6 months ago, I set one crazy, out-there goal to run the Gold Coast Marathon. Id been running for almost a year and loved it, but felt I needed something huge to work towards, to keep me on track. I knew it would require a big commitment, but I wanted to be a great role model for my kids and to achieve something big. And at 42.2km, a marathon sure is big!
Training went really well for the first few months. I mixed it up with pram runs with the kids, speed sessions with a group and long runs. I was feeling fit and had a pretty ambitious goal for completely my marathon. But six weeks before the big run, I got pain in my legs that didnt go away, and was diagnosed with shin splints (medial tibial stress syndrome).
I was told to stop running completely until the pain went away. That ended up being 3 weeks. When they felt great again, I did two runs but the pain came back. So for the final 3 weeks leading up the marathon, I once again did no running at all. I tried to keep my fitness up with cycling, and just focused on getting my legs pain-free.
I was so fortunate throughout my training to have family support. When I started doing regular long runs of 20-32km (almost every weekend), family and friends pitched in to look after the kids. My husband Dean was also an amazing supporter he had planned to run the marathon too, but had to pull out with a hamstring injury. I couldnt have done it without him.
At times, it felt like too much commitment, and it was a struggle to fit in the training around the kids, the rest of my family, work commitments and all of our other activities. At the peak of training, I was running about 55km a week. Some days I would get up at 3:45am (even earlier than my usual 4:15am), just to fit in a training session. But I kept my eyes on the goal, and kept the motivation to keep going.
Marathon Day came and it was an amazing experience. I was thrilled that my body held up I had no pain in my shins. It was hard really hard. Those last 10km were such a struggle, but I had to keep my mind on track and just take it a kilometer at a time. The feeling at the finish line made it all worthwhile it was an overwhelming sense of achievement and happiness and pain and relief! I finished the marathon in 4:30:08.
Ive been so humbled by other peoples stories of how they have been inspired to do something after hearing my story. My encouragement to others is to believe in yourself. You can achieve whatever you set your mind to. Who you were in the past is not who you have to be dare to dream, be persistent and you will succeed. And achieving a marathon or whatever it is you aspire to is something that can never be taken away from you.