Saturday, 5 July 2014

Remembering why I run

Hey hey hey!

Yes, I'm still here! I can't believe I'm writing this post the day before the big day. This was not my plan at all. My last post I said that I'd come back with what I had decided to do The Big Event, aka GCAM14, aka my first planned full marathon. 

That's tomorrow. 

I've had things worked out for about a week now but I've been so busy that I just haven't had time to blog or reply to messages at all. I've started getting more and more people contacting me wishing me luck for tomorrow and asking me what event I'm doing. It's so lovely but I'm stressed as I haven't had time to get it out there with what I've decided to do.

Things have been so busy it's ridiculous. It's gotten to the point I've had work colleagues deliver me lunch at my desk and I've been running in the office just to get more things done a little quicker. I forced myself to go to the toilet yesterday - I just didn't have time to go and finally realised I was being silly! I was working at 1:30am this morning and 3 hours sleep has been the average of late. I've been stressed to the point of being teary / shaking etc. It's not cool.

It's now 12pm on the Saturday of the Gold Coast Marathon and I'm finally getting a chance to sit down now, to write this! I know I don't need to explain myself or tell anyone anything, but I want to. I've told my story so far, I'm not about to stop anytime soon! 


Now that my "boohoo I'm so stressed" whinge is out of the way (sorry), let's get back to the subject at hand.

So, that little thing called the marathon.

If you've read my last post, I've obviously been battling a decision as to what to do. Well as much as avoidance techniques are a great crutch, this is one big grown up decision that I've had to go ahead and make. I battled with this decision over and over, but last weekend I finally worked things out, and that is that I will be doing the half marathon tomorrow at the Gold Coast, and not the full marathon.

Do you know how hard that was to write?

It was.

I'm trying to think of something in my life that I can parallel on, or draw upon to explain what it's like.  Of course I've had many plan changes and changes in direction through my life, just as much as the next person.  But I can't think of anything this big, of the same magnitude, that I can say "this is like the time when..."

I think this is a whole new adult experience to deal with.

I'd been teasing myself with the thought that I can change to the half, for a while now.  Every time I thought of changing though, I'd remember one of the promises I'd made, or one of the commitments I'd taken. I couldn't let down the million teams I was involved in!

But after a very long battle of the mind, a lot of talking to people and a lot of soul searching, I knew that I had to follow my heart. And the reason in essence is, because I’ve been so overwhelmed with all of the commitments I'd made, I didn't get myself prepared enough to do this properly. And that's important to me.

I know that I could go out there and run 42km – I have no doubt that I can physically do that. The problem is, I’m so unbelievably slow, that even though I know that I could run it, it’s very unlikely that I would make the time cut off splits, and I’d probably be pulled off course, mid event as this is a strict race.

I actually think I could cope with this if I had put the effort in.  If I got pulled off a course I would just keep running my own race and run my own marathon in random streets until I reach 42km.  But I don’t think I’d have that in me if I knew in myself that I hadn’t put the effort in, in the first place.  Unfortunately all of the effort I’ve put in has been effort into stressing out.

I got so overwhelmed at the pressure I put on myself, that I realised I forgot why I was doing this in the first place.

Why do I run?

Because I never imagined I could. 

And I can.

I seemed to have forgotten that. I wasn't running for the multiple groups I'm in, or for my friends, or boss, or anyone else I'd committed to. I was only ever doing this for myself.

When I finish my first marathon, I want to finish it and feel proud of myself; that’s my only goal. To be proud of myself that I’ve done it, but also proud that I've put the work in to get there, so that I can feel at peace with whatever the outcome is (preferably the outcome is completing it) ;)

I can’t do that with this one.  It’s doubtful, but if I did manage to scrape through in the allocated time, I think I’d just feel lucky, not actually accomplished.  I want to feel like I did when I did my first half marathon (what my “Kate Does Life” video is based on).  I got to the Start line that day knowing that I’d put the effort in, had done my best with all of the little goals in the lead up, and I was just able to enjoy it on the day.  There’s a saying that a marathon (or running event) is just the victory lap of all of the effort you’ve put into training and I guess that’s what I want it to feel like.

If I do manage to run the full tomorrow within the cut off time, I don’t think I’ll feel proud. As it won't be a victory lap at all.

And that's why I'm not going to do it.

This has been the hardest decision to make- even this morning I was at the event to cheer on my 10km and 5.7km event friends. I was getting upset while talking to Greg there and I wondered if I had made the right choice. I even messaged Jacq and said "I'm having crazy thoughts of wanting to go back to the full..." 

Oh dear. 

Can you tell I'm not happy with my decision?

I'm just really struggling because I’m so disappointed in myself, because I’ve wasted an opportunity where I had so much going for me to do my special first one at GCAM14. It was going to be the perfect event and now I’ve stuffed that up all because I’d forgotten why I was running in the first place.

