Tomorrow I will run my first half marathon in Melbourne but if I had a choice I would be running for the hills and finding a good hiding place instead.
Because for the past three weeks my running program has basically gone out the window.
And I don’t mean I’ve missed one run here or there.
I mean my feet have decided to stay mostly planted on the ground and the runs I have done have been discouraging to say the least.
It started to go downhill – and no, unfortunately for me I wasn’t running at the time – when I was nearing the completion of my 12-week program.
I thought it would be a great idea to finish the program a few weeks before the run so that I was ultra-prepared.
The thing about that is in the back of my mind I knew I was almost finished and somehow my legs knew it too.
It didn’t help that I had a niggle in my hip so the runs I had been doing weren’t all that comfortable.
So I stopped. Just like that.
And, honestly, if I hadn’t committed to this because of charity (Community Living Respite Services’ Johnno’s Run in Echuca) I do think I would hang up my running shoes and have a nap instead.
To say I am disappointed in myself would be a colossal understatement.
But the thing about that is being disappointed in yourself is not as powerful as when someone else is.
So here I am, about to run tomorrow, under-prepared and not all that concerned.
But it got me thinking, how did I get here?
Charity aside, why did I think running 21.2 km would be a great idea?
Better question - why does anyone think running long distances is a great idea?
Why do people commit to things that are challenging at best and impossible at worst?
A woman who I consider to be one of the most caring, kind-hearted, inspiring women I know, became an ironman for the second time this year.
And, mind you, is doing the half tomorrow.
She won’t break a sweat over it. Exercise is what she does. She’s also a single working mother of two beautiful girls and is never too far away if you’re after excellent life advice or slice – or lucky for me, both.
And she’s not the only over-achiever.
You only need to look at history to know people do unbelievable things all the time which made me realise a half-marathon doesn’t seem all that scary after all. And seems to significantly fall short of the benchmark these people have set.
If you Google 'most amazing achievements in the world', it might restore your faith in humanity, because you’ll discover there’s a man who spent most of his life giving back to the world by planting a forest.
It’s almost 1400 acres. He did it all, apparently, because he saw wildlife suffering from a lack of shade.
There’s also a bunch of scientists much smarter than me behind some of the most important medical achievements in history, including the smallpox vaccine which eradicated an illness that had claimed about 300-500 million lives in the 20th century alone.
One of my personal favourites is the development of the printing press, which stopped knowledge from only being passed on verbally and through drawings on surfaces of caves and walls.
This achievement alone helped form modern education and led to bookstores, libraries and newspapers.
If you think about it, we’ve done quite a bit.
And, yes, I am going to say “we” because in this case I would like to be grouped with the most amazing achievements in the world.
We’ve travelled to the moon, created electronic devices, domesticated fire, mastered flight, created writing, photography … the list could go on forever.
But I guess my point is, running a half-marathon isn’t that impossible – even for me – in the grand scheme of things.
It won’t change the world when I cross that finish line, it won’t even change me.
But it will, I am sure, make me smile.
I might be on the ground suffering from intense heart palpitations, but I will be smiling.
And deep down I’ll know if I decide to run a half marathon again, I can stop running for the final three weeks and still cross the finish line – albeit a big, hot mess.
When I really think about it, that is what scares me the most.