I have a big personal milestone looming, and I am both excited and terrified. A year and a half ago I set myself the goal of running a half marathon. So I signed up to run last year's Perth City to Surf but then got quite seriously ill, and downgraded to the 12km due to lack of training. Even that 12km was a milestone though, I think at the time it was the longest distance I had ever run. I gloated in my sense of accomplishment for a while, then set my sights on this year's half marathon.
Twelve months later I find myself on the eve of the big race. I have done a year and a half's worth of training and it has all gone very well, apart from the last five weeks. I developed an excruciating ITB injury although I was initially mystified as to why. The books say its an overtraining injury which makes me snort, because hah! Me? Overtrain? If only they knew. As I have previously written I am slow, ridiculously slow, as in grannies with walkers can overtake me slow. Also, I only increased my distance by 1km a week and sometimes not even by that much. But on getting lots of advice I realise that I really haven't been doing everything I should. I haven't really been cross training. Or stretching. My glutes are absurdly tight and weak and my feet clunk. Yes. That's a technical term.
So for the last five weeks instead of training, I have been visiting a sports injury specialist and yesterday afternoon I persuaded a rheumy doctor to give me a cortisone injection. And despite never having run more than 15km in one session and not having trained in yes, five weeks, I will be lining up at tomorrow's start line.
I have two main reasons. The first, is that I am nothing if not goal focussed. And what's the point of having a goal if you don't at least give it a try? The second is that I have been fundraising for a very special charity called Miracle Babies. Five years ago I went into extremely premature labour at 23 weeks gestation with our second and much longed for son, having spent five years and ten IVF cycles trying to conceive him. We teetered on the brink of losing him for several excruciating weeks and I was hospital bed bound for the best part of three months. During that time I got to know the staff and the parents in the Neo Natal Intensive Care Ward very well, and the experience has left an indelible mark. In the end, our son was born early but safely, and is now a thriving and healthy four year old. However I am cripplingly aware that many stories don't have our happy ending, and that many babies are born even earlier, or with more complications. I remember the time spent sitting beside that bleeping, dimly lit fishtank containing my morsel of a boy whose nest of wires and tubes made him look like a cross between a chicken and a science experiment. I remember the fragility of those moments. I remember the heartache and the tears. And I remember being so deeply moved by the tenacity of those babies and their parents, and the genuinely concerned and tender care we received from the amazing staff.
Thinking back to just before he was born, I remember one particular night vividly. I went into labour again and I was only, I think, around 25 weeks or so. The staff in hospital explained that despite having taken every precaution, the beds upstairs in the NICU were full (there was a rush of preterm babies that night) and so while they had a bed for me the mum, there was nothing available for the baby should he be born. So they rushed me into an air ambulance (thank you Royal Flying Doctor!) and FLEW me to another hospital an hour and a half away, where I stayed for a few weeks until things settled down as much as they were likely to. I am both grateful for the experience and cognisant that the lack of NICU facilities can be a real problem.
So I signed up to support Miracle Babies and so far, have raised $680 just by fleecing my family and friends. (Thanks guys!) If I'm honest, its this knowledge that is the real wind in my sails, and I will be running (or hopping, as the case may be) partly out of sheer gratitude for the support I have received from so many amazing people.
I am going to write a few things on my arm to keep me going. And one of the most dominant will be a quote I read a few nights ago, that "pain is temporary but pride lasts forever." I am proud of my family, my prematurely born son, my husband's phenomenal support and the achievement of just showing up on the day. I am proud of who I will be when I finish but even if I don't, and its a real possibility that I won't, I can be proud that I tried.
Support my Miracle Babies Fundraising efforts here. Please?