Tuesday, 16 January 2018

WHY I LOVE MY RUN CLUB!

I haven’t written a blog post for quite some time now. Life has been travelling along nicely and my running has been going well. 2017 was all about finding my way back from injury and doing some shorter distances and just finding that joy in running again, which I absolutely did.  Towards the end of 2017 I knew that I was going to start challenging myself more and run a bit more distance again and I was starting to feel a desire to run the marathon distance again. I know, I know, me saying never again has become quite laughable now. Each time I have said it post marathon I have believed it with all my heart but there is just something  magical about marathons and with time the memory of the pain subsides and you just remember all the good bits.

I have said many times before that I am very much a solo runner. I love catching up with friends occasionally for a run but my running time is all about me, it is like meditation (or even medication πŸ˜‰) for me and it helps me forget any stresses or worries I have and just gives me an outlet for my nervous energy!

But things have changed and I couldn’t be happier. I will always love my solo runs but I have found a whole new world of running that I am loving/obsessed with.  Late in 2017 I thought I will look up some groups for speedwork training, in the hope that I could find a session to push me a bit more than I could on my own. I have known of Intraining Running and Triathlon Club for years, I think everyone in Brisbane knows the red and white singlets of Intraining as they are a huge presence on the running scene. I must admit at first glance I found the group a bit intimidating, they all seemed to know each other and I thought it may be a bit hard to feel like a part of the club as a newbie (how wrong those assumptions were). 

Anyway I sent a message off to the closest group at Tennyson and had a lovely response so thought I’ll go once and see what I think. I was so nervous beforehand, worrying about what if I can’t keep up, what if they don’t like me, what if no one talks to me.... you know the feeling of going along to a group where you don't know anyone. But I thought about what I would tell my kids if they were in the same situation and that gave me the courage to go along.  John the coach immediately welcomed me and introduced me to everyone.  So after a quick warm up and not too much time for me to think he started the session and off we went. That first session I pushed myself so hard, in fact harder than I ever had before. I also realised I have no idea how to pace myself and was thinking , please be over soonπŸ˜‚ and then it was over and my first thought was thanked god I survived, quickly followed by wow that was fun and I can't wait for next week! 




But the good thing I learned about these sessions is you can work to your own abilities and everyone is welcome. The coaches and everyone in the group encourage you and even when you think you can’t give anymore you find another level and push on.  Just as a little example today we did 200m repeats with a jog recovery and this was one of the first sessions I did with the group. I have now been attending for two months, so I went back to compare the times and my overall pace from that initial session has dropped 15 seconds per kilometre, and on that first session I smashed myself, so I was shocked to see such a big improvement. I do still feel like the new kid on the block but I also feel like I have made some great friends who motivate me to keep trying harder and who I know will support me in my goal of running the Adelaide Marathon in May!

There is also the added bonus of having the coaches at each session to ask questions of and just to learn from their experience.  The club also has many sessions across Brisbane and I have also started attending the Sunday long run and look forward to doing these with the group in the lead up to the marathon, again there are so many runners of different abilities that you can find someone to run with and I never thought I’d say this but it makes the longer runs more enjoyable!

So here is a little list as to why I think everyone could benefit from joining a club:

• organised sessions with variety each week and a build in intensity and length leading up to events.

• having a coach there to guide you through your session and who is available to guide you with any running questions.

• making new friends and having people to chase so you push yourself to be the best runner you can be.

• again having club members there to encourage you on the days when it all feels too hard.  There is always someone to give you a little boost to keep going.

• being in a formal group environment with a wide variety and background of runners, you get to hear about all these amazing events and before you know it you are considering things you didn’t think possible before.

• the motivation factor, being surrounded by people who are there to train and work really hard toward their goals rubs off on you. 

• the team effect, when you put on your singlet even though running is a solitary sport you know you have the whole team behind you and you want to do yourself and the club proud.

