As I lay in bed trying to sleep on the eve of my first marathon I completed my evening ritual of reading all the posts from inspirational women on the RMA Facebook page. Nicole had posted that night that RMA Ambassador Jodie Oborne was willing to pace a sub 4 hour marathon for the RMA girls. I hadn’t quite worked out whether that was for me, but my training plan had me coming in at just over 4 hours. I decided I was going to have a crack at sticking with Jodie for as long as I could. It would mean that I didn’t go out too fast and I had some friends to laugh and share the experience with.
As I woke in the dark to farewell my beautiful friends running the half marathon I found myself alone and nervous. After some coffee, a winners bar and a huge slathering of body glide, I was off and on the tram. The tram was packed and you could feel the buzz that is marathon day.
Jumping off the tram, the music was pumping, people were dancing, the sun was rising- today was the day I had trained so hard for and had wanted so badly for so long. The sacrifices that were made by not only myself but my husband and family were to be realised in just under 4 hours.
I checked my bags in and rushed to the RMA tent to meet everyone, have our photos and to find the infamous Jodie. As soon as I saw her with the balloons I said “today I am going to stick to you like glue”. I wasn’t kidding.
We made our way to the start line and before I knew it we were running over the start mat (Jodie’s balloons hitting me in the face as they would for the next 35km). Jodie had explained the first half should feel very very easy and that the race really only started after 30km. They were wise words that I had heard before. I started early with my fuelling and I tried to relish the moment that was my first marathon. I took in the crowds, the sun, the sea, the music, the children yelling out to their Mummy’s, beaming with pride. It was everything I thought it would be and much much more.
The first half of the race was just about keeping relaxed and a steady pace. Fuelling was so important for me because the moment I stopped eating was the moment I knew I wouldn’t feel great. We were relaxed, dancing, singing, high fiving. As we made it towards the 25km mark we came across Captain America. Running a marathon is difficult, but running one in full costume is unbelievable. The kids were going crazy. I said to Jodie, “I have to beat Captain America, my son will think I am a hero if I can run faster than him.” After a quick chat, laugh and words of encouragement with our running superhero, we passed him and wished him well.
Our next target was a guy with a tutu and a crop top. There was no way Jodie was going to let him beat me and he had a target on his back for the next 10km. We did eventually pass him but I started to question whether I would in fact ever catch him. I was getting tired and as we ran towards the 37km turnaround it was getting hot. People were starting to faint and I was getting scared because I knew the last 5km were the toughest. Jodie kept assuring me “you have got this”. Everyone she ran past that she knew (and let me tell you just about EVERYONE on the course knew her), she yelled “This is Ana, it is her first marathon and she is going to do a sub 4 hour”. Hearing her say it over and over again was the single biggest motivating factor in those final kms. Amazingly she ran ahead to let the girls at the RMA tent know I was coming and when I started to approach our tents the roar went up.
I couldn’t believe the support. I could hear the cheering, I could feel the love and I was overwhelmed with emotion. This was my day. This was what dreams were made of. This was my first marathon and I was going to make it in under 4 hours. My splits were getting faster and I had plenty left in the tank to run fast up the shoot. I heard the MC yell out this is the famous Jodie Oborne and I was so so humbled that someone of her calibre was willing to get me over the line. I looked at my watch as we crossed at 3.53 and you couldn’t wipe the smile off my face. I couldn’t believe it. As far as dreams go, it didn’t get much more perfect than this.
Sitting here 3 days later, I’m still smiling. My recovery has been amazing. I have felt great and the whole experience has been more than I could ever have imagined. I am signed up to run my second marathon in Sydney in September and I can’t wait.
On race day everything came together for me and I am grateful and incredibly lucky. I know that the marathon is a race where often it doesn’t all come together and many have not been able to get to the start line due to injury. On Sunday I ran with you girls on my mind and know that you’re day is not far off. When it comes, remember 4 things:
- Respect your training,
- Honour your commitment,
- Celebrate your Victory and, last but not least
- Smile and enjoy that moment.
I’ll be riding that rollercoaster with you as will 11,000 + other Mums around the country and we can’t wait to celebrate your achievements.
Ana is a Brisbane mum of 3 beautiful children. She has an infectious smile, a fantastic spirit and we are so thankful that you would share your story with us Ana.