Tag Archives: 7scm16

At the Start line


Alarm beeps its familiar tune before the sun has any ideas of shining. Even a little earlier than the usual morning training starts that have become routine, there’s no hesitation in rising today. Even my kids have agreed to come along to cheer me on and to run a shorter race themselves.

Race day is here!

IMG_3282Clothes prepared and laid out ready for a quick change. A check of the weather conditions. Comfortable, 11C and slight breeze. As I rise there’s still the residual effects of a cold, but the medication I started taking has improved the symptoms greatly.

Athletes and supporters swarm the event area, with staggered start times for the various distances. Greetings and well wishes are exchanged, both to familiar faces and new ones. Seeing so many of the people I have trained with, the spirit buoys me in anticipation. Especially Mr J and Ms T, who began the journey with me months ago. Marathoners are the first to gather at the Start line, as the sun works its way past a bank of clouds. Nearby, many other lines form leading to the ‘Port-a-loos’ as other runners prepare for their races.

A quick warm up and suddenly it’s time to find the Start line and the right section. I weave my way to a place just before the 2:00 time section, with the intention to finish in under 2 hours. Without a moment to pause and reflect, the announcer advises 30 seconds to go, and it’s now or never. Months of training and the moment has arrived.


IMG_3280And the race begins. Strava timer activated. Fitbit timer activated. It takes nearly 20 seconds to actually get past the start line, as the pool of about 2000 runners edges forward. Eventually reaching pace, the crowd moves as one along the road and towards the hill – one that I struggled with early on, but have done countless times and now I can handle it. Running along familiar terrain almost seems like just another day training. Only with hundreds of runners surrounding me, and hundreds of supporters cheering on the sidelines.

Finding a steady pace, I put one foot after another and feel comfortable and managing it. The drink station approaches and I always struggle to run and drink without choking, but I know the importance of hydration, especially fighting off a cold.

Round and back, past the 10km mark – nearly half way. I still feel comfortable, and notice my time (about 54 mins) and mentally note that already I have done a faster 10km than last year when I was running the 10km event. It also means that I’m on track towards my target finish time. Trying to pace myself with a few runners just ahead of me, I gradually realise they are getting a little further ahead, and also a number of other runners begin to pass me.

IMG_3301A group of supporters has a basket with lollies/ candy of some sort, so I grab one in hopes that a sugar fix will spur me on. I’m not particularly out of breath, or sore in the legs or knees, just a bit fatigued overall. Keep moving the feet, one after the other. It’s tough going for a little while, and soon I realise that it’s only about 3km to go and it hits home that I’m nearly there, and I know I can make it. My pace picks up a little and I pass familiar landmarks as the finish draws nearer.

Approaching the home stretch, the crowd of supporters thickens and the cheering and atmosphere carry me through the last few hundred meters. Suddenly the Finish line is in sight and I just keep moving towards it,  sights and sounds blurred into the background. I don’t even register the time on the giant clock, though I know I’ve beat 2 hours.IMG_3311

Elation and exhaustion as I cross the line and stop to walk it off and catch my breath. Emotion takes over me for a moment. My running buddies Ms T and Mr J help me with water and congratulatory hugs. We made it!

Time to relax and celebrate after a long journey.

It Runs in the family

It runs in the family


Team ‘JATs’ – we all did it!

Race time has arrived


It’s starting to look a lot like a Marathon

IMG_3262Promotional signs crop up around the streets near the race. Marquees from clubs and merchandise stalls line the pop-up event headquarters. Parking restrictions and road closures in place. Forecast: Sunny, slight breeze, 12C/54F overnight, high of 20C/68F. Excited and nervous athletes buzz around the area.

Approaching the registration desk to collect my race number, it starts to feel real. Really real. Laminated signs designate the various distances: Marathon (42.2km). Nope – too far! 10km run. Nope – too short! Half-marathon (21.1km). Ah yes – that’s Just Right.


Race numbers and promos

The cheery volunteer looks up my name and pulls out my race badge, handing it to me with four safety pins and a promotional visor. I suddenly recall that I used a cheeky name when registering, way back in March! Seems so long since that day I committed to participate in this event. And I convinced my teenagers to join in on the shorter 5km distance.


Event headquarters


Deliberate winding back of activity to rest the body. Sleep well, eat well. Shorter runs at slower speeds. After many months of early alarms and smelly laundry, all the preparation has reached a head and now time for restoration before the big day. And indeed to take the opportunity for some pampering after so much hard work – a massage and a facial just to look and feel my best.

Fortunately through the months, injury and illness have not found me. Ironically now, at the 24-hours-to-go stage, I suffer from congestion and the onset of a head cold. Perhaps it’s all catching up with me. A trip to the health food store for some high dosage treatment, plenty of fluids and a quiet day will hopefully see me improve by the time I make an appearance at the Start line. No matter what state I’m in, I anticipate that the excitement of the day and the festive atmosphere will buoy my spirits and carry me along the path.

Race day preparation checklist:

  • Running clothes laid out (not simply for fashion statement, but practical to avoid chafing etc) IMG_3149
  • Running shoes ready (have opted for my older pair to avoid the blisters my current pair give me)
  • Phone and Fitbit charged up
  • Sunglasses and hat
  • Water bottle and energy drink prepared (perfect timing as the container is nearly empty)
  • Towel and spare clothes for afterwardsIMG_3204
  • Cash for post-race celebrations (perhaps most important of all!)

Now, have I forgotten anything? Seems like I usually do… Oh yes, Smile and Have Fun! Most important. Am I ready for this? As ready as I’ve ever going to be! I’ve enjoyed the training and the increased fitness, making friendships and pushing beyond my limits. A big Thank You and best wishes to all my running buddies (you know who you are) and moral support crew! I look forward to seeing you all at the Start line.

And I can’t leave out my target finish time. I’m aiming for under 2 hours, preferably closer to 1 hr 50-55. But ultimately, whatever the time, I want to get across the finish, and enjoy the atmosphere along the way.

Words of wisdom, from back at the start of the journey

Words of wisdom, from back at the start of the journey.