I run not because you said I couldn’t but to prove to myself that I can!
Almost a year ago I sat on my bed overlooking the Dubai Marathon and thought I really should do something like that. I had just had my heart broken and was re-planning a years worth of goals. So among the list of goals written that day was the Dubai 2013 Marathon. It was always just in the back of my mind as the year wore on but then I read Tim Ferriss’s “The 4 Hour Body”.
His training program for endurance running appealed to my lazy side. A twelve week training program that didn’t include hours of pounding the pavement. I don’t see myself as a particularly good runner and the very idea of running for over 4 hours actually promotes thoughts of boredom and I’d rather be scrubbing toilets….. if you knew my displeasure for cleaning you would realise how monumental it is for me to even considering a marathon.
But they say stars align when you want something, I was introduced to a woman, Laura, who was to become my trainer. Despite having not run a marathon herself was willing to go along with my crazy plan to do a modified Tim Ferriss program. I now count her as a close friend and someone I highly respect.
Prior to the twelve week program there was a 4 weeks preparation training phase which including running barefoot on grass to strengthen my ankles and correct my running style. Living in Dubai, soft delicious green grass is of very limited supply so I certainly felt like an idiot running 200m laps around a small grassed area near my house much to the amusement of the gardeners. This period also included getting fitter. I felt like a wheezing asthmatic this entire month and continually smelt of Tiger Balm as my muscles protested.
It was about this point I was thinking why on earth am I doing this. The naysayers had been chipping in my ear, you cant do this, humans aren’t meant to run 42kms and the lack of support continued. It was then I realised I needed to add a purpose to my run aside from just finishing a marathon. I decided to raise money for Destiny Rescue giving me the ultimate reason to finish. My run would make a difference to more than just my own self-esteem.
There are an estimated 27 million slaves in the world today. Destiny Rescue is committed to liberating those enslaved and restoring those that have been abused. Already serving in six nations, Destiny Rescue will keep expanding to reach even more children.
Destiny Rescue is a grassroots, internationally recognised, Christian based, non-profit organisation dedicated to rescuing children from human trafficking and sexual exploitation. They help rescue the sexually exploited and enslaved, restore the abused, protect the vulnerable, empower the poor and are a voice for those that can’t speak up for themselves. They give back freedom. I am not Christian but I am certainly not afraid to say this organisation is one of the most impressive I have seen hence my choosing them as my inspiration to run.
Getting up at 5am every training day and either being alone in my buildings gym or on the metro to see Laura had many moments of it’s too dark, it’s too early, it’s too something… I’d rather be in bed. When you see progress that is when you keep going. I started to lift heavier weights, not feel like an asthmatic when doing 10 x 200 m sprints. I ran a 10km Dubai Women’s fun run under an hour, I ran 18km in a foreign city at 5.30am and felt empowered doing so, I ran a half marathon in 2.07, I dead-lifted over my body weight, I did 80 max rep 16kg kettle bell swings and then I ran 36km on my 36th birthday.
Each little achievement above and beyond what I thought I could do inspired me. Laura took some photos and I could see my muscles. Though throughout this entire 16 weeks of training my thighs and buttocks did not decide to play the game and tighten up like a fitness model. This depressed me somewhat as I was working my butt off and my butt wasn’t leaving… then I was reminded ‘what is the goal?’…….The goal was “to run a marathon”. My goal was never to get a perky butt so I stopped looking in the mirror.
I discovered a sports motivational soundtrack on 8tracks.com and listened to it daily for the 10 weeks leading up to the marathon. Laura posted inspirational posters on my Facebook wall, I sort fitness pages that inspired and one of Laura’s posted got me to dead-lift 16 kgs over my body weight – YOU ARE STRONGER THAN YOU THINK! I was stronger, fitter and faster.
On the 25 Jan 2013 I ran my first marathon in 4:24:23. The week leading up to it when I slowed down my training was scary. Just getting out of bed in the morning was painful, my ankle and knee joints screaming at me. My fears where on my heals saying you will crash and burn at 36km and not make it. I did make it and I was strong throughout the marathon. I did a 10km PB (personal best) on the first 10km of 56.7 mins and I slowed down only for the 3rd 10km only because I was worried about hitting the wall. I should never have worried.
At 38km I realised I could do this in under 4 hours 30 minutes so I started striding out and finished the last 1km sprinting as I felt so good. On my hand was written – At the end of pain is success, pain is temporary, CARRY ON…. After crossing the line I almost burst into tears and held the fence for a few moments and then a grin came across my face – I am a marathon runner!
I found a poster the next day that said:
The final count is not in for the sponsorship but total raised to date is $1400.00. Today, the people who sponsored me, the people who encouraged me, the wonderful trainer who pushed me beyond my limits and ran the 36km with me, my family and friends, my race day support crew and of course, myself have made a difference. For that I am grateful!
Paving the path to making a difference! The only question is now – what next?