23 May My marathon journey…. Part 1
I RUN LIKE A GAZELLE, GRACEFUL WITH EASE…
Gliding through the air with my feet barely touching the ground. Well, that’s at least what I thought until someone filmed me running for my documentary Embrace and played it back to me on the big screen in the edit suite. “That’s not what I look like!” I screamed to the editor, but upon further investigation it was me, plodding along, slow and very un-gazelle like.
It’s ONE OF THE ‘SIDE EFFECTS’ OF EMBRACING…
feeling so confident and full of self-love that you think you are better, faster, stronger than what you actually are. When I’m kicking the soccer ball I’m Messi, when I sing I’m Pink, when I dance I’m Shakira and when I walk past my cheap obnoxiously large Big W fan in my bedroom, my hair catches the wind and I AM BEYONCE. Embracing does feel amazing, but it should probably come with a warning!
WHERE IT ALL STARTED
As most of you know, at the beginning of this year I decided to run a marathon to raise funds to make a documentary for kids, similar to my first documentary Embrace but without the f-bombs and vulvas! The plan is to raise half a million dollars, make the film and roll it out across the world as a free-resource for schools. Running a marathon seemed like a really good way to raise some money, it not only showed commitment to the cause, it enabled me to be bolder in asking friends and family to donate a few dollars. Usually I’d be shy to ask loved ones for money but recently, to one of best girlfriends, the words “Bitch, hand over your coffee money, I am running a f***ing marathon!!” spilled out of my mouth!
MARATHONS ARE HARD CORE
42km, or 26.2 miles, it’s about 105 times around my local oval, it’s sore legs, hips and back with a side of underboob chaffing – it is a really long way. In January when I started training I documented some of my post-run thoughts, one video went like this “Running is F***ing hard, I hate it, I want to stop, every part of me screams just walk, I F***ing hate running”. This particular video was filmed after a 3km run – 3km haha!! By this stage I had already committed publicly that I would run a marathon for Embrace Kids, so there was no turning back. What had I got myself into I would often think? If I am feeling this way after running just a few kilometres, then I am in trouble with a capital T (which funnily enough is also the first letter of TORTURE).
THE STRUGGLE WAS REAL!
I remember one run when I was struggling to get to double digits in kilometres, I thought it would be a good idea to draw on some mental motivation and began thinking of all of the kids’ lives that would be positively impacted from seeing the Embrace Kids documentary. I thought about all of the young kids I’ve met and their heart-breaking stories of self-loathing they’ve shared with me whilst sobbing on my shoulder. Thinking about the kids really helped me forget about the pain of running, until I found myself on the side of a main road doubled over with tears streaming down my face, lump in my throat and unable to breathe. Turns out that emotional thoughts don’t help me run, however I soon discovered what did. I ran my fastest and easiest 10km the evening I left the house when Mat yelled out to me “Have a good run, we’re having Yiros for dinner”. That night I ran for yiros and records were broken.
I have many stories about my running adventures, some good, some bad, some funny, like the other day when I was reminded of how un-athletic I must look when I run. I was running along a main road and noticed ahead a bus waiting at the bus stop. As I approached the doors were open and I noticed as I shuffled past the bus driver was looking at me. The second I ran (shuffled whatever) past, the doors closed and the bus drove off. Oh my god are you for serious? The bus driver mistook my athleticism for a mere mortal running to catch the bus? Hashtag not an athlete!
AND HERE’S WHERE THE POO STORY COMES IN…
Probably the worst thing that’s happened to me occurred just a few weeks ago on my long run. Because my knees were feeling a little cactus from my previous weeks 30km run on the road, I thought it would be more loving for my body to run on the sand. It was a perfect day, no wind, hardly anyone on the beach, it was peaceful and I was running with ease and grace until… I needed to do a number two.
Now fellow runners will know, when the desire for a poop comes on when you’re running, it comes on strong. It’s not like when you’re doing the grocery shopping and need to go but know you’ve got at least a half hour window to safely make it home to the comfort of your own toilet. Nope, not like that at all. When you’re running from the time your brain says “I need to do a poo” the other end of your body is all systems go. (touching cloth if you know what I mean)
BUT WAIT, IT GETS WORSE…
So there I was, on the beach just me and a man beach fishing about 50 metres ahead. As I moved closer to the man I did several things to disguise my troubles, I stopped to pretend to stretch, I double over like I was out of breath and by the time I reached him (barely running more staggering with gritted teeth) it was game over. I couldn’t walk another step, so I chose the rock with the sharpest edge to basically wedge up my butt to prevent the poop from coming out but it was too late.
He turned to me “Beautiful day!” “Isn’t it” I replied smiling like nothing the heck was going on. I felt like I had a sign that said “I’ve just shit my pants a little” written all over my face so I do what I do best in a situation of uncertainty and awkwardness. I began to talk. “What you fishing for? Caught many? Do you come here often?” There I was, sitting in my own shit, training for a marathon, talking fishing bait and great fishing spots with a complete stranger!
WAS IT ALL WORTH IT? ABSOLUTELY!
It’s fair to say that marathon training has been brutal, I’ve cried, I’ve felt defeated and at times I felt like it was too hard, too much and the distance too long! But it was never about me, it was about the kids and I’m proud to share that we’ve raised over $35,000 on the Embrace Kids documentary Go Fund Me page. We’ve got a long way to reach our target but I know we’ll get there, if you haven’t already please can I lovingly insist that you throw a few dollars towards Embrace Kids documentary. Do it for the kids, or if you are feeling the sisterhood with me, do it for my dignity that I left on the pointy rock down at West Beach.
You can help us change lives.
Massive thank you goes to…
Thank you to the team of health professionals that have supported my marathon training. To my running coach Nicole Bunyon at Running Mums Australia, thank you for your endless encouragement and making the impossible seem possible. To Tim, Scott, Emily and the team at Flex for keeping my body together even when it felt like it was falling apart! We got through shin splints, swollen knees and a sore back with weekly physio, the odd dry needling session, altitude training and massage. Thanks to my favourite (health at every size) dietician Jen Pfeifler from River Oak Health for all of your wisdom and nutritional advice. Modibodi for your underwear, Active Truth for your active wear (with pockets!) LAJOIE SKIN for your Calmme cream (no chafing!) and all the magnesium products from Amazing Oils. It really has taken a village to get this 41 year old ready for the marathon… I’m forever grateful.