If you had asked me 5 years if I was interested in competing in a fun run, I would have laughed. Today, at 42, running provides me with a healthy, happy lifestyle and has connected me with a wonderful new network of likeminded inspirational people of all running abilities. We each have our story. What I like is that nobody is running against each other but against themselves.
I was never an athlete at school. Enjoyed outdoor pursuits but generally lead quite a sedentary life. By adulthood my previously diagnosed mild hip dysplasia of my right hip was taking its toll. At 29 I felt I still had such a big life ahead of me that I decided to undergo a major pelvic reconstruction in Melbourne which would delay or remove the need for a total hip replacement. With the wonderful support of my family I rose again and managed to walk limp free and regain my independence once again. The reconstruction also allowed me to happily and successfully raise an active little boy with the assistance of several trips back to the orthopaedic ward for revision surgeries and the like.
By 2009 it was evident that the earlier reconstruction was not going to cut it so I made the call, aged 36, to undergo the total hip replacement of my right hip. Off I went to Melbourne, and I haven’t looked back…..
I was happy with my new found freedom from pain free movement that I started to use an elliptical trainer at home to help me lose some weight I suppose. In 2011, with encouragement from a close friend, I decided to walk in the 5km Cadbury Marathon event. Together with my mother in law and our little ipods, someone else’s running shoes, the wrong bra and a long sleeved top I was keen to see what all the fuss was about. When the horn sounded the start I felt like a kid and took off like the other runners around me. I couldn’t believe how fit I had become on my indoor trainer and 100m from the finish I saw that huge finish banner and all those people yelling encouragement as I came across the line, for little ol’ me. I was hooked. (I would love to bottle the atmosphere at the end of a fun run – competitors are so hyper and possess the best smiles – so proud not only of their own but of other’s achievements.)
Seeing the results and with encouragement from my friends and family, I continued to get faster and faster with each fun run and it was particularly exciting to turn over a new year and compete in the same runs again to compare my improvement. I think my fastest 5 km was the Kingston Beach Fun Run downhill @ 26.13 and 10 km was the Glenorchy Fun Run @ 55.29. I have also been lucky enough to be invited to assist on the admin side of organising the City to Casino Fun Run each year. Its wonderful to be part of a dynamic group of running folk and see the hard work behind the scenes attached to putting a fun run together.
My family are proud of me. I have inspired some of my close friends to get moving. My son still marvels how I can walk to the top of Mt Wellington from the Casino and go back for more!
Through running I have met a new group of genuine encouraging friends. I was so nervous starting at the run group at The Running Edge on Wednesday evenings with supposed ‘elite’ runners but it is here where I have met a wonderful bunch of people to run and socialise with. Its so much more fun to run in the company of others!
I have suffered some muscle issues and have worked my way through some pain and time away from running – seeking appropriate physiotherapy – working through the problems and learning how to stretch and strengthen properly. I know my limits and have to be sensible because it goes against advice to run on a hip replacement, however, running brings great joy to my daily life, its altered my metabolism, has removed 10 kg worth of weight off my joints and helped build a mental strength that has helped me to conquer some big events in my personal life recently.
My goal this year is to increase my distance slowly and run a half marathon later in the year. I will undertake this journey with the right advice and training regime to give it my best shot. Becoming a member of the TRR network will help me connect with new people in my area and provide me with invaluable advice from people with experience.
2015 here I come!