relishing the race

by Anna Blanch on April 2, 2012

Well, I did it.

For those that regularly run more than ten kilometres (just about 6.3 miles), my achievement isn’t going to seem like much.

But for me it was another step towards knowing that I’m well, and rejoicing in being able to run at all.

It was a fairly leisurely 10k, and I didn’t overdo it – stayed within myself – which is a new and different feeling. It’s also a good place to be (and to know where I’m at) in preparation for some other races/challenges I’ve set myself for the rest of this year – I’ll have an announcement about that in the next few days, because I’m really hoping that quite a few of you will join me!

Until those moments where I was struggling to suck in and get out the oxygen in my lungs I spent more time than usual taking in the stunning coastline, the parklands and the massive container ship that slid by the wharf as a line of runners were making their way out to the end; but hey, it can’t all be perfect can it?

There was something intensely enjoyable about seeing the city, in a sense for the first time) like this. Under my own steam I ran past quite a few of the iconic Newcastle beaches. I conquered the wicked little hill at Fort Scratchley – I should have read the elevation map of the course better. I was overjoyed realising that the big (and i’m not kidding about how big) hill was at the front of the race I didn’t really see the sharpness of the little climb to the top of the Fort. The view from up there was beautiful, not that i had too much time to enjoy it!

There was something really wonderful about seeing the joy on the faces of the wheelchair athletes running with the cerebral palsy alliance as they (at times) careened down the hills I was struggling to hold myself back on. This was a particularly hilly course. The winner ran it in 28 minutes. Yes. That’s fast. He’s hoping to represent Australia at the London Olympics, so to run in the same race and to hear himself that this is a course that will help you train for some of the other races I’d like to do was (strangely) comforting.

And along the way, I met some lovely ladies. One of the things I like about running at these kings of events is the general sense that most people just want others to do well. Unless you’re right up the front of the pack, it isn’t so much about beating others as absolutely doing the best you can and hanging in there. Having someone to push you that little bit harder or faster can make a tangible difference.

Having the encouragement and encouraging someone else (even if you only met them on the start line) as they run toward you on a turnback or as you see them at the finish line is actually kind of wonderful! So too was having my sister there for support – she also took the photos you see here. She got up early on her first day off in a couple of weeks to get me to the start line on time, so she gets extra thanks! It was pretty great to see her face towards the last couple of kilometres. She set herself up in a great spot that meant I saw here 3 times before the finish!

There’s always a few tears of joy in remembering what was once thought not possible. And I allowed myself some moments during this race, particularly as I was running down hills and looking at the gorgeous landscape to reflect on the importance of being in the race of life. Sometimes it isn’t about being the fastest, it is just about being in the race at all…

So, another 10k done! Not my fastest, but close to the most enjoyable…and I met some great people along the way!


Listening. Observing. Participating. Writing. Photographing. Reflecting.

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