So these of the reasons I would encourage people to give a club a try to improve your running.  Earlier I said how I was nervous about joining Intraining as they all seemed to know each other. I should never have been nervous about that, it isn’t that they know each other, it’s that you put the singlet on and fellow club members encourage you straightaway. We all start somewhere and there is always someone with a friendly word to make you feel welcome.

So if anyone wants to give my club a try follow this link:
http://intraining.com.au/intrainingclub/

It is $60 to join which includes a singlet (cheap right!) and then sessions for members are $5. The website shows all the locations and times.

Ps. I’m not getting anything free for this post, I just love the club so much and wish I’d joined years ago so just sharing my experience in case anyone else has wondered if a running club is for them :)




Friday, 26 May 2017

Well it's been a year, it doesn't surprise me....

No this isn't a rendition of George Michael's 'Last Christmas'. 

I have just realised it has been a year since I went off depression medication. I think that is something worth acknowledging. And today I can't imagine ever needing it again. In saying that I do know things can change at any given moment but I just feel so good and like that is all well and truly behind me now.

My depression first came on after a traumatic experience that I didn't deal with well and I just plummeted down until I could not see any hope. I am so grateful that I took the steps to get on medication when I did as I feel like it was the only thing that could have helped me get through that time and get well again. I used to talk about my depression a lot as I got better but now I sort of hate talking about it. I don't want to be defined by that. It was a time in my life and I'm not embarrassed by it but it was such a short period of time in the scheme of things and there so many other things that define me and make me who I am.

I know in the last few years I have probably used it as a bit of a crutch myself or even I hate to say this but as an excuse 😞 When things would go wrong or I was stressed about a situation I would put it down to depression but really it wasn't. Life is full of situations that may make you a bit sad, stressed, anxious for a day or a few days but that is totally normal. So I am throwing that crutch away now, it's not needed.

There is one thing I want to touch on though. You are told so much to reach out and talk about it, which you absolutely should do. But if you know someone with depression don't throw it back at them. If I'm a bit quiet or annoyed about something I find people so quickly thinking there is something mentally wrong. It's really annoying and it makes me feel like people don't think I'm strong. I actually don't need people to lean on constantly, I like to deal with things on my own. So if I'm quiet or don't open up it is just me


It's funny I noticed on my Facebook memories that the things I posted during my depression showed how much I was only focusing on the negative. I would post those sad picture quotes, you know the ones .........................

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+2


that really didn't help the situation at all, just made me feel worse! Don't get me wrong I am human and may need to post the odd one every now and again when someone annoys me and I feel the need to 'show them" with a bit passive aggressive posting lol πŸ™‚ But when I look at my social media feed now mostly it's positive, happy and funny just like me πŸ˜‰

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I even went onto my Facebook running page and changed my profile picture for the first time ever, the girl in that picture didn't reflect me anymore and it was time to start a new chapter!

Depression has changed me though. I am not very forgiving anymore. I have learned now it is up to me who I allow into my life and I don't have to allow any negativity in. So hate me (join the queue) or love me (join the even longer queue) this is me! I won't always get things right but I will always try.

It really feels like one big chapter closed and a whole new exciting story ahead of me.

I have a fun run on tomorrow I am really looking forward to it and feeling like it's the first step to so many great running adventures this year, wish me luck!

Wednesday, 10 August 2016

MY SECOND TRIP TO TOWNSVILLE FOR THE MARATHON AND IT WAS EVEN BETTER THAN THE FIRST....RACE WEEKEND REPORT


As some of you know for the last two years I have been an ambassador for http://townsvillerunningfestival.com/ which is held in August each year.  It has various distances to choose from but I was heading up again for the big one the Marathon.   My lead up to this one had not been the best.  About four weeks out I got really sick with a bad virus and missed a few runs including my longest run, then I was over that and my first run back I strained my hamstring and again missed a week of running.  But I eased back into training and by the time we took off on Friday I was pretty confident with how the hamstring was going.

We landed in Townsville about 8am and picked up a hire car!  We wanted to see a bit of the natural beauty this region has to offer so we drove straight out to the Paluma area and visited Crystal Creek.

