Sunday, 8 December 2013

"You've come this far, you can't give up now"

Where do I start?  I have so so so much to tell you.  I have a whole foray of posts to catch up on too...I am going to make myself write them in the next 2 days...  I want to write!  Things are
just so busy.  But for now I need to write about today to help me process it!

A while ago I got invited to an event on Awesome Runners (literally an awesome running group I'm a part of) called "Kurrawa 2 Duranbah".  Never heard of the places, or the event.  Turns out Kurrawa is a Gold Coast suburb - essentially Broadbeach near Surfers Paradise - and Duranbah is 25km south of that - in NSW!  Over the border!  It was an event that had 50km, 30km, 15km or 2x25km run or walk options.  Automatically I started daydreaming and tempting myself...with the 30km that 'just' went 15km south to Currumbin and back.  That's the number that jumped out at me.

So a quick catch up on my running, especially if this is the first time you've read my blog.  18
Arriving with the beautiful Court x
months ago I ran for the first time (200m).  I worked my way up to a half marathon (21.1km).  In the last few months I've done 3 half marathons and I'm currently in training for a full marathon (42.2km) in July 2014.

I have a neat little training plan to work up to that length...and it has me running my first 30km in like April-May, something like that.  Not now, in December, off the back of running 21.1km, that's for certain!


There's always a 'however' with me...I thought I might be able to do this!  Probably not.  But
My biggest cals in one session.  I ran non stop for 4:45!
maybe!  Possibly...I'm not sure. don't know.  In the end I decided to sign up.  It was also a walking event so I decided that worst case, I would run as far as I could go - if I could beat my 21.1km distance PB then that would be a win and I could walk or walk/run/walk/run for the rest of it.  So I signed up.  I hardly told anyone I was attempting this.  I thought it was because I didn't know if I could make it.  I realised yesterday though that that wasn't it.  I would share if I failed at something like I always do.

The real reason I didn't say anything was I was scared that someone would pipe up and say that I shouldn't try and do this.  I know it was big.  Huge in fact.  And such a big jump from 21km.  But I needed full self conviction that I could do this, otherwise I didn't stand a chance.  I didn't want to risk anyone adding to the doubts I already had.  I knew it was a big call.  And I was worried about the heat - the December sun by the beach on QLD's Gold Coast...but I prepared myself, hydrated plenty in the lead up, sunscreened it up, wore a hat, long tights, a sleeved top...  This was big.  I doubted myself already.  But I didn't count on that little thing I have in bucketloads: determination.

I turned up.  My beautiful friend Courtney was doing the 15km event and we drove to the coast together after a 2:45am wake up call!  Poor Court was doing this off the back of 3-ish hours sleep!  I was lucky and got 5-6.  I was a bit distracted on the way there, doing my usual
thoughts I seem to do quite often lately...because I always find myself about to do some crazy event!

Essentially the gist of it is me wondering what the hell I've gotten myself into!  And wondering if I can do it...and telling myself it would be so much easier to be comfortable and not push myself...and how much I would prefer to be in bed right now...  Usually what happens is that I think all of these thoughts and then go and achieve the event!  But today was a big one.  My biggest yet.  Did I really stand a chance?

We picked up our race packs, sunscreened it up, and suddenly I was off!  (Court's event started an hour later).  I ran into my lovely friend Michelle and her husband Keith who were doing the 30km as well.

The first 15km was pretty uneventful and nothing to write home about.  The scenery was so beautiful.  I passed through the most beautiful beaches.  I didn't realise how many gorgeous beaches are so close to where I live.  I was in awe.  They were stunning.  Each time I ran past a surf club or a place I have only ever heard of or read
Hell yeah we're #1!
about, I made a mental note of where I was and kept getting excited that I was visiting all of these great places...practically in my own home town.

I got to the 15km turn around point with a fair amount of ease.  (As much as running 15km in the Australian Summer sun is easy!)  I got really excited to see an amazing view of the Surfers Paradise high rises, this little city look so far away from where I was at the turn around point; and I was so proud that I had run from there!  I just now had to run back...

I managed a first, I had a shower while running! lol sort of.  They encouraged us to use the beach showers to cool down along the way.  I only did it once - I refuse to stop running in my events, not even for a split second, so I jogged on the spot as I ducked under, and kept going on my way.

Soon after the turn around point is when it all started going a bit awry. :/

I felt a twinge in my back - it's a familiar twinge I know well.  I have major back issues - quite bad.  The least of the problems is that I've got Scoliosis, Osteoarthritis and it gets worse than
that - and I've have had major trauma on my spine.  As far as we can tell that's a result of a school playground attack when I was 9 where I was thrown on the ground and kicked like a rag doll, and my back jumped on my some older boys.  It's quite complicated but one of the results of that is that, ever since I was 16, every few years my back gives way, and I collapse.  Not faint, but my back physically won't hold my legs up and down I go.  It happens very randomly.

