AWEgust for AWEtism is a month-long campaign run by the I CAN Network which raises funds to support peer to peer mentoring in high schools. It aims to bring out the AWE in AWEtism by encouraging us to take on a personal challenge and move past the self-limiting beliefs that hold us back.
Last year for AWEgust I shaved my head live on camera – leaving behind the dreadlocks that had been my safety blanket for nearly 15 years. This year my new challenge is to run a half-marathon. This is another seemingly ridiculous goal that I never thought I would be able to do…
I may look fit, but running is not something that comes naturally to me at all. In fact, as a kid, lack of ability in this area was one of the reasons I never played football or basketball or soccer. I would get completely puffed in just a few minutes and then be useless for the rest of the game.
I remember being in primary school and thinking that I’d really like to be able to run 1km one day. It seemed like such an impossible distance. Even in high school I remember looking at people doing cross country running and thinking that it takes a special breed of person to run even 1500m, let alone 3k or 5k or more…
Yet, being the determined person that I am, I always pushed myself to keep going. Then one day (in about year 10, so 15 y.o.), I entered the 1500m at a school sports day. I was so proud of myself (not to mention extremely surprised!!) when I actually finished!!
My next big step was about 10 years ago when I decided to join some friends of mine in a fun run around Jells Park. I trained quite a bit in the weeks leading up to it and I was very pleased to finish 5kms in slightly less time than some of my faster friends finished 10k. By the end I was completely spent. My legs were like jelly and I could barely walk the rest of the day… Still, I was very happy to make it the whole way without stopping.
Since then 5k has more or less been my upper limit. For me, ‘going for a run’ typically means doing about 3-4kms or about 20-25mins. I’d have to be feeling particularly energetic to push myself beyond that.
So, that’s the back story. This AWEgust I have signed up to do the Melbourne Marathon. More specifically, I will run the half-marathon – 21kms – on the 16th of October 2016. This is roughly 4 times further than I can comfortably run at the moment. In my excitement to achieve I originally wanted to sign myself up to the full marathon (42kms) but eventually common sense kicked in and I thought let’s get the half-marathon under my belt first.
So that’s my goal but how do I plan to get there? Well I’ve actually had this idea in mind for a while so I’ve already been training off and on most of this year. So with a just 12 weeks to go I’m happy to report that my new personal best is 9.5kms (or three laps of Princes Park). It’s important to celebrate milestones along the way both to keep me motivated (believing I can actually do this), and also to make sure I’m on track to get to 21k by October. With this in mind I’ve also signed up to run the Sydney City2surf which is 14kms in 3 weeks time. I figure that will be a good intermediate goal to make sure I’m on track for October.
Right now, 21k feels like such an impossibly long way off… My body really didn’t like 9.5k and so I’m legitimately scared of injuring myself (which seems to happen more and more these days). Nothing makes me feel ‘old’ like injuring myself by doing something as unremarkable as a few minutes of running.
So that’s the story behind my AWEgust challenge for 2016.
Wish me luck!! Thankyou in advance for all the support and encouragement!
I can’t imagine how I would have gotten through my challenge last year without all the people who helped keep me on track. I’m still so grateful for that too!
To support me, see what challenges other people are doing, or to take on a challenge of your own check out https://www.awegustforawetism.com
Or my personal fundraising page here: https://www.awegustforawetism.com/paulmicallef