Highs, lows and funnies – Marathon Number 1

Marathons are not for all runners. I get that. From where I sit, three days post-marathon number one, I see that there needs to be some sort of call. Some sort of desire. Some sort of internal click that says Yes, I want to run a marathon. It’s funny how most running programs start with conquering or getting to know 5kms. Then they jump to 10kms, doubling again to the half marathon of 21.1kms and then a huge doubling up to the full marathon 42.2kms. These are big leaps in distances and all these leaps do not call out to everyone.  Not taking the leap to big distances does not diminish the fact that we are all runners… no matter what pace, no matter what distance, we are all runners.  It takes guts to become and stay a runner no matter what distances we are running.  I hold fast to this belief 100%.  That’s ONE HUNDRED PER CENT!!!

The Training Review

I can say this now without fear of jinxing us: Pauly, Louise and the Unsporty Woman plodded through 14 weeks of marathon training without a single niggle, hitch or injury. We didn’t miss the long runs and there were only a few shorter runs that we didn’t do.

Coach Craig’s marathon plan had a total of 777kms for the 14 weeks. I ran 644kms in that time. The ones that were left out were during the pre-Point to Pinnacle week putting in a couple of extra rest days and then again in the pre-marathon week, a couple of extra rest days too.

It’s fair to say that our training was standard and routine. AND to be honest I couldn’t have hoped for it be any better than that. It was this standard-ness that gave me hope that all would be ok on the day.

Many times all three of us said: If we can run 37kms of hills we can run a marathon. We felt well prepared.

If we can say this about every event that we train for I’ll be happy! Smooth sailing, straight-forward routine? With all the hiccups, stormy seas, curve balls, issues and crises that life is punctuated by, if running can be without them then that’s GREAT! Running is my happy place.

Here we go!
Here we go!  Right at the start with Louise in blue.

The Marathon

You’ll be very pleased that I wrote way over 2000 words in this post and they sounded generally sad so I deleted them. I’ve got a lot of things out of my system and now I’m ready to tell you all the highlights, low lights and funny bits of becoming a Marathon Finisher at Cadbury Marathon 2015.

At the last minute I wrote my gel stops on my arm - best thing I did!  Kept me on track.
At the last minute I wrote my gel stops on my arm – best thing I did! Kept me on track even if it looks a little silly.

The Low Lights

  • I didn’t run all the way. I wanted to, I planned to, I trained to – but I didn’t. After analysing my splits it’s fair to say that all up, over the course of the marathon, I took 3kms of walking steps, these started at the 28km mark. I’m not going to beat myself up anymore but use the experience to learn from. There is new respect in this Unsporty Woman’s heart for the marathon but even better, new respect for me! Yes Me! I am a marathon finisher and no matter what happened between the start and the finish, I travelled the whole course and finished – my tee shirt says that Marathon Finisher.
  • My mantras and positive self-talk got lost somewhere on the day. Hard to believe I know, but they did. For some reason every time I went to chant I’m a marathoner, I’m a marathoner I didn’t feel worthy. I felt like a fraud.
  • At 23km we headed around a cone and back out for the second lap. That’s when I started to feel defeated.  Why so early??? When all the training runs were so good??? I have no idea.
  • When the sun burned the clouds off at 10am it got a little warm.
  • I worried Pauly because I took an hour and a half to run the last 10kms. He thought something bad had happened (I was updating my facebook so everyone knew where I was).
Pauly and Lance looking strong
Pauly and Lance looking strong

The High Lights

  • Team Huey, Dewy and Louie FINISHED!!!! We are marathoners!
  • I kept to my own race own pace resolve and didn’t go too fast at the start.
  • I got to chat with a gentleman who was trying to qualify for the Comrades Marathon in South Africa (this was at my 9th km and my fastest one too at 6:09mins/km). He didn’t think he would do it; he said this with a smile and that he would give it his best shot. I really liked his positive attitude. I found him at the finish and guess what? He snuck in and qualified with just a couple of minutes to go! It couldn’t have happened to a nicer guy.
  • I didn’t have to go to the portaloo once! Yay for Guts!


