I did it!  I RAN A HALF MARATHON!  I really did it :)

So those of you who see me on Facebook or Instagram will know the run down of how I went.  But I can't not write about it in my blog!  The short version, is that I did it, baby!  The slightly longer version is:

I wrote my family's names who live interstate on my arm coz they couldn't be there
That it went well :) Seriously...I smiled pretty much the whole way! There were no issues...Joshua Kadison was right and maybe this time, things will work out just the way I planned...well, they did!

I felt like throwing up from the 7km mark right through to the end - my stomach was not well, my feet were slightly sore towards the start, and the 19km mark onwards was a bit hard, but that was it.  The rest was awesome!  I enjoyed it...and let me tell you, I never in my craziest dreams imagined I'd be saying one day that I ENJOYED running for almost 3 hours, let alone be able to do it. But, there you go :)

I only had 2 goals.  To finish it.  And to run the whole way.  That was all I wanted.  As a secondary goal, I was sort of hoping to come in under 3 hours.  Well, I did all 3!  I didn't stop
At home in the morning - pretending to be nervous!
running once, and I completed it in 2:49:26.  So I am very stoked.

I woke up at 3:30am, picked up friend #1 at 4:35am, friend #2 at 4:45am, and we arrived at the car park I had pre booked by 5am.  We froze as we made our way to the start line, took a few photos and lined up.  One of my marathon heroes, De, came to give me a hug, and she held my hand as we approached the Start banner, jogging alongside me to see me off.  Seriously lovely.

She let go of my hand, I went through the banner and that was it.  I had 21.1km in front of me.  Usually this would be a time where I would be panicking and thinking "what on earth have I gotten myself into??" but...I didn't really.  For once in my life I was so prepared for something (the run), that I just got on with it.  I started at my own personal comfortable pace, remembering what friends Greg and Ruth had told me, to not go full on hard out at the start. 

The Start line
We curled around the city streets as the sun rose and ran across Brisbane's Story Bridge.  On the bridge I completely randomly met a girl of who we have a mutual friend, and we took a selfie together for her, and I high 5'd a couple of drunk guys who were on their way home and cheering on the  That first 5km went by in a flash.

Arriving at Kangaroo Point, at the 7km mark, I suddenly became nauseous. My stomach turned and flipped and it remained this way until the finish line. So not pleasant :( I was so determined that I decided that it was fine: if my body needed to throw up, or anything else... (trust me, it was not nice...) I decided I would let it, but do it while running. Nothing was going to stop me.

Just after this, I was running along South Bank, nearing 8km in, and I spotted something bright pink in the distance. I immediately fixated on it (of course - pink is my middle name) - and as I got closer, I was suddenly overwhelmed. All of a sudden I saw that this pink thing was a sign -
The amazing sign
I saw that it said MY NAME - and I saw that my beautiful friend Courtney was waving it in the air! For me! Far out!

This gorgeous girl had, unbeknownst to me, gotten up hours before her own run later that morning, to come and cheer me on. With a cool pink sign! I'm so glad that I had the head space to grab my camera and film a bit of it while continuing to run. I'd seen signs for people on other runs I've done and always thought it was so lovely. And now someone had done it for me..I am still blown away. It kept me pepped up - just incredible :) Apparently people were running past before I got there and smiling and saying "I wish I was Kate Beck!" :)

Soon after that, I saw something else that was beautiful. A man who was doing the marathon left the course to approach a homeless man under a bridge and offer him money, then returned to the course. Wow. It was one of those moments that needs no words...

I kept running, I kept smiling (really, Kate?) :) and just kept going. There was a stretch that was
Half way!
a bit hard as it all of a sudden got really quiet. People (runners and spectators) seemed to disappear and it was a bit tough feeling quite alone out there but I just powered on. My "Kate's Half Marathon" iTunes playlist was extremely helpful!

Then, I ran past myself. Not me, obviously, but this girl.............she was surrounded by police on flashing light motorbikes, fully flanked by officials. Yes, she was the last runner. My heart wrenched for her - as I approached them to run past, I think I even said out loud "oh honey..." That was usually me! I knew how she felt. Yet this time I was police-less for once. I high 5'd her, that's all I could do. 

