I did it. I actually did it. I completed the 12km HBF Run for a Reason and lived to tell the tale. For someone who has never managed to run more than 3km without stopping before, I am so proud of my achievement. Not only did I cross the finish line, but I actually exceeded all of my expectations.
If you read my previous post, you’d know that I am in no way, shape or form a runner. I’m all about gym workouts and HIIT training. But long distance running? No thanks. I set myself a goal of finishing the course within 1 hour and 30 minutes, which seemed doable and realistic (plus I needed to get to work on time afterwards). Pairing my lack of running ability with sickness (did I mention that I threw up 30 minutes before the race?), I honestly feared I would not make it to the finish line in 90 minutes… if at all. But I was determined and nothing was going to stop me from at least trying.
Realistically, I intented to run as much as I could and power walk the rest. You know, something like a 30:70 run/walk ratio. However, thats not what happened at all. Still to my complete and utter surprise, I ran the entire thing! I managed to complete the entire 12km without stopping. Not even once! What the hell?! I am honestly still perplexed by this. Not only did I run the entire distance, I smashed my 1 hour 30 minute goal… by 25 minutes!!! How? Mind over matter.
Running really is a mental challenge. The mind is such a powerful thing. What the mind believes the body will achieve. Without a focused mind and sheer determination I would not have been able to do it. Of course I wanted to stop many times but with continuous words of encouragement and positive self talk I was able to push through the physical pain and keep moving.
The first 2-3km wasn’t actually too bad. With so many people surrounding me I became preoccupied by trying to dodge the obstacles (aka other runners). Then when people started to veer off, slow down and space opened up, it got a little tougher. With less distractions I started to feel every step and every wince of pain in my ankles, hamstrings and knees. I started to noticed my breathing more and how my sick little lungs were struggling to get air in. That’s when something kicked in and with the power of positive thinking and visualization, I mind over mattered my way to the finish line.
I started with positive self talk. ‘I am healthy’, ‘I am fit’, ‘I can do this’! I then began to give myself little milestones to work towards. I told myself ‘at the next water station you can slow to a walk’, ‘when you reach 5km you can have a break’, ‘6km is the half way point… have a little breather’. But with each mini milestone I reached, came more determination and more fight to just keep running. I became focused, fixated on the idea of running the entire distance. I started thinking ‘imagine being able to say I ran the entire 12km’. At about 8-9km I started to visualize the finish line. My words went from ‘I can do it’ to ‘I HAVE just done it. I ran 12km with no breaks’. I law of attracted the shiz out of it.
When the pain in my joints started to feel almost unbearable (I have recently recovered from an ankle injury and also suffer with inflammation and mild rheumatoid arthritis) that’s when I focused on my reason for running. That reason; to support and fundraiser for MS Society WA – a cause very close to my heart. Yes it was a physical and mental challenge but the thought that kept pulsing through my head was ‘this is nothing compared to what people with MS face each and every day’. Any pain I was feeling was mere pins and needles compared to pain and challenges experienced by those living with MS. For some, MS has left them completely immobile so for me to complain about sore joints or a pulled hamstring muscle is, in my opinion, heartless. Multiple sclerosis is a disease with no known cause and still no cure that can be so debilitating to those diagnosed. Having this snap of perspective, reminding me why I was running at that very moment, not only had me tearing up whilst I was on the move but pushed me to keep going.
So to every single person who completed the HBF Run for a Reason on the weekend, you are all amazing! A HUGE congratulations and well done for supporting your cause! Whether it was the 4km, 12km or 21.1km half marathon (you lot are particularly crazy) you all deserve to be proud of yourselves. Running ain’t easy and I certainly don’t know how or why people would ever choose to run… Ever! But you are all incredible!
Yes, my aching body is still recovering and my joints are hating on me but I am so glad I did it. I am so surprised and proud of my achievement. Would I do it again? I am not sure. Ask me again in 12 months. I am glad I challenged myself and it would be interesting to see how I could go if I wasn’t sick and if I had trained leading up to the event. But right now, three days later and still in pain, what I know for sure is that my body was not made for running. So it’s back to the gym for me!
Love Eloise xx