  • The personal drinks at each stop were wonderful. It was great not to have to carry all my gels.  It was just a matter of popping them into the right boxes at the admin office half an hour before race start.
  • The marshals, drinks volunteers and police were AWESOME!!!! At one point (pre-23kms) I was feeling so happy about being there and doing something I’d only ever thought possible in dreams; I saw a marshal smiling at me. I said with a big smile and giggle I’m running a marathon! And he smiled even more, cheered and clapped!  Such a happy moment.
  • The support from fellow runners and friends there watching was truly awesome! All my lovely running friends Sam, Leanne T, Leanne E, Leigh, Lynnda, Deb and of course Miss Melee cheered me on as they zoomed out and back doing the half marathon. So good. And they all had awesome runs. At one point Deb put her arm briefly around my shoulders and cheered me on. That was so appreciated!
  • Photos! I have wonderful photos of everyone to remember the day. Never run passed a camera without a smile and a wave!  Many were taken by Malcolm, Darren and Glenn. They not only took photos but cheered and clapped and waved too.  Better than any shot in the arm!
  • At one point on the lap home I saw Cathy and Malcolm driving back to their hotel.  Did they wave and cheer?  Cathy hung half her body out of the car waving like a mad thing cheering me on.  So Good!!!
  • The photos of me finishing and Louise hugging me are priceless beyond any treasure.  There are a few sets of these thanks to Fiona and Glenn.
  • I updated my facebook at the 7km, 16km and 26km marks and then when I had 10kms to go. I had my phone on silent but somehow I managed to turn the sound back on. At a very low point I head a bling and it was a message from Janette telling me to Keep Going!!!!! It was just what I needed when I needed it!
  • I saw and heard those cheers and pom poms from Sue and Dave frequently throughout the marathon but particularly at the 10km to go mark.  Amazing how I was able to see and hear all the way from Tasmania, Australia to Canada!
  • I got lots of feedback that I was looking smiley out there – that’s good because there were times when my smile was literally forced on but I kept it there as best I could.
  • So impressed with Louise’s husband Grant and girls who ran the 5km.  They chose the 5km event so that they would be there to see their gorgeous wife and mum finish.  I love that about this little family, so lovely and supportive of each other!
Tattoo?  What tattoo? A temporary job for after the marathon to explain why I can't walk!
Tattoo? What tattoo? A temporary job for after the marathon to explain why I can’t walk!  I’m pleased to say that the terrible ‘to the bone’ ache has finally gone.  I’m itching to run again!

Funny Moments

  • I saw a lady in the pre-race VIP area (you can spend an extra $50 and have access to some extra goodies like more portaloos, more chocolate and massage tables). She looked freezing and worried. Turned out that she didn’t realise that the marathon field was so small (there were 290 finishers according to the results). She thought small equalled elite and she was worried that she would come last. I asked her what her expected finish time was. She’d run heaps of marathons and usually did around 3:50:00. I assured her (failing not to laugh) that she wouldn’t be last and that I would be somewhere way way way behind her. I saw her several times on the course and she was making it look easy.
  • There were two squids running the half marathon. I kid you not. All in green lycra from head to toe complete with tentacle hats.
Salt bath and bubbles.  Perfect recovery!
Salt bath and bubbles. Perfect recovery!

Official Results

Pauly: 4:09:10, 6th in his category and 127th male.
Louise: 4:26:39, 19th in her category and 64th woman.
Annie: 5:12:03, 8th in my category and 90th woman.

There were 99 women and 191 men who finished the marathon on Sunday.

Pauly’s results are from his watch. His name wasn’t in the official results at first, something that didn’t worry him at all. But I sent an email and let race organisers know. Turns out he had a faulty chip. These are re-useable chips so had I not emailed someone else may have got this one in a future event. So I’m glad I did.

It was a great day. Full of wonderful memories, high lights, low lights and funny parts that are just too much to write.