 

It was a short stroll through stunning bushland to these beautiful water holes with rock slides that have naturally formed.  Even though it is winter here the weather in Townsville was just perfection, but the water was still a little too cold for me to brave for a swim, but it looked so inviting!

We then grabbed a snack and headed back into town for lunch.  We went to the Watermark Hotel on The Strand (the main street along the coastline) and I had the most amazing fish burger I have ever had in my life.  Highly recommend this place if you visit :) 

After that it was time to check into our accommodation which was Mariners North Apartments on the Strand and enjoy the view.... and what a view it was!

Can anyone say paradise?
 
 

A little rest was needed before heading out to the Townsville Running Festival Welcome Dinner.  What a great night this was, I find the cost for this dinner really reasonable and again like last year the food was fantastic.  It was also great to hear all the ambassadors speak, in particular Craig Mottram and I also loved catching up with some Townsville locals that I met last year and talking all things running.  The night has such a fun  relaxed atmosphere and we all had a great time. The thing I love about this race is you feel included all weekend, it isn't just turn up on race day and run, you get really involved in the excitement from the time you arrive in Townsville! The dinner is held at the Fish Inn which is right next to the rock pool in Townsville, the views from this restaurant are amazing!

This is Nikki who I met at the welcome dinner, she completed her first half on Sunday!

The welcome dinner view! Amazing!
 
We headed home after dinner and straight to bed!  So we could get some rest for Saturday.
 
Saturday started with a delicious breakfast on our unit verandah and then we headed down to the race expo.  It was a lot of fun down there.  I got to meet and talk to the guys from http://hokaoneone.com.au/ and was really impressed by their knowledge of all things running.  I test ran in a pair and they felt great!  I particularly love the new colours the shoes have come out in, they seem to be really improving and modernising their appearance.  I also did a quick radio interview with http://www.hotfm.com.au/townsville/ which was a lot of fun, even if they made me do the running man ;)  The merchandise at this event was really awesome too!  We all picked up our race numbers and talked to a few people about the run and just soaked up the atmosphere.


Radio interview time!
Checking out Hoka One One at the expo!
 
 
After the expo it was time to visit Castle Hill, a trip to Townsville would not be complete without heading up there and enjoying the views!
 





 We then headed out to the C-Bar on the strand for lunch and again beautiful food! 

The rest of the day was spent resting the legs before heading out for an early dinner and early to bed.

Race Morning:
I was up at 4.10am and I made my jam on toast and then ate it in the bathtub..... I have had a bath every marathon morning.  It may seem a bit odd but it relaxes me and warms me up and its a great place to eat breaky :)  

We then drove down to the start area, which was no fuss at all, we got a park right near the race precinct and I headed off to the toilets, they didn't even have a line up and were absolutely spotless! I walked back down a tiny slope from the toilet and said to my husband and friends "that's weird I can feel my hamstring", my husband said try a little run, which I did and it felt okay so crisis averted, or so I thought.   It wasn't long before it was time to line up.  I was using Tailwind for the first time to fuel this marathon so I actually had my husband hold the premade bottles, because this course is looped it worked perfectly, so he could hand me a bottle on each loop :) 

The race starts at 5.30am which is great to beat the heat.  They introduced the 10 year club members before the start and we all gave them a clap (I am now up to number 2 at Townsville I wonder if I will make the 10 year club, that would mean more marathons though lol).  Tony Gordon the Townsville Road Runners Club President came up alongside me at the start line in a full animal onesie, he was going to run the whole marathon in that, I did happen to see him at about 30k and he had half stripped off so I think he was feeling the heat???? He is a little crazy in a very loveable way.

My aim was run at 5.00 minute kilometre pace until about 32k and see what happened from there.  So the first lap of The Strand is basically a 10k loop, it was dark but the atmosphere was great.  You could see the water glimmering off to the left just as the sun was starting to think about rising.  I ran next to Sharon a runner from Brisbane who had also travelled up. 