Everyone had told me to be aware of the 16-18km mark as this was the renowned tough bit, where your mind battles really come to life, and you had to stay strong as you'd feel like giving up.

Do you want to know what I was thinking at this point? 


Or New York. 

Yep, Boston or New York. (Marathons).

No joke.

Seriously - I was thinking this! Haha! I love my confidence - and crazy goal setting after 18km of running!

However everyone else's 16-18km tough bit came to greet me at 19km. I'd just arrived back
at the Botanical Gardens. We had to sort of run past the finish line and then do a 2km-ish loop of the gardens before actually reaching the finish line. Knowing that I was so close but not there yet was hard, and also at that point the course wasn't clearly marked and I got a bit panicky. There were heaps of spectators milling around and not many traffic cones or attentive volunteers directing us where to go. A couple of times I panicked, not sure where to run. This is NOT something you want to happen so close to the end. This was the one and only time I had to read my hand, which I had written "You've got this" on. Come on, Kate.

Moment that blew me away #2
I managed to stay on the path and kept going, as hard as it was, and then I saw (and heard) another amazing scene.

Just after I went past the 20km mark, there was Courtney and her lovely pink sign again- this time showing the other side of it, which said I had 1km to go and was nearly there :) She had hooked up with a water station full of volunteers - and they were all cheering for me, very, very loudly! I am sure I don't need to describe to you how this made me feel....! They were all screaming my name....the beautiful Courtney and her pink sign, flanked by these awesome volunteers, holding out cups of water and cheering me on like they had known me for years :)

After I ran past them (& filmed them again!) they actually started chanting my name. "Kate...Kate...Kate..."  I almost broke into tears at this point. I was on the home stretch now...bringing it home.  Above is the video footage I took. :)

About 50 metres from the finish line, I tried to really take in the moment. This was the moment
I had been training for, dreaming about, visualising and planning for, for 10 months. 

And then, I did it. I ran through that finish line and completed my first half marathon. Just like that :) I used my last ounce of adrenalin to jump through the finish banner, with my family right beside me, cheering. :) 

It was over! I couldn't wipe the smile off my face - and to be honest, a week later, still haven't :) This was not only the biggest thing I have ever done, but the biggest thing I have ever dreamed of. The fact that I dreamed it possible in the first place is big enough for me.
I was the girl who walked defiantly at the back of my school cross country, eating M&M's. I was the girl who didn't catch a train for a few years because people would see how fat I was. I was the girl who would feel like running out in front of traffic when heavily crying in clothes shops changing rooms because nothing fit and I could never find anything new to wear to a party. I was the girl who was secretly envious of my school sports age champions - because I
just wasn't an athlete. It was a label I gave myself early on and have sadly continued to honour.

People have been saying to me all week that they couldn't run a half marathon...or even a kilometre. I get that, because I couldn't either! Until I decided that I could. Therein lies the difference. You can't do it until you try to do it. And believe it. Every one of you can do it too.

Regular readers will have heard me say before, that in June last year, at 141kg, I ran for the first time. I made it 200 metres before stopping because I thought I'd collapse. And as hard as it was, I kept trying to run - mainly for fitness tests - at that stage it was not because I loved it.  Each fitness test I tried to improve my running. And it happened quite quickly. Soon I was able to run for 1 kilometre straight! My friend Wendy famously said to me, on the eve of my first 5km event in September, that "if you can run for 1km, you can run for 2km."

I tested the theory out that next day and ran the whole 5km straight. From 1km to 5km, just like
Hugging my Dad at the finish line

In October I watched Ben Does Life and made my half marathon goal.

In November I badly sprained my ankle on the infamous princess bush walk and was on crutches and in a moon boot, not allowed to run, until January. I kept training though, and did what I could. Because I had a goal. I brought a whole new truthful meaning to the words (moon) 'boot camp', because I kept showing up. 

If you can run 5km, you can run 11km. Because that's what I did in January, directly after 2 months of no running. I just tried, my first run after 2 months of injury, and I was able to do it. It continues to blow me away how quickly running improves. 

I then spent months continuing to train, losing weight, and doing as many fun run events as I could. Resolution Run, Bridge to Brisbane, Jetty 2 Jetty, parkrun, Park 2 Park, City to South,
One side of Courtney's amazing sign
Pink Fun Run, International Women's Day Fun Run, Mooloolaba Twilight Run, Brisbane Twilight Run, Colour Run etc.. If it was a running event within reasonable location, price and time proximity, I was probably there. 

