Wednesday, 31 October 2012

Melbourne Marathon Festival - October 14 2012

 “The miracle isn’t that I finished. 

The Miracle is that I had the courage to start”

I start this post with a philosophical quote from John Bingham and it makes me smile.  Because it makes me think about the amount of good wishes and support I received once I realised my goal of running the Melbourne Marathon wasn’t going to be achieved this year.  A friend of mine found this quote and inspired me to challenge myself and look beyond my comfort zone, and then a few days after I found out I had a small stress fracture in my foot I received a text message from my husband with a photo of this quote - and I knew exactly the meaning behind it.  He was telling me that it wasn’t about doing the marathon, it was about having the courage to believe I could do it, to enter, to train and push myself beyond what I thought were my limits.  I pushed through my limits surpassing my previous longest run (half marathon in April) with training runs of 24km and 28km. 

The day of the Melbourne Marathon Festival was blue skies, not a breath of wind and just perfect.  A little cool in the morning and heating up in the afternoon just enough to lay in the sun resting tired legs.  There were thousands of people entered in the Marathon, breaking the record for the most people in Australia to finish a marathon.  At the start line there were people everywhere, lots of nervous smiles and a huge line for the toilet.  The whole week before the marathon my husband hadn’t been nervous, but he had wide eyes and butterflies in his stomach when they called over the loud speaker that it was 5 minutes to start time.  I bid him good luck with a kiss and a ‘you’ve got this’ and I went and found a place on the barrier.  There was the teeniest bit of sadness that I wasn’t running too, but I was a super proud wife cheering on my husband’s first marathon! 
I kept track of his progress throughout the race, but at the 3hours 23 minute mark I saw my husband with 100m to go –I was screaming that loud that anyone in the stadium could have heard my cheers, anyone except my husband who had his ipod in and music blaring!  The good intention was still there!  I am so proud of him, finishing his first marathon and beating the time he set for himself is a huge achievement!  A huge congrats to our friend Tim who completed his first Marathon too in 4 hours - unbelievable both of you
As soon as my husband was over the line I was jogging to the start line of the 5.7km.  It was a pretty ugly first  5.4km as there was no training since I got the ‘no go’ on the marathon training but I had to run on the Melbourne Cricket Ground!  I did bask in the last 300m.  I spent the first 100m in awe of an amazing stadium, just imagining what it would be like to run out on the ground here with 100,000 people in the stands and soak up the sporting history of the 1956 Olympic Games, AFL Grand Finals, Boxing Day Tests and World Cup Qualifiers.  The stands looked huge, but so close you could imagine the roar of the crowd – and then I looked to the finish line.  I had 200m to run and there were a bunch of people I saw ahead of me that I could beat to the finish line!  You could say that the competitive me kicked in, and I sprinted to the finish line with a huge smile on my face!  My time for the 5.7km was 30:23minutes and I’m happy with that. 

The benefits of the training wasn’t so much in the physical achievements, it was the mental achievements of pushing past what I thought was the physical pain barrier, running when all I wanted to do was walk, running up hill, after hill, after hill.  It has taught me that I am so much more capable physically than I thought I was!  And although it seems hard at the time – nothing lasts forever.  The physical gains have been most noticeable in leg strength and muscle endurance.  Lunges, back squats, front squats and just climbing stairs are all the better for hill sprints and interval training.  Give me a 20 minute AMRAP or a workout that is based on endurance and I don’t complain anymore because my strength is lasting longer and I’m faster over 800m, 5km and 10km than I was before.   

All the endurance training did come at a price to strength training.  When I returned to CrossFit training I was struggling with 45kg cleans, my technique for cleans and snatches needed a lot of work and this was hard to take.  I’m a competitive person at the best of times and it’s hard to be in a position of climbing back to where you were.  It would be fair to say I was disheartened, struggling that I wasn’t running 30-40km per week, wasn’t allowed to do the full complement of training due to my stress fracture, and then to face a barbell that I struggled with – I came close to nearly losing my shit at a few morning sessions!   But I didn’t.   The reason I didn’t is that I have a loving husband who is proud of me, an excellent coach at CrossFit Tenacity that has taken the time to re-teach me movements, break them down and reinforce that it’s not about the numbers, and a community of friends that will always scream it me ‘just one more’ when I need to hear it.  The silver lining I have taken from this : it’s made me take the time to focus on technique and put the weight aside and I’m the better for it. 

The end result being that whatever I lost physically I can regain, it’s the increase in mental strength and capacity I have forever! 

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