A marathon is HUGE! So when Kelly Therkelsen set her sights on the Melbourne Marathon, she knew she was in for a big journey…
I joined Beauty of Exercise back in April 2015 (after seeing them in force at the Sun Run in Feb). The BEXI group had just started training for the Gold Coast Half-Marathon, which I soon committed to. Training for me was up and down – a combination of work pressures, bad eating and illness. My race was disappointing (2:06), but that was enough to spur me on! I knew I had it in me to do better, so I committed to training for a full marathon and decided to make drastic improvements to my self-discipline.
Family and friends rallied around me to support me with the kids, I ditched the processed foods and started making all my own healthy meals (thanks to the help of a thermo!)
Training went well and I followed my training plan religiously. Throughout the 12 week program, I only missed 1 x running session and 1 x strength training session.
The weeks progressed fast and soon it was race day! I woke up just before my alarm at 4.30am, followed my normal breakfast routine and was then picked up by a driver. (I was paranoid about missing the race or turning up stressed.)
The intensity of it all was overwhelming. I had a little moment of being sick and had a little cry. This helped ease the pressure and make me feel much better. By the time I got to the start line I felt unusually relaxed, I just kept telling myself that I just had to run at a 6:00min pace – easy!
At 16km I finally found my groove and noticed the groups had spread out and people started chatting amongst themselves. I was pretty happy. Around 32km I noticed a lot of people slowing down and walking – that made me feel even stronger. I thought maybe the wall had eluded me.
My plan was to pick up the pace at 40km and cruise into the MCG. But the race had other ideas! The last 2km really put me to the test. Every step hurt. I could not wait to finish and just lie down on the ground.
When we rounded into the MCG, I tried to kick in and sprint, but had nothing in the tank! I heard my brother-in-law cheering for me with 100m to go – somehow (not sure how?!), I managed to pick up the pace and sprint to the finish with a pace of 4.07. I crossed the finished line, Inger grabbed me and I held onto her for dear life. I was so happy to see her!
I am really happy with what I achieved on the day. I could not have given any more or done any more preparation for it. I can honestly say that throughout the hardest moments I kept true to my mantra of ‘if you’re not going to die, you have enough to keep running, just keep moving forward’. I gave every ounce of myself to sprint across the finish line. I finished knowing utter and complete physical exhaustion and I loved it!
I am now itching to get back to improve my time. My new life mantra (which I picked up from all my book reading) is: ‘What can I do today to improve on yesterday?’, and to take every opportunity you can to achieve your goals because you never know if you’ll get another.
After speaking to my husband and Debbie about my experience, I have likened this whole process to going through labour and giving birth. I love feeling the extremes in life, it really makes you feel alive. Although it pains me to say this, but I would put my marathon experience on par with the mental stamina you need to get through labour and the pure joy you have when you cross the line. My husband said to me on Monday night when I got home ‘it’s like you have had an awakening and discovered the meaning of life’. I know it sounds cheesy, but in a way I feel like I have.
Huge congratulations to Kelly on an absolutely awesome marathon. It was close to text book perfect! You’re an inspiration to all of us.