What I take away from this event is to respect myself as a runner even more than I have. It’s a big thing this running thing. Yes anyone can do it but they don’t. Whatever the distance, when it is new it feels like a marathon and so often we feel we’ll never make it. But we keep trying and eventually we do.


I have learnt more about perseverance and respect over the last 14 weeks. And that never hurt anyone.

Happy running 🙂

PS this reverse taper things is HORRIBLE. Tomorrow I can run and I can’t wait!!!

I made it into the INKnBURN Monday Montage https://www.facebook.com/INKnBURN?fref=photo)
I made it into the INKnBURN Monday Montage https://www.facebook.com/INKnBURN?fref=photo)

46 thoughts on “Highs, lows and funnies – Marathon Number 1

  1. Marathons are hard, that’s why not everybody does them. Walking during a marathon is not a bad thing. Congrats on a great run and a good blog post.

  2. I’m all choked up and can barely write. It takes a LOT of guts to do a marathon. It’s a dig deep commitment. I am extraordinarily happy for you, proud of you and excited for you at the prospect of what comes next. You love running and that is the important thing. So glad to hear you have deleted the sad words. This is something to be celebrated. I got teary at you including us in your thank yous. Saturday afternoon in Canada was spent hovering over Facebook waiting for Annie updates. Sorry we worried you Pauly. So CONGRATS because you are a marathoner! Oh and if it makes you feel better I was 15 minutes longer than you. 🙂

    1. Thank you so much Sue 🙂 Just knowing you were over on the other side of the world cheering me was a huge boost! Pauly made me take my phone at the last minute, I wasn’t going to carry it. I’m glad I did just for the fun of it! The next marathon plan is to take the start back a few notches so I might clock a longer time next time but to be honest I don’t mind. I just want to get to the finish and finish the marathon again. I’m hooked. Oh and next time I have to call Pauly if I am going slower than he thinks I should be going. The good thing about Ross Marathon is that it’s even smaller than Cadbury and it’s 4 x 10.55km laps – he can jump in the car and come and find me 🙂 Thank you so much for all your amazing beautiful support over this marathon preparation and on the day. I don’t have the words to say thank you enough xxx

      1. Such a lovely reply Annie. I tell you what we will toast this and your future marathons when we meet in person!
        I can understand how husband’s worry. When i did mine Dave was beside me but in other races he has wondered where I might be. Yes I think a good idea to plan to go slow and then if you are having a good day or have gas in the tank in the last quarter you can always speed up. 🙂 Big hugs and you are most welcome for any support we could give.

  3. Woo hoo, you ARE a MARATHONER!!!!! Never doubted it for a minute. Well done to you (and Pauly and Louise). So – look out Ross Marathons … look forward to cheering you on down there (whilst I’m doing the half … like you said not everyone hears the calling of a marathon…yet!)

    1. Thank you lovely Janette xxx Yes look out Ross Marathon, I’ll be there and I’m looking forward to cheering you on as you fly by in the half and getting some of those lovely Janette-cheering-smiley-waves! Thanks so much for your support during the training and on the day. I can’t really say thank you enough for your 100% belief, support, encouragement…for all those slow chatty parkruns…just everything!!!! xxx thank you xxx

  4. Your post talks of a sense of disappointment that you had to take a walk break and your mantras did not work 100% of the time but you really must bask in the glory of what you achieved in the training and lead up and the actual event, you did it, you really did it, from not being able to run at all and the last few years of working up to this amazing achievement, you sure have come a very long way (42.2kms in fact)
    It is good to learn from the experience and know that next time some things may be different but take some time to appreciate what a wonderful person you are and what a strong fit runner you have become, the photos of you and your friend at the finish line are just so special xx

    1. Lovely Sam, thank you so much for your affirming, encouraging words. I so appreciate seeing things from your perspective which has helped me to see how good I actually did on the day. It was a great learning experience with things to note for next time. Those photos of Louise and I at the finish line really are priceless. Well done to you on your wonderful run! Great Ocean Road here you come!!!

