The body really does achieve what the mind believes – Part 1 The Lilydale Lope

The Meeting

Mind: I’m convening an emergency meeting!
Knees: What’s she gone and decided to do now?
Mind: Attention everyone, there has been little thought about this (and I should know, I am the thinking part of her) but tomorrow the Unsporty Woman is going to do a 16.6km run with that Athletic Club. I don’t know much about it except that it has lots of hills.  She has been pretty busy with work as you know, so  there hasn’t been much thought process about it at all.  It’s only just become a major part of her thinking today and it’s Friday!
Knees: Yes, speaking at a book launch on Monday and she doesn’t like public speaking, all that running and bootcamp, her usual admin and tutor load including a 6am work trip to Hobart on Thursday and not getting home until 10:30pm, how many trips off the farm has she done? I’ve lost count, she’s been all over the place.  What did you say Mind?  That Athletic Club, Not the Gutbuster one?  No!
Mind: Afraid so Knees, the Gutbuster Athletic Club. I expect all of you to pull together because you know how important this running thing has become to her.
Lungs: I’m not too sure. We really struggled with the Nile 10 Mile and that was flat AND this is an extra 0.6kms on top of it.
Heart: Yeah, I pumped and pumped but had to make the whole body sit down immediately after that run, I don’t think I can keep pumping for 10 miles again! And up hills! Oh dear.
Mind: You know how far she’s come. She has trained and trained, Heart and Lungs, even you guys are finding running so much easier than you did. And Knees, she is looking after you so well with all those massages and switch on exercises. She has been eating well; and how impressed are we that she has so dramatically decreased her wine drinking??!!
(raucous applause from everyone, but especially Liver)
Mind: So no more complaints. We can do this – and people please – try and be happy and no grumbles, cramps or creaks, she looks so much better when she smiles, it’s a much better corporate look for us when going over the finish line than that silly contorted face she often does.

That’s right.  The Launceston Athletic Club’s Lilydale Lope was yesterday. I knew the distance, I knew that there would be hills but other than that I really didn’t know too much. I hadn’t given it a huge amount of thought during the week other than it was coming up, my week had been a hectic one. On Friday I made sure I hydrated well, we had pasta for dinner and I got to bed at a reasonable time. On Saturday I ate all the right things, got all my running gear ready in plenty of time and was cool, calm and collected as we set off for the run at 10:30am to be there at 11:30am with a race start of 12pm.

We get to the start of the run. This time I had emailed ahead and found out exactly where the start was so no anxious clock ticking moments driving around searching. Husband comes with me and I register (he is almost back to form but not quite so yesterday he was my support crew). I see the course map. Oh my, so many turn-offs, so many roads. I worry that I will get lost! I’m reassured that I won’t, there will be marshals at all the important places and I’ll be fine. Again I’m blown away by how friendly everyone is. How inclusive this community of running people are. How encouraging they are to a new person they hardly know.

The Lilydale Lope is a handicapped race. I was the fifth out of 34 to start with a handicap of 19:20. Away I go. The run was lovely, I can honestly say this. I ran up all the hills without too much trouble. I wasn’t very fast at all, in fact I was slow. By the 10km mark only four runners had passed me, but from here on there was a steady stream. Some were huffing and puffing and looking laboured. Some looked like those big inclines were actually large declines, such was their effortless running style.  Those elite runners just seemed to fly by, they are truly amazing!  I can only imagine how much training, slog and effort it must take to get that fast.  I’m in awe.

Nile 10 Mile (16kms) of totally flat course took me 1:45:03 (that was in February), my time for the Lilydale Lope was 1:49:23. I was thrilled with this. I ran all the way and finished. I enjoyed the course, it was really pretty, it was somewhere different to run. Sometimes the road wound up through lovely forested areas with cute country cottages dotted amongst the trees, sometimes it looped by vineyards and farms. I saw some lovely dairy cows and a very pretty mob of Friesian heifers so had a good study of those while I chipped my way up a big long incline that seemed to go forever. With 1.6kms to go and back down on the flat I picked up my pace. I picked it up and ran. I ran along that flat to the finish with such a feeling of achievement I could never put this into words. I smiled. I was happy. I’d been slow, but I had run all the way and I had finished. The Unsporty Woman is just that little bit closer to having a go at her holy running grail, The Point to Pinnacle.


Event running? Yes, I am welcome at events. No one thinks I’m too unsporty, too inexperienced, too much of a bad runner – they say hello, they say welcome, they smile. Us unsporty-beginner-runner types, yes we can do this event thing. The only barrier to an event is me. I have to decide to enter. I have to put in the preparation. Oh my, if I can put myself out there with all those elite runners yesterday any one can do this. Have a go, you will surprise yourself, and it’s ok to walk and run. There were quite a few people yesterday doing a combination of this and they were still faster than me – and do you know what? That’s ok! Whatever works for you, do it.

A final word from Mind:
She doubts sometimes, the body doesn’t always pull together, but she listens to us all and takes things slowly. Yes, we do believe that she can do this running thing. After the Lilydale Lope we got together and decided that those 16.6kms weren’t so bad and even knees and their quiet mates hamstrings and hips are in ok condition today. We are ready to keep moving forwards so that the Unsporty Woman can run up that mountain in November.

Part 2:  Do events make us more of a runner?  coming soon.

Happy running 🙂

9 thoughts on “The body really does achieve what the mind believes – Part 1 The Lilydale Lope

  1. Pingback: Unsporty Women Can Run

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