Sandi, Myself and Sharon post race, loved seeing these ladies out there!
 

I kept looking at my watch and I was on about 4.54min kilometre pace and was trying to slow myself down constantly.  I was really happy with how comfortable I felt.  Just up ahead of me I could see Andre who is a Townsville local who I ran part of the marathon with last year.  I caught up and said hello and we talked race goals and had a mini reunion!  I settled into the 4.55min kilometre pace and thought I will leave it at that as it felt really comfortable.  I came back past where my husband and friends were at about 7.5k on the course and I said to them my hamstring is a little niggly but okay.  I kept going but I could feel it getting progressively worse.  Now in hindsight I think walking up and down the steps of our unit may have aggravated it.  I always knew it would be touch and go as I really hadn't had much time for it to heal.  So run on I did!  By the time I came round again on the my second lap, my whole leg was hurting from my hip to underneath my foot.  I can only put this down to my normal running form had changed to take the pressure off my hamstring.  I just felt really uncomfortable.  As I ran past them I said it isn't good but I will keep hanging on.  

By the third lap the half marathoners had started, I saw my friend Karen running in the opposite direction and I knew I would catch up to her once I reached the casino turn around.  I was really struggling with the pain by this point, I was trying to distract myself but it was all I could focus on and I was really getting worried I wouldn't finish and damn it I wanted my medal!!!!!!!!!!!  I thought at least a thousand times maybe I should pull out and not risk further damage but at this stage it wasn't even my hamstring that was bothering me it was just pain down my whole leg and even my right leg a bit, so again I could only put it down to my running form was off and I was putting pressure on different areas that were not used to it.  I never felt like my hammy was about to totally tear so I figured it was safe to keep running...... I really don't know how sensible this was but luckily for me it worked out okay.

I eventually came up alongside Karen at what I think was about the 24k mark for me.  As soon as I saw her I just burst into tears and running and crying don't go together very well.  I could not breathe, I sounded like I was having an asthma attack.  Karen gave me some words of encouragement and I think all I could say to her is I am in pain!  I pulled myself together and just kept running past, it was so great though because all the people around her also offered encouragement and I could hear them willing me on as I ran off.  At this stage I bargained with myself get to 30k mark and you can walk the rest. 

Over the next 10k at numerous times I was getting emotional, the pain was just getting worse and I wanted to throw in the towel, but that isn't in my nature.  I came up to my husband at the 32k mark and knew it would be the last time I would seem him, the last loop of this race goes in a different direction out along a lonely coastal road without many spectators.  We like to affectionately call it "death row". I actually stopped where he was and burst into tears and said it is hurting so much and he said maybe you should pull out.  Before I could think I said no I can't and kept running.  Everyone around him cheered when I started again and it was such a good feeling to be supported.  So I was out to finish off the last 10k and now I was bargaining with myself again and saying just run until the pain becomes unbearable, I decided I could make it to the turnaround point which I think is at around 36k, the road is long and straight and even though I remembered this from last year it just felt like it would never ever end.   When I got to the turnaround point there was a marker and I actually had to touch it and say thank god.  I have never been so glad to reach a turnaround point in my life.  It was then I thought okay if I need to walk to take the pressure off my leg I can but the deal I made with myself was I would only walk for 20 steps at any given time.  I did this a couple of times and before I know it I had made it to 38k.  Once I got to 38k I knew without a doubt that I would finish, even if my leg fell off lol. 

I hobbled the rest of the way, with a few walk breaks.  I saw my friend Shylet out there and as we passed we just sort of waved, we both were in a bad way and I didn't want my negativity to rub off on her and I found out afterwards she was thinking the same.  I saw Sam who is also a Brisbane runner who I didn't actually know before this weekend but I had seen him on Facebook, he yelled out some really encouraging words just when I needed them!

A lot of people yelled out support and encouragement those last few kilometres. I saw a few other Brisbane runners who had travelled up and they yelled out, I can't even remember if I said anything back.  I really hope I did but I was literally running through tears and really had gone into my own head to try and find some mental toughness. 

