Here we go again. Tomorrow morning, a Sunday, I will be joining 100s of others in the Darwin City to Surf. At 7.20am the starter pistol will sound and we will set off on our 12.7km journey.
It's my first ever running race. I hesitate to use the word running, as I am more of a slow jogger, but apparently if you're a serious runner - eg you run at least once a week, for a few kilometres or more, you call it running, despite how fast, or slow as the case may be, you go.
Once I was running around an oval while my older brother played with the kids nearby. I felt really good, like I was such a good example, such a great role model. When we walked home later I asked my 5 year old what he thought - 'Did I look fit?' he responded by saying 'You looked hot' (lets clarify that being the hot hot, not the your so good looking I can't believe your my Mum hot). I tried again 'Yes, but did I look strong?' 'You looked sweaty' he replied. I'm a sucker for punishment, so again I asked 'Did I look fast?'. 'You looked a bit fat' he said.
And that is why sometimes I like my daughter best.
A year ago I would have struggled to run a kilometre without stopping. So I set myself a goal. Originally it was to run the 2.5km leg of the mini triathlon without stopping. I achieved it, slowly, thoughtfully, and felt a million bucks for it. The feeling of accomplishment was huge, I felt unstoppable. So I made a new goal, to run 5km, eventually in under 30 minutes. I've run alot of 5 km's since and have only broken the 30 minute mark a couple of times, but again - how good am I that I can actually do the things I say I will!? Since then the goal has changed a few times. There was talk of a girls trip to Dili in May to do the 1/2 marathon, but once we started training for it we soon realised we had probably bitten off more than we could chew. Another dream was the Bali Triathlon, to be held later this month, but again, finances & family got in the way :)
So now it's this. City to Surf, June 3, 2012. Since Donno (my stepDad) was diagnosed with leukemia in December I've had a deep worry in my heart. Initially I tried drinking and smoking my way through it, I really tried! But I would wake up each day and feel worse, tired, angry, sad. Suddenly that dreaded nicotine had a hold of me again and I craved it! Thankfully I kept the running up, sometimes just 3km, other times 6km, a few times a week. When I run it hurts. My legs, my lungs, my shoulders, my feet, my knees. Sounds great hey? But that pain was good because I could FEEL it physically. I could sweat it out.
So instead of numbing it, I was unleashing it.
So I stopped smoking around the beginning of January and can honestly say I will never smoke again. I feel like I've found my very own Jesus in the shape of a pair of (good) running shoes. I've run many Friday nights with a mum friend of mine, who puts her 3 kids to bed then heads out the door at 7.30pm. On a Friday! We started at 6k, worked our way up in 500m increments and here we are, running 12k in 90 minutes and it only took 20 weeks! I run some evenings with my dog (on a leash) and my 12kg toddler (in a pram). I like to call that multitasking. Often I run alone with my ipod blaring, sometimes it feels great, sometimes it feels shit. But when I'm finished I'm NEVER sorry that I went for that run. I'm always pleased, and a little bit proud.
I feel both parts terrified and excited for tomorrow. Frightened I'll stop, or quit, or won't finish. I certainly don't look like someone who can run 12.7km and I feel paranoid people will judge me. I thought runners were meant to be slim? Not this one. I'm excited at the thought of the people cheering me on, seeing the finish line, achieving another goal! And almost every step of it will be in honour of my wonderful Donno, who hasn't given up despite really shitty odds and a whole lot of sickness. But I'm saving a couple of those steps for me, just me, for actually doing it. I can hardly wait!