I really enjoy getting up early and heading out on my Saturday runs each week.
People often ask me, “How can you run 42k?” or they will say, “I wish I could run 5k but I am not fit enough!”
Neither was I when I signed up to do 5k with Lonedog back in April 2013.
I was 5 months post- surgery after having my Prostate Cancer removed. I was not really in a good place mentally or physically. I knew I needed to get the old Mark back and my life back on track. As a cyclist I knew how to push myself. But this is running. It was a whole new ball game.
I remember the first night when we meet. I was so excited but had no idea what we were in for and off we went.
I look at it now as “you have to crawl before you can walk.” Over the weeks as we progressed to our goal of 5k, we had set tasks assigned to us. I can still remember on a Sunday morning (actually it was Mother's Day), I had to run 3k straight without stopping and Cheryl was there, right next to me, giving me the confidence to keep going. It was bloody hard work but I did it. She then peeled off and headed over to the next runner.
On the last night of the running group we had a 5k time trial. It was a Wednesday night and it had been raining, but that did not stop us. I borrowed Cheryl's running watch because I was so keen to do a good time and off we went.
We all completed our 5k. Some fast, some slow. But in the end, I now considered us all as runners.
After getting comfortable at 5kms, I signed up for the 10k running group with a goal of running 10k at the Melbourne marathon. This time I knew what to expect but to my surprise Cheryl changed my training. I was ready for the challenge and could not wait to get into training!
My grand finale, (well that's what I was thinking) was Melbourne Marathon 10km event.
My race went well and I ran a PB. But the feeling I got running into the MCG at the end of my race was amazing! Running out of the tunnel onto the field, I pumped my arms in the air then sprinted to the finish with a few tears in my eyes.
As I left the ground I was given a Finisher’s Medal which I put around my neck. I was extremely proud of myself as I sat in the MCG, watching other runners finishing there races but I knew there was unfinished business.
When I got back to Albury and caught up with Cheryl.
I said “When do we start half marathon training?”
She talked to me about the goals I had in mind and the strategy to get what I wanted. I then signed up to the 21k group with the end goal of running 3 half marathons for the year.
We started training early in December. The great thing about the program was we kept changing locations.
I finished my last training run in just under 2 hours and I was ready for Canberra.
I had a great run starting in front of old Parliament House, running up, around new Parliament House and the streets of Canberra.
My next goal was Gold Coast which was a flat fast course. Cheryl had my program suited to meet my needs. I must be weird because as we discussed it this would get me excited. It was all a plan to get me strong for a flat track. It worked. I did a 6min Personal Best!
The Gold Coast Marathon was a great event.
My next goal was Melbourne Half Marathon. After a bit of a break, it was back to training.
The great thing I noticed was training was never boring. We would always do different training drills to keep the juices flowing (and my jokes always helped out.)
Next thing I know, I was back in Melbourne where I ran my first race a year before.
I think Melbourne will always be that little bit special for me. It’s where I spent 3 weeks in my prostate cancer journey.
The other good thing about Melbourne is I knew the drill, where to park, where to drop of my bag and where to start. To top it off, I had another great run at Melbourne, which runs around the city and the Albert Park Formula-1 track. That was Melbourne and my goal of 3 half marathons done.
My goal this year 2015 is to run 3 Full Marathons.
2 down. 1 to go!
Mark is currently raising funds by running Marathons for Prostate Cancer.
To support this initiative click here ----> Everyday Hero