I ran my first half marathon since July's Gold Coast Half, 3 weeks ago at the Medibank Melbourne Marathon Festival.
This was the first time I'd done the event with friends running too - last year I was in a wedding so didn't run at all & the year before it was my first attempt at the Marathon distance. I'm not up for 2 marathons in a year (may never achieve it) & have been resting my stubborn ITB in hope that it will settle down & less likely reoccur, hence the unusual (for me) long time between halfs!
Our running family met outside the MCG at the crack of dawn as one of our group was doing the full marathon starting at 7am. We amused ourselves taking pictures of ourselves with the Bill Ponsford Statute while bag drops were done & runners sent off.
I couldn't believe my eyes when out of the crowd appeared Carol! Of all those thousands of people, fate placed us in each others paths! We do have a photo - but it's on Carols phone. Oops. While we were having a quick catch up, more of my running family arrived & I was instructed to download the Marathon App & plug in everyone's race numbers as I was to be first runner home.
I really don't know why I didn't twig then, (as one of our family had pulled out of the 10km event citing she wasn't feeling it, plus she was supposed to have done the event with her daughter who wasn't well & couldn't run - but had decided to come along & support the rest of us, so was there, but not running so) why was I the one tracking everyone.
I'm a bit slow at the best of times & it took a while & some prompting before the penny dropped: my friend M was indeed going to run, but her sister had talked her into upgrading & running/walking her first half marathon!!!!!!! OMG!!! It must have been quite amusing watching me catch on as the others (besides Carol) were all in the know bar our Marathon runner, who over took them on the course & found out mid run. Wish I'd been able to see his face!
Anyhoo. In all the excitement & laughing about what had transpired we were a little late getting to the starting chute. I started at the back of the pack with the other 3 girls & before long we were off! We wished each other luck & I took off ahead of them aiming for a 2 hour give or take finishing time. It was quite warm & very windy. I ditched my jumper (for charity) just before we started & was wishing I'd run in shorts by the end! I made it to 15kms before my brain started to complain - or is that my body started to protest & my brain said - yeah - this is a bit hard, I think we should walk.
I told my brain to stop being ridiculous & that if we slowed down a little it would all be fine. There were far fewer spectators on course this year than when I'd last run it so had less kids to high 5 & keep me distracted which was a little disappointing, however the weather gods weren't conducive to spectating.
I realised that it wouldn't be long until the RMA cheer squad would appear & also Carol & co's cheer squad (dressed up as Frisian Cows!) wouldn't be far off either (I hoped). I ran on keeping a keen eye out for them & eventually there they were - together I think! Here I am in action high fiving one of the RMA cheer squad! I think I was yelling out "more Warrnambool cows" to someone behind her, who may or may not have been part of Carol's cheer squad!! LOL
Finally it was up & over the footbridge at Birrarung Marr towards the MCG hard left, under the bridge, around the outer along the road & into a tunnel to arrive onto the hallowed turf of the MCG! So much fun running on the grass & then sprinting for the finish line!!!!
I grabbed my medal & quickly picked up my bag as I had to race back to one of the girls car & pick up 3 more runners bags & get back into the ground to see them finish! I was watching the App & still missed the 3 girls run onto the MCG. They made great time & I didn't have to wait long.
Here is M with her first half marathon completed!
All the half runners made it back in time to see the last member of our running family that day over the finishing line after PB'ing in his 3rd Marathon. I am so thankful I now have a running family. While you all run your own race, having the support of friends really means so much. We all celebrate each others milestones & have a lot of fun along the way.