At the 41k mark I saw Loryn and Christine, Loryn was also in the marathon.  I stopped as soon as I saw them and started crying... yes again.  They actually ran over and said you can do this go, you are almost finished it is almost over..... or something like that I really can't remember but I do know it helped get me to that finish line!   Then around the next corner I saw my good friend Mel and she was all excited and I gave her a little wave, then my good friend Trish popped up next to me and encouraged me to get it done.  How lucky am I to have so many friends willing me on.
The 10k runners including my friend Mel out on the course!
 

In my head I knew from early on my time wasn't going to be what I hoped for. I felt like I was running so slow as my leg got worse, I had stopped looking at my watch once the walk breaks started.  I thought I was probably way over 4 hours and I really was shocked when I turned the corner for the finish line and saw the clock and knew I would finish in 3.49.  I actually pulled out the biggest smile for my finish line photos (well I think I did, once I see them I will know lol).  I crossed the line and then burst into tears I was so relieved to be finished but so emotional.

I walked through the recovery area and two ladies who knew me, I can't even remember who they were or if I knew them said well done and asked me how I went.  I just couldn't stop crying and I just said to them sorry I am so emotional........ so if whoever it was is reading this, I am so sorry it was just hours of pain and relief at being able to stop running hitting me all at once and I couldn't even talk or concentrate. 

I found my husband and really sobbed it out then.  Once I calmed down I actually thought to myself of all my marathons this was my proudest, my faster ones had nothing on this.  To keep going when it was so tough and I was hurting so much is something I am so proud of.  I just had to prove to myself that I don't give up.  Marathon medal earned!

Now in case you are thinking about doing this event, you really should.  They have all the distances, a 2.5k kids run, 5k, 10k, half marathon, marathon and you can even run the marathon as a team!
They also let you put your special drinks out on tables for the marathon, I know this service is not offered at a lot of marathons nowadays except for the elite runners.  The course is flat, and when I say flat I mean pancake flat!  It also hugs the coastline for most of the run so the views are spectacular.  The volunteers are the best I have ever come across, they are so friendly and always encouraging.  The drink tables are every 2.5k and they have water and sports drinks, they are never congested and always have cups ready to go.  The recovery area has the best fruit tables you have ever seen. The medal is huge and just beautiful and the race singlet also fantastic, so great value for money.   I just can't fault it, the Townsville people love welcoming people to this town and you will feel like a local by the time you leave......You may have guessed this is my favourite event.

 
Now that's a recovery fruit table!
 
We finished off an amazing weekend in Townsville with drinks at our accommodation, I wasn't up for walking anywhere so staying at the unit seemed like a great idea.
 

Now don't forget this is winter but Townsville has the most amazing winter weather.  The race conditions were perfect early in the morning but the days are so sunny and warm!  We even jumped in the spa to ease our weary legs and drink a few champagnes.

The next morning before flying out we took my parents for a look around Jezzine Barracks which is where the race starts and finishes.  Unbeknown to us there is a trail right next to it called Kissing Point trail.  Wow what a gorgeous spot. It is also very educational on wartime history.    I will leave you with a few photos of this area and you can plan your trip to Townsville.  Put this place and this race on your must do list.

Post race my hamstring feels fine?  It has been more my calf that has bothered me. But a few days later I think I am ready for a run/walk tomorrow to test it out.....onwards to the next adventure.



 The street straight ahead in this photo is The Strand which makes up the majority of the course!


 Lovely sculptures.
Coastline walkway. 

So who is joining me next year??????

 


MY SECOND TRIP TO TOWNSVILLE FOR THE MARATHON AND IT WAS EVEN BETTER THAN THE FIRST....RACE WEEKEND REPORT


As some of you know for the last two years I have been an ambassador for http://townsvillerunningfestival.com/ which is held in August each year.  It has various distances to choose from but I was heading up again for the big one the Marathon.   My lead up to this one had not been the best.  About four weeks out I got really sick with a bad virus and missed a few runs including my longest run, then I was over that and my first run back I strained my hamstring and again missed a week of running.  But I eased back into training and by the time we took off on Friday I was pretty confident with how the hamstring was going.

