Today, I ran (jogged) the Perth City to Surf Half Marathon in 2 hours and 54 minutes. I know, I know – not an amazing time, but you wouldn’t believe how proud I am!
My decision to run the half marathon was based on realising a dream, proving to myself that I could actually do it and so that I could wear my medal everywhere for the next few weeks. What? I’m totally serious.
In all honesty, my initial attitude towards running the half-marathon was pretty blasé. I’m pretty fit and super active, working out 3-4 times a week. But I’m not exactly a runner. I’m not particularly into running – and to be completely honest, I don’t actually even really like running that much. But I do love a challenge.
I completed the 2014 and 2015 12km City to Surf – but again, I wasn’t exactly breaking records with my times! I registered in the ‘Walk’ category so I wouldn’t feel intimidated or out of my depth surrounded by pro–runners as I (very) lightly jogged the course from the city to the coast.
I decided last year that 2016 would be the year I would enter into the half-marathon category and train, train, train to try and finish. Where some people have a Personal Best time goal, I simply had a finishing-the-fucking-thing goal. A fitness PB for me prior to the half-marathon was probably blowing $500 on work out gear in Lorna Jane. And so, I teamed up with three of my work buddies and we registered together back in April. Plenty of time to train, right?
So a month before the event, I hit panic mode and went to get some new running kicks. This in itself threw me out of my comfort zone, as a girl who had previously always pledged to Just Do It with Nike all her life. Before I knew it, I was being pried out of my trusty, familiar Nikes and into some rather snug, squishy and structured ASICS GT-2000 runners – which after getting over the initial alarm of their BRIGHTNESS (why the guys at ASICS have to design everything like they’re all off their faces on acid is beyond me), they actually turned out to be amazing. I took those little bad boys for long walks and light jogs whenever I had the opportunity in the run up (sorry) to race day.
Two weeks prior to the race, my training partner Sam and I decided to jog/walk from Mullaloo Beach to Trigg Beach and back – a sturdy 22km route. Granted, this ballsy decision came of the back of us shitting ourselves that we wouldn’t actually be able to complete the half-marathon course in time (4hrs), or even reach the half-way point in time (2hrs), and so, on a sunny Sunday morning two weeks ago, we went for it. We took an interval approach, running the first 3-4km, walking the next 2km, running 2km, walking the following 1km, and so on… We stopped off for three 5-10 minute intervals to hydrate, stretch and pee – and ended up making the overall course in 3hrs 30min. We couldn’t actually walk the following two days (seriously, I couldn’t even sit on the loo my thighs were so wrecked), but it did our confidence the world of good. We also saw Perth goddess Amanda Bisk out on our run too, so this means we basically trained with her, right? We trained again the following Saturday, lapping Lake Monger before taking it easy with small jogs and gym sessions in the week running up to the Perth City to Surf event.
I’m not a huge drinker, but I completely cut alcohol from my diet, and tried to always take the healthy meal option in the month leading up to the event. Luckily for me, the babes at Pure Glow released their Spring Collection the week before the Perth City to Surf, and stocked me up with their delicious, nourishing juices – each packed full of vitamins and healthy goodness! (California Ghost is officially my new obsession and Blue Lagoon was just so on-brand with my runners. YUM.)
I was never in this to win (HA!) – and I’m not sure if I’ll ever do a half-marathon again, but the more I trained, I really did feel in the best shape physically and mentally (even when I caught a nasty cold the week before the event)… I ate well, had hours to reflect on life, stretching so much that I actually felt to be physically standing taller, and I ended up achieving something I never, ever thought I would.
Now, if you haven’t already figured, I’m no running pro. But I do have some pointers which I thought I’d share – just in case any of you crazy kids decide to take it upon yourselves to do a half-marathon someday, with as little enthusiasm as me…
- Download an epic playlist.
Whilst I ran the half-marathon with Sam, sans earbuds, I absolutely depended on them when training solo – KMs made marginally easier with a full suite of tunes from my iPod pumping through my ears. I’ve got a pretty varied taste in music, and so would play whatever reflected my mood best (usually trance?!), however my marathon anthem has to be DNCE’s Cake by the Ocean. I just couldn’t get enough of it. Maybe it was psychological – and in my head I was literally running to the ocean to eat cake? Either way, it was my jam.
I cannot stress this enough! Stretch before runs, after runs, during runs, the day after a run… I spent so much time stretching out my legs and torso in the sauna at the gym that I ended up having a particular place earmarked which I’d be ever so upset if it was taken by the token fat old guy in speedos.
- Train with a mate.
I swear it works wonders. I couldn’t have done this without Sam driving me on, being strong for me when I was flagging – a favour which I would return a few KM later – and so on. Train and talk, or train in silence – listen to your body and focus on the run. It’s actually quite invigorating.
The excess that is. When I started training, I ran with an ipod, headphones, phone, money, water, keys, nutrition bar. But I soon learned that carrying as little as possible was key. I began running with nothing other than my iPod and enjoyed the runs infinitely more with less things weighing me down.
our mind, body and soul. Know you can do it. Fuel properly by eating healthy. Reflect on what you can improve on. And repeat.
- Invest in good runners.
I know you could probably eat for a month on what they cost. That you’d rather put your hard earned $$$ towards a trip away or, no judgement, that pair of heels you’ve had your eyes on. But if you’re planning on running a proper distance, then my God you’ll be glad you got fitted with appropriate footwear. I have a ridiculous amount of runners, each with different purposes – whether RPM, combat, Jacob’s Ladder, hiking… But do I have problems with shin-splints or weak ankles? No. Because I invest in the right support, for the right disciplines. I can’t recommend doing this enough.
Dreams aren’t meant to be wasted. We all dream of things we want to achieve. And they all begin by taking one small step at a time… Sure, in my case, I had to take another 19,999 more steps, but you get my drift.
Crossing the finishing line today was a PB I’ll keep with me forever. Yet, before I could even catch my breath, it was all over… But we did it! And by some miracle, we didn’t come last!
And so, with our shiny golden medals proudly swinging round our necks, we staggered off to Clancy’s to celebrate with champagne, oysters and of course, a cheeky bit of cake by the ocean.