Yesterday I ran in my first big fun run in Australia. The annual City to Bay sees about 35,000 people run from Adelaide to Glenelg. There are options to run or walk the full 12km, 6km or 3km.
I didn’t think I was up to 12km so with some advice from friends, I decided to run the 6km route and to enjoy it. Unfortunately even once I had the goal, distractions of setting up house and study meant my training was still a bit hit and miss and one run with the fitness centre Friday running group had me really doubting myself.
And then last Thursday my Women’s Running magazine arrived and I started reading about people’s running experiences, great races and tips for revamping my running. I was reminded why I enjoyed running and the great sense of achievement on finishing a race. It made me think about the fact that until August 2011, I had been one of those people who said she couldn’t run and had even been teased for her bad running style. But signing up to Michelle Bridges 12 Week Body Transformation (12WBT) to lose the weight I had put on after two babies convinced me to give running a try.
My sister was also running and inspired by her, I moved on to the Couch to 5km app and soon I could run 5km. The chance meeting of some girls in Brunei via the 12WBT forums led me to completing a 10km race in Kota Kinabalu in May 2012. The following year, I was training for my first half marathon which was unfortunately canceled due to elections in Malaysia, but I pressed on and entered the amazing Angkor Wat Half marathon in November 2013, the first time I’d had the opportunity to run with my sister. I managed to run the first 12km, then run and walk the next 9km finishing in around 2.40 – and by no means last.
From the time I arrived at the City to Bay 6km start, I was impressed by the organisation and atmosphere. There were lots of groups in matching gear as race is a great opportunity to race money, or promote a group or issue. There were also lots of people in fancy dress. I was at the start in time to see the fastest 12km runners and wheelchair racers come through which was amazing.
Despite a slightly slow start due to the number of people, we were eventually out on the road and it was the perfect sunny blue sky running day. There were people all along the route – from spectators and locals cheering on runners to businesses and organisations using it as an opportunity to promote themselves. The drink stops were regular which was good because it was slightly warmer than I’d expected. It was a real carnival atmosphere and I could help but enjoy myself, even though physically I knew I wasn’t in the best shape. Seeing young kids and people running in memory of a loved one or to support a charity provided that extra hit of inspiration.
I ended up making it to the finish line in under 40 minutes which was my goal. Not fast by any means, but I’d kept running and most importantly, I finished feeling inspired to start running again. Suddenly saying I was going to run the Barossa Half Marathon in May 2015, felt like a real goal and not empty talk.
So when I feel like skipping the training, I’m just going to remind myself what I love about running:
- the friends I have made all around the world because of running
- the fact that I’m keeping my body and my mind fit (read this great article on why women should run)
- the amazing experiences of running in different, beautiful places
- that awesome feeling coming through the finish line yesterday, knowing I had achieved something I had set out to do.