We landed in Townsville about 8am and picked up a hire car!  We wanted to see a bit of the natural beauty this region has to offer so we drove straight out to the Paluma area and visited Crystal Creek.

 

It was a short stroll through stunning bushland to these beautiful water holes with rock slides that have naturally formed.  Even though it is winter here the weather in Townsville was just perfection, but the water was still a little too cold for me to brave for a swim, but it looked so inviting!

We then grabbed a snack and headed back into town for lunch.  We went to the Watermark Hotel on The Strand (the main street along the coastline) and I had the most amazing fish burger I have ever had in my life.  Highly recommend this place if you visit :) 

After that it was time to check into our accommodation which was Mariners North Apartments on the Strand and enjoy the view.... and what a view it was!

Can anyone say paradise?
 
 

A little rest was needed before heading out to the Townsville Running Festival Welcome Dinner.  What a great night this was, I find the cost for this dinner really reasonable and again like last year the food was fantastic.  It was also great to hear all the ambassadors speak, in particular Craig Mottram and I also loved catching up with some Townsville locals that I met last year and talking all things running.  The night has such a fun  relaxed atmosphere and we all had a great time. The thing I love about this race is you feel included all weekend, it isn't just turn up on race day and run, you get really involved in the excitement from the time you arrive in Townsville! The dinner is held at the Fish Inn which is right next to the rock pool in Townsville, the views from this restaurant are amazing!

This is Nikki who I met at the welcome dinner, she completed her first half on Sunday!

The welcome dinner view! Amazing!
 
We headed home after dinner and straight to bed!  So we could get some rest for Saturday.
 
Saturday started with a delicious breakfast on our unit verandah and then we headed down to the race expo.  It was a lot of fun down there.  I got to meet and talk to the guys from http://hokaoneone.com.au/ and was really impressed by their knowledge of all things running.  I test ran in a pair and they felt great!  I particularly love the new colours the shoes have come out in, they seem to be really improving and modernising their appearance.  I also did a quick radio interview with http://www.hotfm.com.au/townsville/ which was a lot of fun, even if they made me do the running man ;)  The merchandise at this event was really awesome too!  We all picked up our race numbers and talked to a few people about the run and just soaked up the atmosphere.


Radio interview time!
Checking out Hoka One One at the expo!
 
 
After the expo it was time to visit Castle Hill, a trip to Townsville would not be complete without heading up there and enjoying the views!
 





 We then headed out to the C-Bar on the strand for lunch and again beautiful food! 

The rest of the day was spent resting the legs before heading out for an early dinner and early to bed.

Race Morning:
I was up at 4.10am and I made my jam on toast and then ate it in the bathtub..... I have had a bath every marathon morning.  It may seem a bit odd but it relaxes me and warms me up and its a great place to eat breaky :)  

We then drove down to the start area, which was no fuss at all, we got a park right near the race precinct and I headed off to the toilets, they didn't even have a line up and were absolutely spotless! I walked back down a tiny slope from the toilet and said to my husband and friends "that's weird I can feel my hamstring", my husband said try a little run, which I did and it felt okay so crisis averted, or so I thought.   It wasn't long before it was time to line up.  I was using Tailwind for the first time to fuel this marathon so I actually had my husband hold the premade bottles, because this course is looped it worked perfectly, so he could hand me a bottle on each loop :) 

The race starts at 5.30am which is great to beat the heat.  They introduced the 10 year club members before the start and we all gave them a clap (I am now up to number 2 at Townsville I wonder if I will make the 10 year club, that would mean more marathons though lol).  Tony Gordon the Townsville Road Runners Club President came up alongside me at the start line in a full animal onesie, he was going to run the whole marathon in that, I did happen to see him at about 30k and he had half stripped off so I think he was feeling the heat???? He is a little crazy in a very loveable way.

