You know how some athletic/sports themed stories are usually really inspiring ? Like Chariots of Fire or Bend it like Beckham – tales of underdogs, who through hard work, keen natural talent and an ability to fight against all odds achieve great athletic success? I’ll be forward, this is not one of those stories … This is a warning, a humbling parable highlighting the importance of proper preparation.
On May 4th I participated in QUT’s annual fun run event the ‘QUT Classic‘. I thought it was pretty cool that a portion of all proceeds raised from the event would be going to the Learning Potential Fund and the White Cloud Foundation, and having missed out on the QUT Classic in 2013 due to work commitments I was really keen to be running this year. The QUT Classic offers three distance events, catering towards all fitness levels – 1km, 5km, and 10km. It should be expressly known that I had the option of running the shorter distances, but being a stubborn individual I thought; ‘well now, if I’m going to do this, I may as well go for the very hardest option available‘ and thus registered for the 10 km event.
I was not however fazed by the daunting task that lay ahead of me. Having spent the bulk of this year in intense training for the Gold Coast Half Marathon, 10km at an easy ‘fun run’ pace was sounding pretty cruisy. With an iPod full of prime running tunes ( 2000’s ‘So Fresh’ tracks and LOTR movie scores) there was no reason for this to be a difficult experience. So confident was I in my athletic prowess that when a friend asked if I wanted to ‘hit the town’ the night before the big event, well who was I to be a reasonable human being and refuse ?
The following morning I arrived at Gardens Point having abdicated all proper race preparation, yet at this point still feeling naïvely confident in my athletic abilities and looking pretty fly in my new QUT Classic shirt.
After watching the 1km event, I joined the 5-10km runners, fighting against the ‘it is literally painful to breathe ATM’ cold through a group warm-up as glamorously depicted in this video.
For the most part, I had a great time running the 10km event. It is a truly awesome feeling to chaotically run through Gardens Point Campus/Southbank in a huge crowd of strangers, pretending that your doing the Spanish Running of the Bulls or that you are a terrified civilian fleeing for your life in the battle scene of a superhero/disaster movie.This year the QUT Classic acted in conjunction with the Classic Buskers Festival (presented by the QUT Music Society). I have participated in many a fun run in my short life, but never one where jugglers, musicians and singers were performing every 500m or so en route.
I was actually having a really fun time on this running adventure. Such a fun time, that my body only realised at the 8km mark that something was not quite right. It started as a little voice creepily whispering in the back of my mind saying – ‘ Laura…why did you go out last night? We need things like adequate sleep, hydration, healthy food and rest before attempting an exhaustive physical activity. You’re going to dieeeeeeeee.’ It may be an understatement to say that those final 2km almost destroyed me. It would have been a fitting, almost poetic exit to this world. Laura Sammon – death by drowning in a pool of her own sweat on the Botanic Gardens bike path, with Britney Spear’s ‘Toxic’ blasting from her headphones and a busker juggling over her wasted form.
But alas, with the end so close I knew I could not give up at this point…
I could not fail now…
No – I had to finish this race !
I had to survive !
I had to write this blog post as a warning to innocents about the importance of race preparation !
So with a renewed determination I dragged my protesting body through the rest of that race, steadfastly determined to complete my athletic conquest with some scrap of physical dignity. With my body failing me in almost every way, I resorted into some kind of sadistic blackmail situation between my brain and my body best represented as this –
Brain: pssst … Body, if you can just make it to that next tree I PROMISE you can walk.
Body: Golly ! Well Whatever you say Brain. *Somehow struggles along to next tree.
Brain: Pssssssyyyych ! No stopping now ! But srsly, if you can make it to that sign in 400M then by my honour I will allow you to start walking.
Body: asfsklhgsdkdnfkja !
And that is how I successfully finished a 10km race in 50 minutes despite abdicating all crucial race preparation and encountering almost death.
Congratulations to all of you who ran/ walked/skipped in the QUT Classic this year – you are all super athletes. Also massive thankyou must go to the Classic organisers and volunteers for all their hard work and dedication to put together such a successful event. I’ll certainly be running again next year, but hopefully with much less exhaustion and deadness.
Side note: (when initially planning this blog post I thought about including a comparative ‘post-run’ selfie for comedic value. Upon review however I decided that no innocent should be subjected to that kind of scarring horror. Instead here is my artistic representation which is sadly, strikingly realistic.)