… Another running story I’m afraid!

Well I did it. I ran the Canberra Marathon last weekend and came home with a nice tidy personal best time.

I am absolutely thrilled. What a wonderful feeling it is when you put in the hard yards and are rewarded  for it. I can honestly say I earned that medal last weekend. 100%.

Last year my four marathon times went in the wrong direction. There was illness and injury and plenty of reasons. But ultimately I didn’t put in the training that I did for this one because of those reasons and also because I was focused on quantity not quality.

I had it in my head that I was going to run four marathons and whatever it took I was going to do them. When I first set that goal I didn’t realise it meant having to run the New York Marathon four weeks after having my gallbladder removed and had I known how ghastly it would be I probably would have deferred my place, but I did it anyway and at the end of the year I had four marathon medals. Achievement unlocked!

Just because my times went up instead of down (well the last two anyway), it doesn’t mean I didn’t love running them (okay maybe New York not so much) .. obviously London is my favorite marathon to run for obvious reasons but last July, running around Uluru with my awesome friend, Ashul, was probably the most special race I’ve done to date. If you are looking for a marathon in Australia that is unlike anywhere else in the world to run, choose the Australian Outback Marathon. Take someone with you that you love to run with, sharing that experience with Ashul, who has been a huge influence on my running, was a lifelong memory I’ll never forget.

Anyway what I didn’t expect with running so many marathons last year, was that my running confidence would take a beating. By the end of last year I was tired, stressed, worried I was running slower than I had been in two years and now that I’d reached my goal I didn’t really know what to do next.

After New York I ran a small race here in Sydney, the Balmain 10k. It was the slowest 10km race I had done in years. It was also the hardest and it just felt so wrong. I walked away from that feeling so demoralised and lost with my running and I fell into a huge slump.

Over christmas I tried to love running and even into January I just couldn’t enjoy it. I really can honestly say I hated every single step but I did it anyway because ever giving up running just isn’t an option.

In January I started being coached by my beautiful amazing friend Lyndal and at the beginning of February I was diagnosed with that stupid hyperthyroidism problem which once medicated sorted out my fatigue.

The combination of these two things were a huge turning point for me and since then I have trained solidly (except for when I nearly killed myself in March doing a 55km Coastrek walk and couldn’t train for a while. Coastrek is basically a swear word at my house now).

It might sound like a very basic thing to say but it was a reminder for me. There are no shortcuts in running. You can’t fake training. Of course there are smarter and less smart ways of training, but ultimately you have to climb the mountain to get to the peak.

The feeling of accomplishment I feel this week is enormous. I didn’t have any extreme goals with this marathon, I really didn’t know what was going to happen. Lyndal and I just wanted to see where I was at with the change in training and I am so blown away that in 3 months I could go from a complete mess to running my fastest marathon and to walk away absolutely injury free.

My next goal is another crack at the New York Marathon. I have serious unfinished business with it so I’m going back in November. Rather than giving myself a stressful time goal, all I want for this years race is to be able to walk away and know that I put in 100%. Regardless of time, I just want to know within myself that I gave it my all. Because when you give it your all it’s nearly impossible to not be satisfied with the result.

Because I can absolutely say that my Canberra Marathon, knowing that I gave it my all, was far more satisfying than all four of my marathons last year put together. Limping from one race to another, hoping you’ll get across the line in one piece is something I won’t do again. Ever.

Bring on New York!



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