Saturday, 1 March 2014

Dancing across the finish line

So, as promised I also still have to do my write up about my latest half marathon!

Before I do though, I have to say Happy 1 of 2 Fitaversary to me! I have 2 Fitaversaries...coz we should always celebrate as much as we can! One of them for me, is
today. 2 years ago today I made the decision to change my life and get healthier. I quit smoking amongst doing other things. I didn't start my weight loss for another few months (that is my other Fitaversary) but the anniversary of today was sort of more important, because today's the day I DECIDED to - it just took me a few months to find the right way of doing it. 

So today has me as being a non smoker for 2 years and sees me having kickstarted the most important part of anything, making the decision to try. I used to smoke about 30-40 cigarettes a day - that's more than the general 'pack a day' smoker people talk about. I imagine that had something to do with the fact I couldn't run for more than 200m before collapsing... Before two years ago today I was a chain smoker, morbidly obese, a non exerciser, non runner, in hospital emergency or in the back of ambulances every fortnight, having almost daily blood tests, and even though I didn't realise it at the time, living on the sidelines of life. But I decided to change and every day things got a little bit easier, I got a little bit healthier and a little more confident... :)

Now a quick report about my latest half marathon, the Convicts and Wenches Australia Day Half Marathon!

I was so, so nervous beforehand.  I do this each time but this day I truly didn't think I could do it. Medical stuff from my previous big event, the 30km Kurrawa to Duranbah, had been going through my head for a couple of days to the point by the time I got to the start line I
didn't think I could do it; I worried if my body would cope.  I visualised stopping half way through and had scared myself, in hindsight, unnecessarily.  I was making up stupid stories in my head - I had scared myself silly. 

But as soon as I started, I was fine. It was probably the easiest half I've done, it was cool weather, there was a breeze the whole time and every few km's it rained lightly, seemingly on cue.  The course wasn't the best, part of it was in the bush and I accidentally went off track and got lost - not nice - but only for about 30m because I happened to see another runner and found my way back on course. 

There was a lot of high 5'ing and clapping from other runners and my mates Court & Trace were on course so I got to see them a few times too so it was really good.  I had an issue with an old man pacing me though.  I hate hate hate pacers!  I understand how people spot someone up ahead and try to reach them or overtake them, kind of like a personal "I'll run to the next tree" kind of thing.  I get that.  What I have trouble with thought is what people have done to me in my last two half marathons and other shorter runs.
With Court and Trace x

It's not a once off 'aim to get to me and then choose the next person', instead it's a constant game of cat and mouse that I never asked to be a part of.  When I run, I run for myself and myself alone.  But these people choose me out of a crowd, aim to go past me, which is fine, but then they drop pace and sneak continual glances backwards to see where I'm at and as I get closer they speed up, or as soon as I pass them, they overtake me again.  It's distracting and stresses me out. Half marathons are hard enough without this happening.  I'm a really even paced runner, maybe that's why they choose me. I hate it.  I could maybe even handle the tag teaming if it wasn't for the frustrating sideways glances they do to check where I am.  It's because they appear quite sneaky about it, like they only very slightly move their head and I see their eyes shift... 

My cal burn
It's literally running past me, sneaking looks back at me and then passing me again. Repeat. I spend so much energy watching this when I eventually notice it that I get so frustrated that it takes my mind off my own rhythm. The first girl I had do this actually came up to me at the end of the run, shake my hand and say "good race." What?? I wasn't racing you!  Far out. (I didn't say that of course). 

With this one, the guy actually seemed to trick me to go the wrong way (?!) which, if that wasn't distracting enough, then did this stupid sneaking glances pacing with me.  This time I was so frustrated that I decided to say something.  I pushed myself to run up alongside him, as he was in front of me (sneaking glances at me!)

In my head what I wanted to say was scream "stop pacing me!!!!!" But I didn't want to be rude to someone in the middle of their big event and put them off, it was Australia Day, and also he was a lot older than me (respect) etc etc so what I actually said was, "how are you going?" And he answered "oh you know, just shuffling."  I said "good. Just keep going - remember to just run your own race - don't worry about other runners!" 

And with that I ran off and never saw him again.  I think it worked.  It may have been a coincidence as in he may have been too tired to pass me after I said something as I spoke up at about 17km, but for the rest of the run he didn't overtake me. (I wouldn't have minded if he had, but only if that's what his pace was, not because of me!) 

So after I got rid of the uninvited tag teamer, I got to concentrate on my own run.

When I was getting ready the night before, I realised that the day I was running, was going to have been 2 years exactly to the day from when I was lying in hospital, terrified that I was going to die. I'd just been diagnosed with 2 Pulmonary Embolisms (blood clots in the lung) and I was paralysed with fear, literally too scared to move because I didn't know if I would die. No-one really saw this, but just before I went across the finish line, I played Kelly Clarkson's song "Stronger" and danced and jumped like a crazy girl while running the last stretch. I wrote '2 years' on my hand to look at through the run to celebrate because who would have known that exactly 2 years later, I would be running my 4th half marathon with fair ease and DANCING while running, 50kg lighter.

So much can change and sometimes we get another chance. Sometimes as much as you try you can only smile on the outside. But sometimes you are blessed to get another chance to do it all again, minus the little black cloud sitting on your shoulder.  Things may be awful right now but you never know how things can change and that you might just get another chance to do it the way you planned. You might be a Size 28 and have silent sobbing breakdowns in dress shop changing rooms and then in 18 months time, you'll get to share that you're now a Size 12. Anything is possible. Don't lose hope. The universe has a funny way of working out. Growing up, my Mum always told me "there's never a problem so big in this world that it can't be solved." You just can't give up.

Anything is possible.

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