Early yesterday morning (and I mean early), I lined up on a race track alongside new friends. I was cold, tired and nervous. Our first time trial – where you run as fast as you can for five kilometres – was going to hurt like buggery.
The night before I had gone to sleep in my running gear wanting to save precious minutes in bed. The thought of getting up at 5am to train sounded inconceivable. When my alarm went off, I woke in a sweat, slid out of bed into a heap on the floor and cursed my half-witted idea of sleeping in lycra. It seemed like a good idea at the time.
I shuffled my way into the kitchen, cursed my appearance in the mirror and stared at the ridiculous amount of peanut butter on my toast with contempt. Who on earth eats this early, I thought and dry swallowed the toast in the hope it would give me a kick.
I desperately wanted to be back in bed.
Instead, I gathered my things, stumbled out the front door and dropped my toast face down on the carpet.
“Oh [insert expletive] hell!”
Thankfully, by the time I arrived at my Inner West Can Too training session, my mood had shifted. I was greeted by a chorus of chirpy “hellos” whose faces I couldn’t see because it was so damn dark.
Our coach, David, briefed us about the time trial that would be run on a 400 metre grass track and I squinted to find the painted lines in the dark.
“Mind the divots!” he yelled as I walked straight into a puddle of mud.
After a warm up, I lined up at the start blowing into my hands and realised how clear the sky was… the stars were still sparkling and there was the faintest hint of dawn. Over the next 30 minutes, I ran 12 and a half laps. The dawn broke and the day slowly spread across the sky.
And I reflected on why I do this.
Because it makes me feel good.
Every part of it. Even when it hurts.
Even when I have three laps to go and David tells me that actually I have four. Even then.
The running, the friendly faces, the early mornings and the fundraising. I love it. Selfishly, I return to Can Too because I love that it gets me fit and I like raising money for cancer research (even though it is HARD). But I also love that the people there are motivated, sunny, supportive and kind. They are strangers who, with a pat on your back, quickly become friends.
And on a cold winter’s morning, when you’re surrounded by such warmth, that’s not a bad place to be.
Hey – wanna visit my fundraising page? It’s right here