My plan is to choose another marathon event within the next 6 months, and this time, ignore everything around me and actually put into place everything I’ve learnt.  Not get distracted and do it properly.  

It’s so hard making this decision but I need to be strong tomorrow. I've been preparing properly and following the right nutrition plan for a half, and in doing so I'm reminding myself how good it feels to do it properly. I need to suck up the fact that I’ve had to change the goal this time.  And then choose another marathon and try and do it properly. I know it’s the right thing to do for me but it’s so hard to admit it!

As much as it's the right thing to do, I feel like I’ve let everyone around me down. What I'm more importantly struggling with, is that I've let myself down. I can't tell you how hard this week has been and how difficult it was being there this morning knowing that my goal has changed. But I’m trying to be strong and do what I know is right, even though it’s hard to stand up and admit that I’ve stuffed up. I’m going to try again, but properly this time. 

This time I'll focus on myself - on doing this for myself…..then I know that I'll have the opportunity to feel accomplished.

My little issue at the moment is that I'm feeling disappointed about doing a half marathon tomorrow.

Disappointed in a half??

Two years ago I couldn't run for 200 metres. Now a half is a disappointment? 

I'll try to overcome feeling like this. I need to put up with what I’ve created for myself. Right this minute it feels that replanning this goal is harder than going out there and doing it when I’m not ready. But I’ve learnt a big lesson and I just have to keep my head held high and keep moving forward.

I feel like that in downgrading this event, I’m losing all of the support I’ve been lucky enough to have built up for this and that breaks my heart.  But hopefully I can just transfer any support into my next one, which I’ll decide on asap so I can focus on it straight away.

Any tips on how to shift this disappointed feeling would be greatly appreciated in the very short term. :) Thank you for everyone for supporting me on this journey. One thing that made me feel better this week was that I remembered that our logo that we were given from GCAM says, and our Facebook page is called "Kate, Greg and Ruth's Road To The Marathon." We didn't say which one. ;) There is still a road to a marathon for me, it just won't be tomorrow. This is just part of that road. 

My biggest congrats in advance to Greg who is the only one of us 3 who is giving it a crack tomorrow. Lovely Ruth has an injury and made her tough decision a while back. Never one to made things easy on myself, I decided at the 11th hour after a painstaking decision time. Greg will carry the torch for us 3 tomorrow, and Ruth and I will do ours soon.

Instead of beauty school, I feel like a marathon school drop out, lol. I still gained a lot from going to marathon school, and will use that for my new first marathon.

Extremely sadly, Alicia, who my work team were running for, passed away two weeks ago. She chose the colour for our shirts and a few days later passed away. I'm wearing her shirt today and we are all still running for her, even though she is no longer here. Tomorrow will be for her as much as for me. I know that I'm blessed to actually have the opportunity to still run at all.

The road to my marathon has deviated and it's tough, but I don't imagine any road to a marathon is easy or straight sailing. When I finally do it, I know it will feel doubly amazing. I am not one to easily reassess my goals. I go out and make them happen, no matter what. I guess this one was too precious to me, to push through at the wrong time for me.

Thank you to Bron, Donna, Kirst, Court, Cathy, Catherine, Paul, Vicks, Mel, Tracey, Sue, Cat, Jo, Jess, Jason, Steph, Michaela, Pais, Charlotte, Greta and Gabi from 12WBT and all of my self proclaimed "run mums" and everyone else for your advice lately. Your advice and support and ear on helping me make this decision has been amazing. But a particularly special thank you to Jacq and Megan for your almost daily messages and Greg for your lengthy special phone call in the last few weeks to work through this decision carefully with me, while respecting me and encouraging me to make the right decision, for me.

This is one of those times in life where the path doesn't go the way you want. But we learn from it, we get up the next day and we do our best. And we work towards the next goal.

There was a sign up at the Gold Coast race expo where we picked up our packs on Friday night, and where I officially made the change from the full to the half. It said: 

"We finish what we start."

I will :) It won't be tomorrow, but I'll still do my mara.



  1. Oh Kate, what a terribly difficult decision to make. I know this must have been eating you up inside for a long time. But well done for making this decision based on logic and realistic expectations. And also - here's the important part - for making your decision because it was RIGHT FOR YOU. Good on you for understanding the real reason you signed up for the marathon - to make yourself proud, and to finally realise your potential as a marathon runner, without the added pressure of a time limit. If your marathon run is in Brisbane, I'll be there cheering my lungs out for you - and I won't miss you at the 8km mark this time xoxo Lots of love, beautiful butterfly.

  2. Well done. It's braver to admit you haven't prepared properly than it is to run and risk injury. The marathon will come, just enjoy mastering the half distance and consistent training. And celebrate how far you've come with your health!!x

  3. That's tough but as they say: you're young and life is long. I believe in natural progression and you know your body better than everyone else. The Marathon can wait.

    PS. Reading your posts have been an inspiration and I wish you good health and luck on your journey.