Melissa Burton’s 1/2 Marathon Speech
Thank you to my family, and Tanisha from Busyslim, you have allowed me to find myself again.
A little over 7 months ago I found myself sitting in a meeting just like this one.
Tanisha was discussing a number of up and coming events that Busyslim Members might like to consider taking on as part of our journeys.
She started to discuss her journey with the Gold Coast half Marathon, and as she spoke about her journey and how she grew from the experience and went on to conquer her 2nd marathon; I could feel my insides churning. I would love to complete such a task, actually completing any task would be great for me, but I could never do that, run a half marathon. I couldn’t even run 400 mtrs… ( I didn’t actually know what the distance was at this time, but anything over 400mtrs to me was huge).
The next thing I remember is Tanisha saying that she was forming a “Busyslim” team for the 2016 ½ Marathon and she was saying that if we were interested to let her know….
Out of nowhere I heard this voice, which sounded very similar to my own say “I’ll do it”, I sort of looked around to see where the voice came from. Then I realised it was my voice. It had spoken for me. I think I went into shock at that point.
I had no idea what lay before me, I had so many questions, but I had committed myself and I was in 100 %.
I came home and told my husband and son, they looked at me like I had lost my mind. They said “really, are you sure”, I replied confidently “yep I am”, they asked how far it was and I remember saying , I think its about 10 klm……. Was I wrong? It took a while for me to realise it was actually 21 klm. But after the shock I thought oh well, it’s all or nothing.
I started to visualise myself finishing the ½ marathon, running under the finished banner, just how Tanisha had taught us to in Busyslim.
I remember my first run around my block, I had clocked it out in the car and it was 1 klm.
I ran one lap for a week, than two laps, then three laps, and up the laps climbed.
I remember my first 3 klm run at the Camden bike track, I was struggling, my husband was supporting me and I sent him up ahead to stand at the 3 klm mark so I knew just how far I had to go. It near killed me but I refused to give up until I got there.
It became a part of my week, I would run 1-2 times Monday – Friday and on Sunday my Husband and I would go to the biketrack in Camden, or to wolloongong Noth Beach and run.
Everytime I ran I begrudged the first 2 klms of every run, I would be saying in my mind, why are you doing this, you hate running, you can’t run 21 klms, your crazy, you can give up its ok… but I didn’t give up and after those first 2 klms my mind set changed, that pesky negative voice gave up, and I found my rhythm and carried on.
It wasn’t t always smooth sailing, when I heard the news Tanisha want going to be able to complete, I near fell apart, that negative voice came out in full force, it was saying , see, you can stop now, you have nothing to prove to anyone, but still I didn’t give up. I dug deeper and found that inner strength to push myself and with the undying support of my two beautiful Men, My Husband Robbie and my Son Logan I carried on.
I had blisters the size of two fifty cent pieces on my feet, Couldn’t clear them up, even with new shoes, and innersoles, but I persevered.
I had period pain, mental health issues, family issues, body aches, but I still pushed myself.
My first real trial came in May, 2016, I decided to run in the 10 klm Rotary fun run, I hadn’t run further than 8 klm on a road base and that was only once. This was a 10 klm cross country race.
I started with enthusiasm and finished the first five klms in a PB of 43 mins, but I felt I went down hill from there.
I continued to run but as I was in the back (*way back) end of the runners, the Rotary group began to pack up EVERYTHING, they closed the water, they moved the track markers and I found myself in a paddock wondering which way to go, I had to stop and ask people where am I supposed to be going, My confidence was shot. I was on the verge of tears and any positive thoughts of finishing the ½ Marathon were crushed. I eventually finished the run, in a time of 120 mins. I just broke down. As I approached the finish line a fellow Busyslimmer, Jodie, ran up to me and she ran with me till I crossed the finish line.
I ran straight into the arms of Tanisha and just broke down. She was teary and kept telling me how proud she was of me. My wonderfully supportive Husband and running partner, Robbie was next to greet me, telling me how proud he was of me…. But I didn’t feel proud, I felt let down.
I was in two places emotionally, on one hand I felt I didn’t earn the finish as I felt I hadn’t ran the full 10 klm due to alterations put in place when the rotary took the markers down, but on the other hand I had ran cross country further then I had ever ran in my entire life.
It was really hard for me to deal with.
I had to rebuild my confidence after that run and I did, slowly with the ever present support of my Team, Robbie, Logan and Tanisha.
The ½ Marathon…
When the day came to line up I was numb, The tram ride there was like being in a tin of Sardines.. We were squashed. After a private toilet visit with thousands of others we were ready…. I found my allocated area. “D” Way down the back. The gun sounded, but we really didn’t move… we started with a slow walk and then we developed into a fast walk, a slow jog and a bit quicker jog and we started to thinning out. I started with my usual shuffle going to the beat of my music, but a headache set in and the so the earphones came off, I tried to use my water bottle from my new “you beaut” belt and it was up around my boobs instead of around my hips, but I was guaranteed when I bought it that it wouldn’t move at all….. Yah right.
I hit every water stop along the way and wished there were more, I kept seeing people overtaking me and that negative voice would find its way in and say “see you can’t do this, everyone is overtaking you”.. but I blocked it out, I had my mind set, I realised I may not make the cut off time of 3 hrs and 20 mins but I would finish the 21 klms.
I had blisters that were burning and bleeding and my legs were on remote control, and I wasn’t controlling them.
I tried a “energy hit” with a gel but that didn’t agree with my stomach Damn, should have made time to try it out beforehand…..
The support of the other runners, and people on the streets was wonderful, they could read the name on my bib and they would yell” come on Melissa, you got this” “ Great work Melissa, your doing great”, I couldn’t believe it , they were complete strangers but at that moment they were like my family and friends, my own personal cheer squad.
I saw the sign that read “250 metres”, I knew I had it, I was so excited, I think my pace even increased a little and then a guy on a pushbike came up to me and said “ever so politely”, we will need you to move over to the footpath, you have missed the cut off time and we will have the elite athletes coming through any minute now for the full marathon,,,, my mind swirled back to that awful 1o cross country run…. I had failed again….
But I hadn’t failed…I had ran bloody 21 klm in what ended up being a time of 3 hours 30 mins. That was sensational for me.
I was proud of myself, and that is a new experience for me..
I have vowed to return in 2017 and I am on a mission… I will beat the cut off time and that Guy on the pushbike won’t catch me next time.
To this day I do not know what on earth possessed me to commit myself to such a daunting task. But I did and once I had committed myself there was no turning back. Far too many times in my life I have started things with the best of intentions and all too soon they fall to the wayside.
Not This time.
Thank you to my family, and Tanisha of Busyslim, you have allowed me to find myself again.