International Women’s Day Fun Run 2016
Tomorrow is International Women’s Day. For those not in the know, it is a day to celebrate and commemorate women’s achievements, both past and present, and bring recognition to the inequality that is still prevalent in many countries around the world.
I will be wearing purple tomorrow, however the reason that I acknowledge IWD is for a cause much smaller than all that.
I’m no 21st century suffragette – my personal belief is that a human being is a human being. No matter what shape, size, colour, race, religion, gender preference OR sex. We all have our unique qualities that make us amazing individuals, and we all have similarities that, over history, have engendered both amazing feats of courage and horrible acts of cruelty. To me, a perfect world would be one where people are allowed to be who they want to be, without fear of persecution or judgement – provided no one is hurt, of course! It’s sad to me that this isn’t always a common belief.
So, no. Women’s lib isn’t a cause particularly close to my heart, however I do have a special spot in my heart for International Women’s Day – and in particular, the annual run that is held in its honour in Brisbane by the Mater Chicks in Pink.
If you read one of my previous posts, you would know that I take part in the International Women’s Day Fun Run every year, and have been doing so for the past three years or so in honour of some dearly departed friends. Yesterday I took to the pavement again for the 5k run and now I’m having some post-run depression – big time! I’d been looking forward to it for months – I’d ordered my kit, gotten it posted for once (rather than picking it up at the site on the day) and the time had finally arrived.
Despite it being a Sunday, I woke at about 4.30am – wide awake, BING! I realised that the cause of this was my bread maker switching on. Once I was awake, however, I couldn’t get back to sleep. I tossed and turned for about an hour before accepting defeat and getting out of bed. I ALMOST considered putting on a hoodie, however the weather app told me that it would be a top of 30 that day, so I decided not to be so ridiculous.
I drove to South Bank, tunes pumping, already psyched for the run – to be honest, I was also a little nervous. I used to run 5k at least once a week, until I worked my hips and back into such a state that I couldn’t run without being in agony the next day. What if I wasn’t able to do it anymore? What if I hadn’t recovered properly and I was just going to injure myself all over again? I parked at the bottom of the Kangaroo Point Cliffs, a) because I knew it was free and b) because I wanted the chance for a warm-down walk after my run – I think that’s what I used to do, but who can even remember anymore!
All the fears, however, seemed to melt away when I got to the starting line. The wait was only 5 or so minutes, but to me it felt like I would jump out of my skin if I couldn’t take off soon.
Sometimes I get like that, you know? When I don’t do exercise for a couple of days. So restless that I start to dream of just going outside and sprinting in one direction until my legs can’t take it anymore.
When we finally took off, I was faced with another dilemma – do I go hard, zigzagging between all the slow pokes, or do I stick to their pace (which also made a convenient excuse in my mind not to push myself too hard). I decided to do a bit of both, pushing myself when I thought I could take it, but using the excuse to slow down when I knew I couldn’t. My eagerness to sort my core out by doing some pilates the night before came back to bite me in the ass. My abs were cramping for the first kilometre at least – but I knew that the faster I ran, the faster it would be over, and that spurned me on.
Running within a crowd also gives you the added bonus of people watching. I love people watching. I love how you can’t judge anyone on their size or age when you’re running. Sometimes the fat chicks will outpace you, and that’s ok. Sometimes the fittest looking people have injuries which make them take it slow, and that’s ok as well!
There’s no judgement when you’re running, it’s just one foot in front of the other. However, I do have a confession to make – I had to slow to a walk to take a breather before the half-way mark. Anyone who knows me, will know this is a big concession for me. My pride was a little wounded when I saw the wrinkly grannies and pram-pushing mothers over-taking me. “What was it I said I was?” I asked myself. “Young, fit and positive! Get your arse moving!”.
Sorry to go all self-help guru on you, but the honest truth is that with running it’s only 60% ability, and 40% state of mind. Whenever I needed to stop to catch my breath, I kept reminding myself that I could do this, I had done this before, in fact I’d run 10ks before, and compared to that this was nothing! We were all there for the same reason – to raise money and show support for loved ones. Some were even running for themselves – survivors, women who had been through hell and come out stronger because of their suffering. That to me was the best motivation of all.
With this in mind, and combined with some killer beats (thank you, Halsey and M83), I kept up a good pace, all the way to the finish line.
My official race time was 5 kilometres in 30 minutes and 17 seconds. With this time I came 200 out of 730 people in my age bracket, and 1374 out of 4598 people overall. I beat my time from last year by 2 minutes and 25 seconds.
I finished feeling spent but absolutely elated. I was red faced and grinning from ear to ear. This is why I run. This, to me, is what being an empowered woman is all about. Pushing myself outside of my comfort zone and understanding that it enriches my soul more and more every time.