Running on empty

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Running on empty

Last Friday the “early bird” offer for the Sydney Half Marathon closed. It was the moment of truth for me. Was I really willing to part with $95 just to feel the burn for a solid two hour period surrounded by sweaty Sydney-siders?

Apparently I was.

I started off well with my running training, but a year is a long time and I lost momentum over the holiday period. With work gaining its own momentum ever since, I’ve struggled to regain the motivation I set out with. My last few runs have been desperate lunges at 10 km stretches separated by weeks or even months, perhaps intended more to punish myself for taking it all so easy than to propel me towards future success.

But the half marathon is on the 19th of May. That’s only 62 days (or around 2 months) away! Remembering that I’m about to set off for a 3.5 week “working” holiday to India, I started to panic!

I had to catch up on the training, and fast.

I set out yesterday morning determined to complete a two lap circuit of the Inner West’s ‘Bay Run’. That’s 14km for the uninitiated – in other words 2/3 of the half marathon distance (or 1/3 of a full marathon if you’d prefer to think of it that way).

I was struggling from the get-go, which is unsurprising considering it’s been over a month since my last breathless attempt. By the 2km mark I was already doing the sums in my head about the distance yet to go (always a bad sign). By 7km I was bargaining with myself “Just do 10km – it’s been a long time since you last ran, 10km is still really good… puff… puff”.

Thankfully I was able to put mind over matter and complete the entire 14km, pausing briefly only to sip from a bubbler or two.

When I say that I hit my limit today, I really mean it. At 13.4km, with only 600 metres to go before declaring joyous victory, I was ready to stop. I nearly did stop. I really, REALLY wanted to stop.

But I didn’t.

I made the full 14km, which conveniently ended within collapsing distance of a covered picnic table. I was too busy stretching and catching my breath and trying not to pass out to even enjoy the victory. I was too exhausted to even lift my phone to check my time.

After a minute or two I regained some composure and looked up. And what did I see, but a little lemonade stand run by two young girls!

I had been wise enough to throw a couple of coins into my pocket before setting out just in case I needed to buy a bottle of water somewhere, but this was even better! They were selling popcorn for 50c a bag and lemonade for $1 a cup. Now, compared to the image above that’s some pretty hefty inflation, but then again, they tell me it was Jamie Oliver’s recipe, so for all I knew I could’ve been sipping away at one of his famous restaurants. How fancy. And how convenient that I should find them parked mere metres from the end of my route!

By the end of it, I’d downed three cups’ worth in all of 30 seconds. It tasted beyond amazing, but I probably would’ve bought it anyway, because there’s nothing I love more than seeing a couple of kids (and girls in particular) embracing the entrepreneurial spirit. It reminds me of when I was a young girl myself and would get about doing a very similar thing (no doubt spurred on by my favourite role models at the time – the BSC).

So, although my left ankle is screaming at me, my right foot has a blister the size of a grape, and when I wake up tomorrow I probably won’t be able to move, I’m pretty pleased with myself for my (partial) marathon effort. I can now set off for India knowing that I’m 2/3 of the way to ticking off another challenge!

What did you get up to this St Patrick’s Day?

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