Australia

Launceston Running Festival

So, I’ve always hated running.

When I was 11 my parents because obsessed with running. They would take me and my siblings running around a huge park near our house. My sisters loved it and were soon way faster than me. I, on the other hand, suffered from very painful stitches. I also hated how much slower I was. Anyway, I ended up avoiding those runs

Then my family discovered parkrun a few years ago. I thought I’d try it. But I still got stitches and decided that running was a stupid idea.

Then, a few months ago, I joined the uni Frisbee club. Turns out that I really love playing Frisbee. I got fit purely by accident. Then I tried the Launceston parkrun. Guess what? I found out that I actually enjoyed it!

With this new bit of information, the logical next step was to register for a Half Marathon that was in 40 days… What can I say? My sister Holli wanted to do the Running Festival too.

Okay, that maybe wasn’t the best idea. I overtrained, gave myself three different running injuries and couldn’t walk for a fortnight. I got almost no training done. Luckily my injuries weren’t too bad and a week before the race I felt great (aside from the shin splints). Even so, I made the decision to swap from the half marathon distance to the 10km. I knew I haven’t trained enough to do a half marathon safety.

By now basically everyone in my family had signed up to do one of the races in the Launceston Running Festival. For better or worse we have a one in, all in mentality.

It was exciting picking up our running bibs from the Silo Hotel. They looked so professionally athletic!

The next morning we were up early. The only thing we could see looking out the window was fog. Really thick fog.

The roads were closed so we rode our bikes through the thick fog to Riverbend park and snapped some pre-race photos.

Dad, Holli and Forrest before the half marathon started.

They ran the whole half marathon together. They killed poor Forrest. It was his first half marathon and he could barely walk for a week! But he’s happy because they got 01:49:48

Soon it was time for the 10km distance and I made my way to the start line. The lack of social distancing made me a bit nervous.

I was careful not to run too hard at the start and burn myself out, a mistake I’d made many times at parkrun.

A couple of kilometres in, I was overtaken by the 1 hour pacer. I decided I’d try to keep up with her for a while, despite knowing that it was probably way too fast. Having a pacer was great. It took the mental battle away. I could turn my brain off and simply follow her.

I had two goals, firstly to finish and get a medal, secondly to have fun and keep smiling. Whenever I noticed that I wasn’t smiling I’d force myself to grin again. I think I might have been grinning manically and scaring any small children around…

I managed to stay with the pacer the whole time! I even overtook her and sprinted the last kilometre (after thanking her of course).

I was very happy after finishing, as you can see in the photo. I’d managed to smash both my 5km and 10km records, getting a time of 58.57, much more than I’d expected for my first race.

The rest of my family were also happy. And in pain as you can tell from dad’s expression.

Forrest and I rang the PB bell. He did amazingly for his very first half marathon, keeping up with my dad and sister well. But, they managed to wear him out. He collapsed on the couch when we got home and didn’t move for hours. Strange behaviour for somebody who’s normally so ridiculously energetic.

I didn’t get time to recover. The next morning I got up at 5am and to hike up Mt Arthur with some friends. The idea was to be at the top for sunrise. We kinda misjudged and missed it by a lot. Afterwards we played frisbee at another friend’s birthday. It was so painful, the pain throbbing in my legs after the first half almost took my breath away. I do not recommended anyone copying my version of post-race recovery.

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