      1. I just love the look on your face in the photo, it says everything about the journey, the run and your friendship, just awesome x
        I feel lucky to have found your blog (by accident!) I no longer describe you as the lady with the running blog but my friend Annie who helped me up the mountain and now I can add my friend Annie who ran a marathon 🙂

      2. Oh Sam x that’s the loveliest thing to say! I think of you as my awesome running friend! I think we helped each other up the mountain. Such amazing timing that if we’d tried to coordinate probably wouldn’t have happened. As always your encouragement and positive words hit the spot, thank you so much!!!

  5. Sometimes I feel like every man and his dog has done a marathon, and that if I did one people would say ‘oh yeah big deal’. But the fact is that it’s a massive challenge. When I did a half marathon I realised that I had never even walked that far before, and I definately haven’t walked (or cycled) 40k!! It’s a very big deal and you have crossed the line from someone who hasn’t done a marathon to someone who has!! Well done! I get the feeling that you are disappointed because you had some walk breaks. You set your expectations higher for yourself. Don’t be sad, you did a great job and you are a marathon woman!😎 I’m so proud of you ( as an unsporty nearly 50 yr old) and I want to be like you when I grow up!!

    1. Julie, thank you so much xxx you want to be like me when you grow up…that is simply the biggest compliment ever (have tears running down my face). I was disappointed because walking wasn’t in my plan but as Shaz and others have pointed out, we don’t know what those 42.2kms are going to give us on the day. I’m very proud of myself and your lovely comment is helping me to be proud. xxx Thanks Julie xxx

  6. Oh I have been waiting for this blog. You made me cry. The marathon is such a tough distance, if it wasn’t tough everyone would be doing them. Unfortunately there is no guarentee that if the training goes well, the 26.2 miles will also, this I know. Congrats for hanging in there and getting to the end. Happy Running.X
    Bloody well done.

    1. Thanks Shaz 🙂 you have truly been one of my inspirations. I won’t forget your London marathon with your sore tooth. I was so inspired that you kept running despite the pain and then again with those blisters just recently! Thanks for your wise words that are just so encouraging. xxx thank you xxx

  7. OMG! AWESOME! you are THE BEST! 🙂 So honest, i too am feeling really emotional! WELL DONE HD&L and Anniebabes you DID IT!!!! I never doubted you for one minute, wish we could all have been there to cheer you at the finish… what a faaaaaabulous achievement!!!!! *mwah*

    1. Thanks Corrina x Your encouragement is like a big fat shot in the arm, it really is! You are one special lady because you manage to get your bubbliness through your words into blogland and right into my heart. Thanks for your support and I hope that one day we might be at an event together. We have sun here in Australia! You know you like that! Thank you so much xxx

  8. I take my hat off to you, even if I have got bed hair lol. You truly are inspirational, the training itself you all accomplished gives me goosebumps. Yes runners, some of us have dreams regardless of the distance we cover or want reach for, but it takes a special kind of person to undertake a marathon and yes you are marathoner. I was in awe of the ones that were flying past but my admiration were the ones who were out there giving it a good go even if it was a slog. Your honesty as you write inspires me, and so true if training goes reasonably to plan you have the added confidence (for me anyway as was the case). Once again congratulations to you and your partners in crime. Looking. forward to your next journey. 🏃🏃🏃🏆🏆🏆💜

    1. Thank you so much Leanne 🙂 I really appreciate your affirming words. It was such a big day and I do feel proud to say I’m a marathoner. I so appreciated all the cheering from you and everyone from TRG. That was one of the most lovely and humbling things about the day. It was a special day one to cherish. Thank you so much. Big big congratulations to you on your awesome run too! You looked like you were having a lot of fun out there!

