On the 23rd November 2017 IRONMUMS athlete Cheryl finally convinced herself that it was worth trying to run a half marathon whilst on holidays in Tasmania. Cheryl tells how it all unfolded, I picked the Cadbury marathon on the 14th January because it was back where we used to call home and it was supposed to be fairly flat. I had a long chat with Naomi and she said it was definitely possible for me to do it, so nothing to lose.
Fast-forward to December, nothing went to plan, issues with my calfs including yet another pulled calf muscle, meant that my training for this half that I wanted to conquer didn’t happen as it should. I had a number of personal friends that mentioned they were worried that I had not trained enough, BUT I believed in Naomi and that she would get me there. Yes I did consider once or twice (or for a whole week) about dropping my registration to the 10km, but something stopped me from sending that email to request the change. I looked at the cutoff times again and realized that I have 4 hours of road closures and then worst comes to worst I can finish the event on the footpaths, so I left it.
We arrived in Hobart on the Friday night at 10:30pm (we were flying from Kalgoorlie so to us it was still only 7:30pm), nerves were starting to kick in as reality hit that the half marathon was on Sunday. Saturday I went in and had a great chat about shoes with the shop in town and picked up my bib and goodies (think I went overboard with the goodies LOL), nerves were ok. I was excited and my only plan was to finish no matter what. I had spoken only on facebook with Caroline who was also coming to do the half marathon and we planned to try and find each other the next morning.
Sunday morning, early! I was dropped off at the bus stop in town to catch the bus out to the Cadbury factory where the start was. It was COLD! I was grateful I had made the decision to wear my tights instead of shorts. I was starting to worry about getting out there on time and getting in that last loo stop and dropping my bag to the bag drop (this was the first event that I was going to on my own). Bus made it with about 20mins to spare, loo queue went quickly, bag dropped and start line found. I hadn’t sighted Caroline, but that was ok I was going to just do what I can no matter what. The crowd of people was amazing! My nerves were actually settled and I wasn’t even thinking about the fact I still had to run out and then back and do a whole 21kms. Back home in Kalgoorlie all my friends I knew were still sleeping but I had my phone with me just in case I hit a wall and needed someone to give me a good talking to.
Then I saw the bundle of energy called Caroline, she found me! Helped that I had my Ironmums hat and top on (as did she). All of a sudden we are off! Pressed start on my watch and heard the beep as I crossed the start line. No going back now. My plan of attacked was 4/1 (4mins running, 1 min walking) this was something Naomi said would work, and we had been training using something similar. Having Caroline beside me and having a chat and enjoying the atmosphere all of a sudden we were passing the first aid station and well on the way towards to bridge that I have always wanted to run over. I reminded myself that between the 2nd and 3rd and then then 5th and 6th aid stations there was a 5km stretch, so made sure that I had water at each station I passed.
I surprised myself when I looked at my watch when we were getting close to the 10km mark and realised that I had hit a PB for my 10km time. We wound along the river to come out at the start of the bridge and here it was, the bridge! This bridge is flat and I must admit that I was a little chuffed as I knew I was not at the complete back of the pack. Across the bridge I was shouting out encouragement to runners who were now heading back in and they did same to me, the atmosphere was amazing!
Everyone was so encouraging! I made it to the turnaround and back in I started, I did think for a moment no way was I going to get back, but something in my head changed, something reminded myself I had come all this way and felt great and nothing was going to stop me getting back now even if I had to walk. So back I started, back across the bridge (where I stopped for a moment to take a selfie, no calls home to Kalgoorlie were required), then back around the river to the highway that was blocked off for the event. I was still chatting to a few people that were close by, and I had a few runners in front that I had kept in my sights as much as I could. 16kms and I hit a small wall. I was tired, but I really wanted to run. It was the weirdest feeling, so I had another gel and pushed as much as I could. I knew that we had a hill at the end and I knew I needed to safe some energy to get up that hill.
The last aid station before the hill, I downed a water that was offered and off I went. It seemed so much steeper than when I went down it at the start, I did have to stop and walk about half way but I had in my mind walk with purpose, no dawdling I was getting up there and finishing, it was about now that I looked at my watch and realised that I was going to finish well ahead of any time that I had considered possible for my half marathon. Hit the stop of the hill and I ran, ran with all I had left to the finish. It felt amazing! My official finish time was 2hrs 58mins 55 secs, I was over the moon, I was handed my medal and went in search of my bag and then jumped in the queue for the toilets. While waiting I called my hubby back in Kalgoorlie (it was only 6:30am there), he thought I was calling for a pep talk and even he was excited to hear that I was finished!
I learnt to believe in myself more and have already registered for my next challenge that I know with support for coach Naomi I will conquer that one too.