If you could talk to the weather gods and order the perfect day for a marathon, Sunday 18 October 2015, Melbourne, Victoria Australia is the day that you’d choose. Perfect. Mild with light cloud cover and gentle cooling spring breezes, with lovely full-on sun right at the end – a top of 22°C but with a marathon start of 11°C. Melbourne Marathon 2015, I did it!
What were my goals for Sunday? To run all the way and to have fun.
I did that. I ran all the way. I had fun. I loved it.
The plan was to run all the way to the 22km cutoff point without any drink stops (I had a hydration belt with me). I did that. Pauly ran with me to make sure I made it passed the cutoff (just under 2:20:00 with 20 minutes to spare). A couple of times he got into conversations with fellow runners and together they slowly got in front of me, but he would wait at the next drink stop and then we’d be running together again. Or he’d stop at a drink stop and slowly catch me up. I was ecstatic with my pace. Just ecstatic. Once passed the cutoff time there was no more pressure.
The course was so interesting and unlike Cadbury Marthon where I was running mostly on my own, there were thousands of runners all around me. Some dressed up. Spider Man with his full mask. A young chap in a suit and tie. Ladies in school dresses. A few Wonder Women. And many runners with Spartan tops that signify they had crossed the finish line from 10 to over 35 Melbourne Marathon events. One gentleman was 76 years old and proudly running along wearing a 35 year Spartan top – he finished before me. We wove through Melbourne’s city streets passed the iconic Flinder Street Station, out around Albert Park Lake where the Melbourne Grand Prix is held, along St Kilda’s water front before heading back a slightly different course into the city.
And then The Melbourne Cricket Ground, the MCG or The G as it’s known. The main site of the 1956 Melbourne Olympic Games (where Shaz’s Dad had been an Olympian, I thought about him on the day, I was just a humble runner but here I was running a course that would end up where Olympians of true merit had competed). We head in and run almost a lap with the crowds cheering as if we are indeed Olympians. The atmosphere super charged.
How did I feel throughout the race? Happy, positive, hopeful. Trusting my training all the way. There was not one point that I wanted to walk. I told myself that unless I stopped at a drink stop after the 22km point that I wasn’t to walk. I remembered Shaz’s words so often. She urged me to keep running and reminded me that it was harder to start running again after walking. And as for the lovely Sue and Dave, their smiley faces and their Canadian coloured pom poms popped up all over the course – they were running faster than me. I heard the cheers of Sam all the way from Hobart! And Fiona, your messages were just pure treasure to me!!! Thank you all so much!!!
I got beyond those usual kms where I want to give up. 25km came and went. 26 up to 30kms came and went and I was still chipping away. I was getting a little slower with each 5km split but I was feeling good! It was the 34th km where it got tough. I set my resolve, listened to Shaz, saw those Canadian pom poms, heard the cheers of my family and friends and the powerful words of the YouTube Visualisation I’d been watching. My body ached but my mind said You Can Do it. And I did. I kept on running. Going into the dark tunnel and then coming out into the sunshiny MCG and the cheers of the crowds was just so good. I ran around the red track reserved for the Marathoners and looking up and seeing that the clock hadn’t gone five hours yet. I couldn’t believe it.
A special thank you and acknowledgment of our wonderful Coach, Coach Craig of The Running Group. His wisdom and help with our plans was right en pointe! His encouraging words and texts were just the best.
Pauly ran with me until the 28th km, this was the turn around point along St Kilda Road and from then it was chipping away back to The G. The home run.
I had the best run. The best long run in all the training I’ve done for both marathons. I can’t believe it. I am so grateful.
Pauly went on to run 04:34:07. I’ll be forever grateful for his help on the day. He let the chance to run his own marathon go so he could make sure I had a good one.
Janette ran her first marathon. She exceeded all expectations and did a smoking 04:04:14. Just amazing!!!
Louise took 17 minutes off her Cadbury Marathon time. SEVENTEEN minutes! Louie’s time was 04:08:40! She kept on going strong despite some knee and foot niggles. So proud of you Louie!!!
And the Unsporty Woman? Well she cried at the end. She couldn’t believe it. She ran all the way and took 22 minutes off her Cadbury Marathon time coming in 4:50:25. I am proud of her too.
Follow your dreams. Don’t give up. Get your mental toughness in order and the sky is the limit. The visualisation I did for the three weeks prior to the marathon paid huge dividends on the day. Despite the fact that that little YouTube only went for four minutes, it kept me going for nearly five hours. Conquering any new distance is just as much about belief and mental training as it is about lacing up the running shoes. I am proof.
I am so grateful to my beautiful running buddies, Team Huey (Pauly), Louie (Louise), Daisy (Janette) and the ever patient Daffy (Grant). Grant ran the 10km event and then hung around for ages for the last of the ducks to finish. It really is all about team work.
To my family, friends and blogging-running buddies – thank you so much. I still can’t quite believe it. Thank you is only a word but it comes deep from my heart to you.
If I can do all this so can you!
Happy running 🙂