  9. The way I see it, there are only positives to be seen from your experience – you completed a marathon, a huge personal achievement! I bet your family and friends are bursting with pride! Your motivation and commitment is inspiring 🙂

    1. Thank you so much x you are right it is only about positives. And my family and friends are very proud of me. My Dad even cheered on facebook and he’s not much of a facebooker. Thanks so much for the wonderfully encouraging comment especially as I know much energy you have put into your marathon training and events xx

  10. Loads of points here for me to say

    1/ you are so photogenic when you run! I’ve never seen smiles like that in a half, let alone a full
    2/ You got across the line. If there is something I learned from Lance – that is what counts some days – walk/crawl/helped. It is about getting there.
    3/ There is no shame in walk/running (heck, I still do that for 5, and you were 8 1’2 times that distance!).
    4/ Not once did you give up. You kept going and going – what an inspiration that is.
    5/ There is nothing like cheering marathoners in – watching you, Lance, Louise and Paul was just awe-inspiring
    6/ You are a marathoner. Not many can say that!
    7/ You are amazing. Thank you.

    1. Full blown tears here. Thank you so much Fiona. The only real reply to this a huge hug when I see you next. I should have had you and your kids in as a highlight. The hugs from your boys at the end were so lovely. Thanks for being there and waiting all that time for me to finish. I am proud of myself, given myself a huge slapping. It is about finishing no matter what happens between start and finish its about getting over the line x thank you x

  11. It is normal to have low points during a long distance race, but you overcame them! Your training worked and you are now a marathoner! 🙂
    Congratulations …. and I suspect you are already planning your next one 😉

  12. You put tears in my eyes. I am so proud of you! You are a marathoner and that is no small feat at all. What you did takes a lot of hard work in preparation and stamina, perseverance and fortitude to finish and cross the line. And you did all that, never giving up even when you felt like a fraud. It’s amazing the lies our mind can tell us to get ourselves down- you are not a fraud, you are a marathoner!! Even on much shorter distances (as little as 2 mi) I have super low points, wanting to stop, quit and feeling like a fraud. I think this is a normal part of runner, at least for me, and what feels so good is when I’m able to keep going and not quit. I can’t even imagine running a marathon distance. You are strong in so many ways for having trained for and completed a marathon!!

  13. You are an inspiration to us all 🙂 it was an honour to line up at the start line with you and be there at the finish line when you crossed it. We put so much hard work and commitment into our training and it paid off on the day when we all crossed that finish line. That day will be in my special memories forever especially when you crossed the finish and I was waiting ( love the photos)
    Thankyou for all the great training runs we had lots of laughs 🙂 I learnt lots of things ( especially about cows ) haha and enjoyed ever km of it. Even though I won’t be going in the Ross Matathon I am going to do all the training with you ready for our next one together.
    You are definitely not THE UNSPORTY WOMAN any more you are a MARATHONER 🙂
    Be proud of yourself becasause I am proud of you xoxo

    1. Thank you lovely Louise xxx that about sums it up. Thank you so much. You made training fun and taught me to love early starts (love? handle early starts). The best part of the whole marathon thing had been friendship xxx I’m very proud of you because even though you made it look easy I know it was an enormous challenge and despite the pain you aced it!!!!

  14. Such an awesome effort Anne- Marie. You are a marathoner! The marathon is so, so tough & has so much potential to go wrong, often without clear reasons. I can’t believe you ran a marathon in a Tassie summer – I’m terrified of running in the heat! I also so impressed that you’re planning to do another one – I’m not sure I ever want to go there again 😀 xx

    1. Thanks Tahnee 🙂 I was nervous about the weather but honestly it was ok. The last hour was warm but there was enough shady bits and a slight cool breeze at times. I think I might have fallen in love with the distance – strange but true. Thank you so much for your encouragement and support xxx

  15. Congrats on becoming a marathoner! I’m sure that having the support of so many running friends helped you to persevere and to cross the finish line. It’s great to hear that you’re already making plans for your second marathon!

  16. Congratulations on completing your first marathon, becoming a marathoner, and putting together a brilliant write-up of the event! And I don’t believe that there is anything wrong with walking during a marathon – I still walk part of my regular parkrun!

    1. Thanks Cecila 🙂 it was a wonderful day and one that I won’t forget. I have the bug now and already putting the training runs into the calendar for the next one. As long as we do our best to finish, that’s what matters.

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