I haven't had that happen for a couple of years...I'm due for the next one!  And so when that twinge happened I freaked out - I didn't want it to happen mid run!  It happened a couple of times but it was only twinges, I didn't actually fall.

But it unsettled me and soon after that, a combination of being worried about my back and it just being SO hot, I decided I couldn't breathe.  Aughhhhh another one of my little quirks!  I've got a bit of anxiety about breathing - again long standing and again a long story - but it's just something I do.  It happens occassionally and often when I'm running.  I've worked on this for a year and I don't often get running breathing anxiety anymore.  But guess what happened again today? 

I basically just felt like I couldn't breathe.  I was breathing.  I was fine.  I'm pretty sure I wouldn't have been able to run for another 10km if I wasn't breathing ;)  But when I'm in that
state I don't believe I'm fine.  It got pretty bad from about the 20km mark.  The mind games had started at 3km but they intensified at 20km.  My breathing was going slightly haywire and my back wasn't good.  I didn't know what to do.

I had run for 20km.
If I went for more than another 1.1km then I would have beat my distance PB which is all I really needed to do.
But I really needed help.
I didn't want to give up.
But if I stopped now I've just run a half marathon!  That's still an achievement Kate!
But...if I keep going...I could run 30km!

See I have this pig headed, dogged determination about me - that for the most part - is fantastic - it helps me to achieve a lot.  But times like today, it's simply bloody annoying!  The sane part of me would have stopped - or at least stopped running!  But no, in my head I was thinking it's only another 7.5km now!  That's nothing!

Around this time, a volunteer called something out to me.  He had no idea what was happening with me, or maybe he could see the pain on my face.  But he called out "You've
Before I really struggled (lol at the lady behind)
come this far, you can't give up now."

Far out.....................

I said that through my head repeatedly, for the next 7.5km.  I couldn't give up!  He was right - I had come so far!  

But it was so hard :(

By the time I got to the 25km mark I was a mess.  My vision went blurry a few times and I was struggling like nothing else.  I couldn't talk.  More and more people started asking me if I was ok.  I was so determined to finish it.  But now it was more than that.  It got to the point I knew I needed help.  So many times I thought I could collapse.  Not from my back, but just drop to the ground - I couldn't do this anymore!  I needed someone to help me breath!  I needed to be cooled down.  I needed fluids - even though I'd been drinking a mountain of water on the way and filled my water bottle up every 2.5km.

I couldn't do it.  I don't know if I've ever struggled as much, physically and mentally, as I did today.  But as much as I was in a state, the logistal side kicked in.  (What the?)  I realised that
Court texted me this :)
I had the car key and Court was at the finish line.  It would be so convenient if I made it to her first before getting help!  As much as I know she'd be ok and was almost horrified when I told her my reasonings later, this was a major consideration I had.  I didn't want to leave her stranded.  But besides, I didn't want to be lying on a random street somewhere. 
It's funny how our minds become very logistical in times like this.  I realised if I could just make it to the finish line, there would be some first aid person and they could help me!  Yes!  That's what I needed to do!  I needed to get to the finish line.  My mindset went from having 5km to go to finish running 30km, to having 5km to go to get help.  I started running towards help.

In my more dramatic moments, I felt like I was one of those girls in those Hollywood movies, who had just been in some freak of nature accident, and, wearing a torn dress and covered in
Cathy texted me this :)
scratches, has to run through desolate corn fields to a lone farm house to call for help.  She just needs to make it there, then everything will be ok....

See, I told you I had too much sun - I was becoming delusional!  It was pretty much like that though!  Except I wasn't running from a typhoon or gorillas, and there were no corn fields or farm house....thoughts of Hollywood blockbusters aside, there was just one Finish line and I needed to get there.  At one point I considered even calling my mum to tell me I was ok and I could breathe!  But I couldn't say the words or I would have crumbled.  Court was texting me and asking how I was and all I could say was "1.8" (I had 1.8km to go).  I almost told her I needed help but I feared if I did, I would make it real in my head and I wouldn't be able to continue.  I kept starting to cry but I wouldn't let myself.  I realised that if I started crying, I truly would struggle to breathe and then I'd really lose it.  I think I even told myself "you can cry at the finish line!"  I had to draw on
Can you see the buildings in the far background?  I ran from there!
so much strength.  And that guys voice kept going through my head..."You've come this far, you can't give up now."

It got to the point where I actually Google mapped the finish line location so that my phone would show me how many metres I had to go.  I had just run almost 30km and here I was worrying about 750m.  When I checked again and it said 350m, I knew I would make it.  I just had to get through the banner.  I pushed myself like nothing I have ever done before.

As I got to the last stretch, people started clapping, and then, as much as I was an absolute mess (remember, Hollywood starlet in a scratched up dress!), my face lit up when I saw Court, Michelle, Keith and some Awesome Runners, Ann-Marie, Ingred and more,
Doc had trouble finding space to check my pulse...this isn't even all of them..
surrounding the finish line.  They were cheering - they were clapping, they even called out "Give me a K!  Give me an A!" etc.!  If you see the photos at the finish line you'd never guess I was in a state.  I was grinning and smiling from ear to ear and saying thank you.  Smile for the cameras.....then....