My aim was run at 5.00 minute kilometre pace until about 32k and see what happened from there.  So the first lap of The Strand is basically a 10k loop, it was dark but the atmosphere was great.  You could see the water glimmering off to the left just as the sun was starting to think about rising.  I ran next to Sharon a runner from Brisbane who had also travelled up. 

Sandi, Myself and Sharon post race, loved seeing these ladies out there!
 

I kept looking at my watch and I was on about 4.54min kilometre pace and was trying to slow myself down constantly.  I was really happy with how comfortable I felt.  Just up ahead of me I could see Andre who is a Townsville local who I ran part of the marathon with last year.  I caught up and said hello and we talked race goals and had a mini reunion!  I settled into the 4.55min kilometre pace and thought I will leave it at that as it felt really comfortable.  I came back past where my husband and friends were at about 7.5k on the course and I said to them my hamstring is a little niggly but okay.  I kept going but I could feel it getting progressively worse.  Now in hindsight I think walking up and down the steps of our unit may have aggravated it.  I always knew it would be touch and go as I really hadn't had much time for it to heal.  So run on I did!  By the time I came round again on the my second lap, my whole leg was hurting from my hip to underneath my foot.  I can only put this down to my normal running form had changed to take the pressure off my hamstring.  I just felt really uncomfortable.  As I ran past them I said it isn't good but I will keep hanging on.  

By the third lap the half marathoners had started, I saw my friend Karen running in the opposite direction and I knew I would catch up to her once I reached the casino turn around.  I was really struggling with the pain by this point, I was trying to distract myself but it was all I could focus on and I was really getting worried I wouldn't finish and damn it I wanted my medal!!!!!!!!!!!  I thought at least a thousand times maybe I should pull out and not risk further damage but at this stage it wasn't even my hamstring that was bothering me it was just pain down my whole leg and even my right leg a bit, so again I could only put it down to my running form was off and I was putting pressure on different areas that were not used to it.  I never felt like my hammy was about to totally tear so I figured it was safe to keep running...... I really don't know how sensible this was but luckily for me it worked out okay.

I eventually came up alongside Karen at what I think was about the 24k mark for me.  As soon as I saw her I just burst into tears and running and crying don't go together very well.  I could not breathe, I sounded like I was having an asthma attack.  Karen gave me some words of encouragement and I think all I could say to her is I am in pain!  I pulled myself together and just kept running past, it was so great though because all the people around her also offered encouragement and I could hear them willing me on as I ran off.  At this stage I bargained with myself get to 30k mark and you can walk the rest. 

Over the next 10k at numerous times I was getting emotional, the pain was just getting worse and I wanted to throw in the towel, but that isn't in my nature.  I came up to my husband at the 32k mark and knew it would be the last time I would seem him, the last loop of this race goes in a different direction out along a lonely coastal road without many spectators.  We like to affectionately call it "death row". I actually stopped where he was and burst into tears and said it is hurting so much and he said maybe you should pull out.  Before I could think I said no I can't and kept running.  Everyone around him cheered when I started again and it was such a good feeling to be supported.  So I was out to finish off the last 10k and now I was bargaining with myself again and saying just run until the pain becomes unbearable, I decided I could make it to the turnaround point which I think is at around 36k, the road is long and straight and even though I remembered this from last year it just felt like it would never ever end.   When I got to the turnaround point there was a marker and I actually had to touch it and say thank god.  I have never been so glad to reach a turnaround point in my life.  It was then I thought okay if I need to walk to take the pressure off my leg I can but the deal I made with myself was I would only walk for 20 steps at any given time.  I did this a couple of times and before I know it I had made it to 38k.  Once I got to 38k I knew without a doubt that I would finish, even if my leg fell off lol. 

