So, you know that feeling you have when you get into something new and exciting and you’re all pumped and motivated, and like ‘hell, I was born for this!’ Well okay, ‘born for this’ may be taking things a little bit too far, but you know what I mean. You get a taste for something and you get totally hooked. Well, that was kind of what I was like the day after running the City to Surf half marathon back in August. I remember sitting at my Mac the next day, wearing my medal and obsessively searching for other half-marathons in Perth that I could participate in whilst still capable in both fitness level and motivation.
When I discovered that my favourite little island of Rottnest hosted an annual running event, there was no question – I was doing it! Those of you who read regularly will know I have a serious love-affair with this gorgeous island, located just off the coast of Perth. I’ve visited a whopping seven times in just under three years and so I knew I had to do the Rotto half to make it my eighth visit. By the end of the week, I had my place booked and had even roped in my uber-fit Body Combat instructor, Anna to do it with me. On initial reflection, this was a bad move. Talk about being out of your depth. Anna is a machine… With ridiculous stamina – and amazing legs.
And so, unlike the City to Surf, I actually really focussed on training for this run – which wasn’t easy as I had a few weeks vacay booked in just a few weeks before the run. But I trained hard when I could on holiday – even squeezing in a 5K run along Seminyak beach in 30 degree heat. That was sweaty, I can tell you – and then for a minimum of 30mins every day after returning from vacay, right up until the day of the run. I also cut out alcohol, ate well and got a heap load of sleep the week running up to the event. Any insomniacs out there, run for a minimum of 30mins each night. You’ll be snoozing like a koala in no time. I did different run routes every day, but the ones finishing at the ocean were definitely my favourite. Whenever I’ve trained before, I’ve always listened to dance, trance and drum & bass to motivate me. This time round, early on in my training, I accidentally hit ‘play’ on a Swifty album. 4.5km and a whole back catalogue of drama later, I realised I’d been running for almost 30mins non-stop. And so, the next few evenings were an intimate affair between me, the pavement and the likes of Tay-Tay, Belinda Carlisle, All Saints and En Vogue (and those are the few artists I’m OK with sharing…) So if you happened to see a crazed, neon clad chick running around the Mullaloo and Ocean Reef vicinity this past month, punching fingers in the air, and occasionally even singing (volume was too high for me to really care), I’m sorry. It felt too good to resist.
And so with an iPod jammed full of 90’s tunes reminiscent of all things girl-power, Rottnest was a fantastic run – I loved every second. Well, yes, that’s a lie. But it was good – I feel amazing for completing it, and for running two half-marathons in as many months! Because that basically means I’ve now ran a marathon AND got two medals for it. The 6am ferry from Fremantle sucked as I live up in in the northern suburbs, so it meant waking up at 4:30am (like, the middle of the night) – and only for the ferry to leave late because of mechanical issues (delaying our start time by 15mins, argh) but that was nothing an early night either side couldn’t fix.
Usually, trips to Rottnest are synonymous with cycling routes around the island, so to run around the iconic salt lakes and the pretty bays of Little Armstrong, Geordie and Longreach (twice) was pretty awesome. Once you overcome the anxiety that you’re impeding their performance (Anna didn’t care, she does crazy shit like this all the time!), being with someone who is so fantastically fit was incredibly motivating. Don’t get me wrong, I’m pretty darn fit and love leading an active lifestyle – but if you’ve ever worked out with your gym instructor, you’ll get what I mean. Thanks Anna for being an awesome, motivational-to-the-point-that-I-wanted-to-hit-you-but-I-love-you-really running partner!
I really pushed my limits and actually ended up beating my City to Surf time by 40mins, finishing at 2:15. I was over the moon! The route was challenging as Rottnest is notoriously hilly – plus the lack of banners/signage telling us how far we’d ran (and therefore how long we had to go) was a real struggle psychologically for me. This, in addition to the crazy intense heat of the sun (we’ve got the tan lines to prove it, dammit), made it a really challenging run. But the vibe was amazing – holidaymakers came out of their lodges to cheer people on, kids made motivational banners and people were even dishing out sweeties as we neared the end of the course. I witnessed so much team-spirit! Complete strangers offering support to encourage and support their fellow runners. It was an amazing feeling to cross that finish line and then soak up some rays (with the biggest stingray I’ve ever seen) before popping some champagne to celebrate!
And so whilst I’m considering retiring from half-marathons (at least ones in 30 degree heat) before my running career has even gotten started, I’m looking to focus on my next challenge… And if I can pull what I have in mind off, I really will deserve a medal! But I’ll be keeping it under wraps for now, until I’m 100% committed 😉