Collapse.  That was my limit.  I made it through the banner, and I was on the ground.  I was safe in the farm house now, I knew I'd be ok.

Afterwards sitting up in a chair
Court ran to get a medic (amazing friend who had just done a 15km event and could hardly move herself, goes and runs for me!) and the others were amazing.  I was surrounded by them all and they just got to work.  Someone took off my shoes and socks, some were pouring water up my top, someone was feeding me an energy gel, another feeding me water.  Ingred massaged my legs and Michelle propped my head up onto her.  I was still not well but I suddenly felt ok as I had all of this care around me and thats all that I needed.  I was lucid enough to know that this whole thing was mainly anxiety and being overheated.  The medic and another sports trainer came to help and he said it was a bit of dehydration and hyperventilation.  I started calming down and the medic took my pulse...he almost couldn't though because I was wearing event wrist bands all up my arm!  I may need to stop doing that...

They had free ice baths at the finish line so they put me in one of them and FAR OUT it was cold.  The trainer said 2min. in, 2min. out, then 2min. in and I should be ok.  Ingred went and got me a lemonade and my free T-shirt and BBQ lunch - I couldn't eat but after having the bath and the lemonade I was so much better.  I was limping but I always do after big events,
In the ice bath
because my leg muscles contract.  So I was ok.  Court and I went to the beach on the way to the car, just for 5min. to jump in the water - I'd had enough water by then but Court jumped in.

The rest of the day I've just been keeping up my water and have been eating.  As I was this morning - but making sure I keep it up.

This morning, while I was going through my epic of epic runs, a few other friends were doing their own events - Court, Martine, Maz and Cat to name just a few from 30+ alone - all 5 of us set ourselves a goal and we each worked our backsides off to make it happen.  Each of our events were important and personally huge for our own different reasons.  I just wanted to shout out to these girls because I know each of them pushed through their own stuff to achieve what they did today.

I learnt a lot this morning - I have some research to do to make my next runs better - I often do after events.  It also made me more aware of my back issues and that I'm going to have to keep this in mind as I train for the marathon.  My back often gets sore in 10km+ runs.  But after today I realise that if my back happens to actually go and do it's usual every few years
No idea how I managed to do my fist pump photo today
give way thing, when it's just sore from running, then I won't stand a chance.  I'm now going back to my normal marathon training plan and sticking to the events I have planned for next year.  There's a few half marathons in the lead up to the full.  My next event run is 11km in January.  Today's 30km was a crazy pushing myself thing that I just had to try.  I tried and I did it - now I can relax and do my normal thing and work at a better pace.  I feel like a bit of a freak of nature.  I have literally gone from running 200m, to 1km, to 5km, to 11km, to 14km, to 16km, to 21.1km, to 30km.  I jump distances so much.  The reason is, I can.  So I do.

A lot of practical stuff came up for me today.  But it also reinforced for me what I already knew about my own mental strength.  It reminded me that no matter what - when I think I really can't go on - well, I actually can.  There's this little thing inside you that keeps you going during the most trying of times.  Sometimes you just need this magic 'thing' and some dogged determination and you can make anything happen.  I'll share with you now what I wrote on my arm before this mornings

"You didn't think you could run 1km either".

Coming in for the finish... #mess
Ice baths are called that for a reason...

All I could think about
We did it :)
Beautiful beach
Carb loading the night before on 12WBT Broccoli Pasta with Ricotta!

The 'laying out everything for the next day pile' photo


Awesome Runners shot x
The sign that made me smile...Currumbin was my half way turn around point

It's all fun and games when you start a run...
From Cathy x


  1. Just cried into my morning coffee. That was beautiful and oh how I can relate! You amaze me with how far you push yourself (I am a little less game - need mega preparation for what I do). Thanks for sharing as always.

    Love and hugs from Jacque

  2. Hi Kate,

    I stumbled across your blog last week & you've made me cry twice now. The biggest of congratulations on making the 30km. I'm relatively new to running & did my first 1/2 marathon this year. I could totally relate to most of the things you wrote, especially not wanting to tell people about doing it in-case they did the whole "it's to far, to hard, to much" thing to you. You really are inspiring & write so well. I'm looking forward to catching up on your posts. I'm hoping to do a full marathon too - maybe late 2014 - I'd like to do a 1/2 first without horrid ITB pain & wanting to cry from the 8km mark onward with painful knees.

    Hope your recovery goes well & look after your back!!!!

  3. I have quite a vivid imagination, so your words paint pictures for me. I have run quite the gamut of emotions reading this post - currently feeling pride and awe. You don't sugar coat anything for anyone - I love that about you. Look after yourself young lady. xox