What is your running background?
I never considered myself a runner. The annual cross country in high school was the bane of my life. And I’m pretty sure I was the bane of my PE teacher’s life.
Then in 2009, I decided to take up running to get fit for a trek in Peru. A friend had a mums’ running group that met after school drop off so I joined. They had a motto “Run hard, eat cake”. That was a concept I could understand.
I still remember running my first 7km without stopping. I’d only managed 3km before that. It felt amazing. So even after the trek, I kept up the running. Over the years, I’ve dipped in and out a bit. I always seem to need some sort of goal to aim for to motivate me to get out there.
I’ve never discovered that running addiction that some people seem to develop but I do love how fit it makes me feel. It also lets me eat a lot of chocolate.
What made you decide to fly up from Melbourne to join us at our Mona running retreat?
The retreat came up in discussions on Facebook at a time when I was struggling with injury and feeling a bit despondent. I thought I could use all the help I could get and it was perfectly timed a month before the marathon so it seemed like a good idea. It took me about two weeks to get up the nerve to put it to my husband and he just instantly agreed I should go! Besides, it was bloody freezing down here. A bit of warmth was a novel idea.
Normally I would think these things were for serious runners and would never have even contemplated attending but given it was being run by you, I felt safe and welcome. I knew you’d look after me.
What were some of the highlights of the weekend for you?
Gosh, where do I start?? One was definitely meeting Steve Moneghetti. He’s just the most genuine, generous person who never made me feel like a wannabe in the presence of greatness.
Professor Louise Burke cut through all that low carb, high carb, high fat, low fat, eat like a caveman guff that seems to fill the dieting airwaves these days with her no nonsense presentation and as someone who loves sourdough bread, I’m immensely grateful for her research and insights.
Dr Jo. What can I say about Dr Jo Lukins that would do her justice? The amazing thing about her advice is that I can already see it flowing into other parts of my life. She has literally changed my life.
My cabin buddy and new friend Rachel – we had a lot of laughs!
There are so many more I could list – the whole weekend was just one massive gift.
What has changed in your running and also in your day to day life since coming to Maggie Island?
In my running, I’m now faster and stronger.
I set a PB for 10km on the Sunday of the retreat and then the following Sunday at home, I did it again.
Want to know why?
The number one thing I came away with from the weekend was the ability to say “I am a runner”. That might seem ridiculous but for a long time I have struggled with the voices in my head telling me I’m not a real runner.
'Real runners run every day’
‘Real runners fun faster/further’
‘Real runners find marathons difficult, you’ve haven’t got a hope’.
Sometimes the voices would be so strident, I’d get quite distressed. Have you ever tried to run and cry at the same time? Messes with your breathing and you can’t see where you’re going. Tricky.
During one of the sessions on the retreat, those same voices decided to stick the boot in again and by the end of the session I was almost in tears. Then we had the session with psychologist Dr Jo Lukins and she helped me see what was happening.
I also got the opportunity to share and I think that was instrumental in healing my mind and heart because I received so much support from the whole group. I’m incredibly thankful.
The most wonderful thing is that it has flowed into other areas of my life where I’ve also struggled with the voices telling me I’m not good enough. I feel stronger and have a newfound belief in myself that is helping me be the best I can be in all sorts of ways.
You have your first marathon rapidly approaching!! Has a marathon always been on your bucket list? What made you decide to challenge yourself to run a marathon?
Gosh, no! I only put a marathon on the list about a year ago. I’d read a blog post about the Chicago marathon and it sounded amazing and it’s in October which is when I have my birthday and a thought bubbled up that I could run it for my 50th birthday.
Chicago turned out not to be possible due to family circumstances but as luck would have it the Melbourne Marathon falls just a few days after my birthday. I’ve always been a sucker for an audacious goal just to see if I can do it and it seemed like a fun (?!) way to celebrate a birthday milestone.
I’m also running as part of the Asylum Seeker Resource Centre’s Run 4 Refugees team and fundraising for the ASRC. The glory of finishing a marathon will be wonderful but it will mean more to me if I’ve also helped someone else.
At the weekend we may have discovered a couple of things about you
A) you are in fact a runner
b) you can run fast
c) there is an inner sprinter in you
With that in mind -
What's next on your running agenda?
The marathon is just the beginning of the next decade. I’m currently building a Fifties Bucket List. On the list is ‘Compete in an Australian Masters Games’ so that’s next on the running agenda. I want to find a geriatric version of Little Athletics and get back into sprinting with the view of competing at a Masters Games. Who knows? If I work hard enough I might even make it to an International Masters Games. Aim high, I say! I also have my eye on some half-marathons I’d like to do next year such as Great Ocean Road and Surf Coast Trail Run. And of course I hope to make it back to Magnetic Island for more running inspiration.
Thanks for running such an event.
Thanks for looking after me – meeting me at the ferry, the transport, the accommodation, making sure I had what I needed.
Thanks for the fun, the encouragement, the laughs, the way you made everyone feel important and helped us all bond so quickly.
Steve was just wonderful and is definitely one of my favourite people now. I loved how genuine he was and how generous he was with his time and encouragement. Still seems so amazing that someone like me could have the opportunity to train with him.
And I think I definitely need to say thank you to Fantasea. If their support is enabling you to run these events, they have my eternal gratitude.