I hobbled the rest of the way, with a few walk breaks.  I saw my friend Shylet out there and as we passed we just sort of waved, we both were in a bad way and I didn't want my negativity to rub off on her and I found out afterwards she was thinking the same.  I saw Sam who is also a Brisbane runner who I didn't actually know before this weekend but I had seen him on Facebook, he yelled out some really encouraging words just when I needed them!

A lot of people yelled out support and encouragement those last few kilometres. I saw a few other Brisbane runners who had travelled up and they yelled out, I can't even remember if I said anything back.  I really hope I did but I was literally running through tears and really had gone into my own head to try and find some mental toughness. 

At the 41k mark I saw Loryn and Christine, Loryn was also in the marathon.  I stopped as soon as I saw them and started crying... yes again.  They actually ran over and said you can do this go, you are almost finished it is almost over..... or something like that I really can't remember but I do know it helped get me to that finish line!   Then around the next corner I saw my good Mel and she was all excited and I gave her a little wave, then my good friend Trish popped up next to me and encouraged me to get it done.  How lucky am I to have so many friends willing me on.
The 10k runners including my friend Mel out on the course!
 

In my head I knew from early on my time wasn't going to be what I hoped for. I felt like I was running so slow as my leg got worse, I had stopped looking at my watch once the walk breaks started.  I thought I was probably way over 4 hours and I really was shocked when I turned the corner for the finish line and saw the clock and knew I would finish in 3.49.  I actually pulled out the biggest smile for my finish line photos (well I think I did, once I see them I will know lol).  I crossed the line and then burst into tears I was so relieved to be finished but so emotional.

I walked through the recovery area and two ladies who knew me, I can't even remember who they were or if I knew them said well done and asked me how I went.  I just couldn't stop crying and I just said to them sorry I am so emotional........ so if whoever it was is reading this, I am so sorry it was just hours of pain and relief at being able to stop running hitting me all at once and I couldn't even talk or concentrate. 

I found my husband and really sobbed it out then.  Once I calmed down I actually thought to myself of all my marathons this was my proudest, my faster ones had nothing on this.  To keep going when it was so tough and I was hurting so much is something I am so proud of.  I just had to prove to myself that I don't give up.  Marathon medal earned!

Now in case you are thinking about doing this event, you really should.  They have all the distances, a 2.5k kids run, 5k, 10k, half marathon, marathon and you can even run the marathon as a team!
They also let you put your special drinks out on tables for the marathon, I know this service is not offered at a lot of marathons nowadays except for the elite runners.  The course is flat, and when I say flat I mean pancake flat!  It also hugs the coastline for most of the run so the views are spectacular.  The volunteers are the best I have ever come across, they are so friendly and always encouraging.  The drink tables are every 2.5k and they have water and sports drinks, they are never congested and always have cups ready to go.  The recovery area has the best fruit tables you have ever seen. The medal is huge and just beautiful and the race singlet also fantastic, so great value for money.   I just can't fault it, the Townsville people love welcoming people to this town and you will feel like a local by the time you leave......You may have guessed this is my favourite event.

 
Now that's a recovery fruit table!
 
We finished off an amazing weekend in table with drinks at our accommodation, I wasn't up for walking anywhere so staying at the unit seemed like a great idea.
 

Now don't forget this is winter but Townsville has the most amazing winter weather.  The race conditions were perfect early in the morning but the days are so sunny and warm!  We even jumped in the spa to ease our weary legs and drink a few champagnes.

The next morning before flying out we took my parents for a look around Jezzine Barracks which is where the race starts and finishes.  Unbeknown to us there is a trail right next to it called Kissing Point trail.  Wow what a gorgeous spot. It is also very educational on wartime history.    I will leave you with a few photos of this area and you can plan your trip to Townsville.  Put this place and this race on your must do list.

Post race my hamstring feels fine?  It has been more my calf that has bothered me. But a few days later I think I am ready for a run/walk tomorrow to test it out.....onwards to the next adventure.



 The street straight ahead in this photo is The Strand which makes up the majority of the course!


 Lovely sculptures.
Coastline walkway. 

So who is joining me next year??????