Saturday, September 17, 2016

Julie Bishops first Marathon

My 2016 Perth City to Surf Marathon – 28 August 2016

A marathon.  Something I had never even contemplated doing until I was diagnosed, underwent treatment, and BEAT bowel cancer.  After finishing Busso 70.3 this year, it was time to consider a next new challenge and I thought of the Perth Marathon.  That was not to be as the lead up time was too short.  The City To Surf Marathon at the end of August was perfect timing for the right amount of training….so full steam ahead.

Training was HARD!!

It started off quite reasonable and gradually built into the last big running weeks with 3 weeks achieving up to 60km, each including a 32km run. I cried in two of them, the only exception being the long hills run…who would have thought I’d like running hills?!!

So, skip to race day…

After being quite ill with a head cold, conjunctivitis and gastro (yep, all at once!) for the week before, I rose at sparrows fart to consume some toast and espresso, shed a few anxious tears and catch my lift to the city.  The city was buzzing with athletes everywhere at 5:15am – and a few stragglers still getting cabs home from the night before!

Bag drop, toilet stop and a quick warmup jog with Loretta up and down the terrace with some pick ups to get the body a little warmed up.  Then off to the start line to join the masses.   3, 2, 1….we were off!!

I had intended to start off steady and warm into the first half – but got a little caught up in the crowd adrenalin and the first couple of km’s were too quick.  Consciously slowed myself to an easy 5:30 pace, but by 30 minutes in I was ready to quit!  Everything felt terrible.  My legs hurt, my butt hurt, my neck hurt, it was cold and windy and I would have rather been back in bed!  Fortunately I had felt the exact same way in training, so I knew it would pass…and it did.  I slipped into a nice 5:20ish pace and found myself running with a couple of FTC guys for about 6km…then their pace got quicker, so I let them go! By 14 km in, I looked at my watch and was like ‘wow, a third of the way, that went quick!’.  Had some bloks and drink. At this point, I knew I was going to have a great run J

At about 16km got some great cheers from Renee, Ruth and Courtney to spur me on.  The sun reared its head through the clouds and with the wind at my back I breezed through the next 5km back to the city.  Cheers through the City from Kate S, Vic and Neil kept me smiling some more, until heading around the corner and getting a visual on the first big hill.  It was bloody tough after 21km flat, but my geriatric ‘jog’, (little faster than a sloth) got me to the top, where I let out an involuntary ‘woohoo’.

Into Kings Park and totally enjoyed the scenery and the undulating terrain.  It was tough on the hills, but thoroughly enjoyed coming down them and stetching the legs out.  Alee, passed me in KP looking strong and relaxed.  I finally got to a point where I felt warm enough to remove my wind jacket, so I took a minute to walk, remove jacket, eat some bloks, drink and set off once again.  From here, I took water at every aid station and started on the caffeine gels. 

The next part went in kind of a blur.  Before I knew it, I was at 32km and that’s when I really started smiling!!  I knew I was going to make it, and in my goal time of 4 hours. My though was ‘only 10km to go, it’s under an hour, just like a Wednesday morning training run!’.  At 34 km, another big woohoo!!  Just passed my point of longest run ever. Every km after that was just a small step closer to the finish…the best one being the km after two cups of redbull!! I’d heard all the report of the hills and there being one near to the end…but there were sooooo many hills near to the end, I didn’t know which was the last one!  The last one was sooo hard with less than 2km left to go. But by crikey, I made the most of the last downhill!!  By the time I got to the bottom and for the last 500m I was dizzy with elation and had the finish firmly in my sight.  Crossing the finish line was an amazing feeling.  My family were all there seeing me though and I was so happy to see them.  All that hard work in training has paid off. I made it! And it felt relatively easy – it didn’t make me cry in pain! Thanks coach Kate – your race plan was spot on.

Catching up with many friends in the finish area was wonderful.  I was jumping out of my skin with euphoric happiness and fulfillment and feeling so proud of myself and everyone around me for all of our achievements.  The atmosphere was electric and I couldn’t get enough of it.

After getting home and trying and failing to sleep (a week’s worth of caffeine in four hours will do that to me!) the aches and pains started to set in.  The best and most well-earned aches and pains I’ve ever had.  Still smiling next day and starting to think about my next marathon already…..sometime next year maybe and hopefully in a new destination.  Looking forward to it J

Julie Bishop

29 August 2016

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