Forgive me for bringing the sport of cycling into this but my most recent inspiration came from watching Hell of the North, which follows the Paris-Roubaix one day classic from the eyes of 2007 winner Stuart O’Grady. With cobblestones, sharp corners, rain, mud, snow and sometimes scorching heat, the race is the ultimate battle of attrition. And the winner is not the athlete who has it all come together on race day, but rather the one who pieces their race back together as it falls apart. I guess I like the idea that no obstacle is too great to overcome and you can always turn your luck around.
Admittedly, it’s a sentiment I am trying to hold on to at the moment. 2013 is a year I will not be sorry to leave behind as far as running is concerned. It seemed destined to go wrong from the get-go, with a hip injury sustained on New Year’s Day up at Falls Creek. Ever since, it feels as if I haven’t found my groove again. Nevertheless, I am still a sad addict to the sport and I hope the time has come to turn my luck around!
But like a pair double-colour racing spikes, there has been a flip side to my somewhat average year. While I was devastated to miss a few favourite meets on the calendar such as National Cross, Chiba Ekiden and State 3km, it allowed me to explore some local and regional fun runs such as Run Newcastle, Armidale 10km and Tamworth Half Marathon. No doubt I otherwise wouldn’t have had the chance to meet some thoroughly lovely runners and sightsee some gorgeous towns. In desperation, I’ve even been mixing up training with some triathlon sessions, so who knows what events the future has in store?
Another big plus for 2013 has been a chance to celebrate the successes of my talented training partners and it’s ridiculous how much adrenaline you feel without even racing! It’s awesome when you see how hard athletes work in training day in, day out and can appreciate what a PB or a race win really means. Next week I am privileged to be a volunteer at the Asia-Pacific Special Olympics in which hundreds of inspirational athletes and their families will converge on the Hunter for 7 days of sport and celebration of ability, rather than disability.
At present I am travelling back to Newcastle after spending a week back home in the Blue Mountains. It has been refreshing to pound out a few laps of Glenbrook oval – all 367m of it – and hit out some 1km reps along the bush track that dad and I roughly measured off our watches over years of sessions. I have to factor in an extra 20mins when I go to the pool to chew the fat with the regulars and God help me if I run through town on a Saturday morning when literally the whole of Glenbrook is out having coffee and picking up groceries! I can’t help but love it!
So give me rain, give me killer hills and thick sand. Let me see the clock ticking away from where the splits should be. If I fall flat on my face, I can still look up and see the road stretching ahead, look back and see a damn lot of kilometres behind me. The most important thing is to dust myself off and keep running. To turn it all around. Pain is temporary but quitting is forever. Memory lasts forever.