Last weekend I took myself out of my running comfort zone and ran the longest run I have ever done. 28km of trail running from Dromana to Cape Schank in the 2 bays race was by far a highlight to kick off 2024 which for me is to be a year where I challenge my endurance and resilience! I'll admit, I am a bit scared reading that back as my ego isn't pumped for the challenges. Our ego likes things to be predictable and comfortable even when the comfort is detrimental to our soul's growth and expansion.
I started the run up Arthur's seat feeling good and thought I started easy but on reflection, there's an easier easy I need to utilize to run/walk up that next time! The first half of the run I was tracking along well. I had set a goal to finish the race around the 3hr mark but once I hit the 17km zone my legs and hips totally cramped up and the pain was intense. It actually took me back to labour with my first child. That feeling that nothing was comfortable. Walking hurt my calves more than running but running hurt my hips and felt I could barely stride. So, I alternated between the two and began the battle of my mindset.
With nothing to distract me (headphones not allowed in this race nor is music) I was consciously aware I was focusing on the pain too much. I was telling myself to shift my focus but no matter how hard I tried, my body was adamant the pain was to be at the forefront. With no reception I couldn't even call on my support team to talk to or get some inspiring words. I was determined I would finish and knew the longer I kept walking, the more my calves struggled so I pushed myself to jog the rest of the run.
As I pulled into the finish line, I let all the emotions out and cried hard. I've never finished a run with tears before, but this run really got me. I had my inner coach voice in my head reminding me to be resilient and that resilience is built in challenge. The release at the end was the acknowledgment of the intense physical and mental battle I had just committed to and that I had in fact done it despite being convinced at points of the race that I was coming last.
The run was so symbolic to me and represents my desire to expand my resilience as I found at times in 2023 especially in my business but also in my training I would get stuck in my head and question myself. I think it's important for me to continue to stretch myself out of my comfort zone because as we build physical resilience, we also build the mental and emotional resilience.
As insane as it probably sounds to some, I will be doing the race in 2025 with a clear goal in sight and I am itching to get back in my runners but first I am honoring the effort of the weekend and spending this week recovering. Stress and rest = high performance. Something I can get better at this year is recovery. Recovering well just as much as training well. This applies to all areas of life not just fitness. When we have stress and we fail to recover well, the stress compounds and generates more stress which leads to illness, injury, burnout so I am taking my own advice and ensuring I take it easy the rest of the week. I'll get in the Infared sauna, use my massage gun, have some hot salt baths and get in to see my Myo. The next race I am aiming for is just over a month which is much shorter and I'll be racing for a PB.
July this year I am fundraising for the Children's Cancer Institute and I running my 6th half marathon at Run Melbourne. If you'd like to donate a dollar or two I would be estatic! To contribute please go to: https://runmelbourne24.grassrootz.com/ccia/julia-poppleton