I did 5km, I did 10km, I did more 5km and 10km, I did 14km. I did more 10km. I pushed through the barriers of one 10km at the finish line and continued on, to make up my first 16km. 

I went from choosing to drink water from the little plastic cups on fun runs because it looked cool coz they do it on TV ;)  to needing to drink water from the little plastic cups because I was actually pushing myself ;)

I broke my goal down into achievable parts like the lovely Gabi suggested. You can't just wake up and do a half marathon. But you can break that huge goal down and tackle one thing at once.
I still worked on my fitness, even wearing a moon boot and not able to run
Remember, I started at being able to run for 200 metres. I broke down the 21.1km and had plans and mini goals.  I spoke to people, asked advice, and read articles. I got myself a running coach for a short time. I spent unplanned money on an Osteopath when I had foot issues leading up to the run. I nurtured, respected and prioritised my goal. I dealt with the obstacles as they appeared. Two months of injury / not running and changing the event I chose to do my first half at because I didn't feel ready was not on the "Perfect Goal Road Map." For once in my life I was flexible and realistic.

And that's why I'm proud of myself. I'm proud because I worked hard at the process to get to that point. I'm proud because I realised that I've dispelled that "I wasn't an athlete at school so therefore can never be an athlete" mentality. And I'm proud that I could run non-stop for 21.1km. Coz I never thought I could. :)

This has been a huge week for me, my first half marathon, finale weekend in Adelaide (whoohoo! Blog post about that to come!), the start of Round 3, it was the 10 year birthday of my production company including 2 shows/festivals, the 1 year anniversary of me being recovered from Pulmonary Embolisms, and now I'm relaxing with my first paid holidays in 8 years. A big week of celebrations in all different areas. I'm taking today to celebrate being alive, ok, and for the stuff that I've been doing. And doing pre-season for Round 3.

People have asked me what my next big goal is. I will be doing a full marathon! Yessiree. I knew it already but made the actual decision on the weekend. But while I decide on which will be my first one, right now, my big goal is to finally get to my goal weight. I realised that if I can apply myself properly and do all of the right
With my family (& family names written on my arm!)
things and run a half, then I can apply myself and lose the rest of this weight and stop resting on my half way "I've lost 40kg" laurels...

Thank you from the bottom of my heart to everyone who encouraged me and cheered me on for last weekend. I have never before received so many Facebook posts, private messages, texts, Instagram, Twitter and blog comments, physical and in spirit cheer squads (& pink signs!) in pure support as I did last week. I felt amazing within myself, so to in addition feel like I had the entire world cheering my name felt...supported is an understatement. Thank you for backing me. xo

If you weren't an athlete at high school, you can still run a half marathon as an adult. If you can apply yourself and commit to something, you can do anything. If you can dream it, then you can do it.

And if you can run for 200 metres, you can run a half marathon. :)

2 physical things I was rewarded with at the finish line: my medal and cuddles with my beautiful niece
My bib!
De holding my hand to the Start banner xx

Smiled the whole way!

3rd of the way through
The amazing Courtney

Just after finishing
Hugging one of my brothers
The other side of the sign

Bron, Court, Leisa and Don who cheered me over the finish line

My favourite photo :)


  1. Yes. You really did it. <3 you.

    1. Thank you so much. I hope you know how much you personally helped me with this :) Thank you. I love you xoxo

  2. So very very proud of you xox

  3. I am now expecting you to be running alongside me at the Gold Coast marathon (as we discussed) in July next year little sister.....

    Well done though, huge effort and one which you should be extremely proud of.

    1. Definitely big bro - it's for sure. I can't wait. Thank you so much for your help and support xo

  4. You're just bloody awesome! That is all xx

    1. Thank you my Jules...I love you heaps. Thank you very much xo

  5. Congratulations!! You're such an inspiration! Also, I didn't realise that you were from Brisbane!

  6. I'm in awe Kate! A half marathon! And I loved the video footage of the pink sign!

  7. I just found your blog, I ran my first half this weekend, such an amazing experience isn't it! I have tears in my eyes reading your blog! Keep it uP!!!