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Mini-Mos 2014

Yesterday was the day where I ran in my first running race since 1983 (apart from the Mother’s Race at Alfie’s Athletics Carnival a few years ago).

Freezing cold and waiting for the sun to rise and the race to begin

Freezing cold and waiting for the sun to rise and the race to begin

As most of you are aware, I tried to prepare for the race by buying new shoes, purchasing orthotics and joining a jogging group.  From the outset things didn’t go well as the orthotics gave me blisters and then curiously and seemingly from no where, pain developed in my knees.  I have no idea why.  I asked a massage therapist, an elite runner, a physiotherapist and the jogging coach if there was anything I could do to recover from the knee pain.

Yep - we're cold

Yep – we’re cold

Most of them told me to try stretching before jogging and while I did try that, the knee pain only became worse.  For the 10 days leading up to the race it was so bad I was unable to continue with any training.  I hoped the period of rest would bring healing but it didn’t.  A few days before the race I went to see a Bowen Therapist and he spent an hour working on my knees and over the next few days there was some improvement.  The day before the race I went to see him and he taped my knees.

Pre-start nerves

Pre-race nerves

After my knees were taped he said, ‘Tomorrow when you’re running, if you’re in pain, just pull out of the race’. I looked at him like he was mad.  I said, ‘I had to pull out of this race last year; I’m not pulling out this year’. And he said, ‘Better to pull out than cripple yourself’. Not necessarily.

Off we go

Off we go and Alfie’s already way out in front of me

I asked Carl if he could come along and take photos.  He said, ‘Really?  Running is so boring to watch; I’d rather go and watch Arabella row’.  Because Arabella was in a rowing regatta at the same time.  Besides the fact he did say he would come and be supportive, he was in the sin-bin.

Alfie's close to the front of the pack

Alfie’s on the left of the photo and close to the front of the pack at the first bend

I have a condition where the night before any early start I don’t sleep well.  I’m so paranoid my three alarms will fail to go off that I’m wide awake most of the night.  On the day of the race I woke at 3am and couldn’t get back to sleep.  I rose at 5am and watched the sunrise.  Bonus!

I'm in the middle of the pack at the first bend

That’s me in the lilac in the middle of the photo

My knees were sore but not too bad.  Alfie and I walked to the starting line at 6.15am.  It was a very cold morning and waiting around for the race to start in the 10C (50F) air in the dark was horrid and I seriously wondered why I had decided to run in this 10km event.  Then I remembered – it was because I wanted to do something with my little guy.

Crossing the finish line

Crossing the finish line

Except we wouldn’t be doing it together.  We stood side-by-side at the starting line but that’s where the togetherness ended.  I said to Alfie, ‘At no point worry about me.  Go ahead and run your own race.  Don’t wait for me; and see if you can beat last year’s time’.



As soon as the hooter went off I lost sight of Alfie.  He took off while I took a few hesitant steps and realised my knees were in a very bad way and probably worse because they were now stiff from the cold.  One by one the 1400 other runners shot past me.  I was running guardedly and very slowly.

He's taken 8 minutes off last-year's time

A race well run

At the 3km mark when I was limping past my own residence I thought about pulling out and going through the gate of home-sweet-home.  Except I remembered I didn’t have a key to get through the front door.

Alfie and the great Herb Elliott

Alfie and the great Herb Elliott

But around the next corner I saw a friend cheering from the sidelines and she said, ‘Keep going Charlie; you’re doing really well but Alfie is doing extremely well; he’s way ahead of you’.  I was pleased to hear my little guy was still going strong.

Limping to the finish line

Limping to the finish line

There were lots of downhill slopes in the race and these were really bad for my knees.  I ended up running down them sideways like a crab.  Every time I was running downhill, so many other runners flew past me.  I worried I would end up being the last runner across the finish line.

Made it!

Made it!

At the 8km mark I’d had enough.  I wanted to pull out but there were so many supporters lining the streets yelling out things like, ‘Not far to go’, and, ‘You’re nearly there’, and, ‘Well done’, that I felt I just had to keep going.



I tried to keep going as best I could and wanted to burst towards the finish line but my knees wouldn’t let me.  My goal was to finish in less than an hour.  My finish time was 01:01:39.  Unbelievable.  Where did I lose that 1.39?  So annoying.  I ended up coming 229th out of all the 750 or so female runners and 82nd in my age division.  I think there’s room for some improvement.  Carl came up to me with his latte and egg and bacon roll and observantly said, ‘You look like you’re in a lot of pain’.  You reckon?

Being interviewed where I told her I hadn't run in a race since 1983

Being interviewed where I told her I hadn’t run in a race since 1983

Then I saw Alfie looking all composed and completely at ease like he hadn’t even run.  Well, he’d had a lot of rest waiting for his mother to cross the finish line.  Last year Alfie ran in 55 minutes.  This year his time was 00:48:26.  Un-bloody-believable.  Amongst the males he came 147th out of around 750 and was 10th in his age division of Under 20.  He was also the first child across the finish line.  For a chap I’ve always considered non-competitive, I was amazed.

I'm sure there's a better photo of me but never mind, I'm with Herb!

I’m sure there’s a better photo of me but never mind, I’m with Herb!

All children completing the race received a medal from one of Australia’s greatest ever runners, Herb Elliott.  He presented Alfie with his medal which was such an honour and a thrill.

The start of the 5km race

The start of the 5km race

But it wasn’t over for Alfie.  He had signed up to also run in the 5km race and then the 2km race.  I have no idea how he did it but he did.  As best I could I was on the sidelines to cheer him on.  As he was the only child to run in all three events he was interviewed by the MC who asked him if he’d like to become a marathon runner and he said he would!

Off they go

Off they go – he’s now wearing the orange t-shirt

Alfie must have given it his all because for the first time ever in his life, last night he said to me, ‘I’m ready to go to bed now’.  And he was out like a light.

Running to the finish line

Running to the finish line – Alfie’s in the orange t-shirt

As for me, I just ache all over.  I’m off to see a specialist about whether it’s the orthotics that have caused all the knee complaints.

Crossing the finish line

Crossing the finish line

My Alfie has said he’s signing up for all three events again next year and I’m determined I’ll be back – I’ve got to take 1:39 off my time and do a sub-60.  Who’s with me?

Getting treated by physios after two of his races

Getting treated by physios after two of his races

Getting a few issues sorted

Getting a few issues sorted

So good to lie down

So good to lie down

The Mini-Mos Fun Run and Fair is Sydney’s premier community event, promoting health, fitness & fun to runners of all ages. Featuring 10km, 5km and 2km races through Mosman’s beautiful, hilly streets, Mini-Mos provides options for everybody.  Mini-Mos raises money for Autism Spectrum Australia and the Unicorn Foundation.

The start of the 2km race

The start of the 2km race

Almost at the finish line

Alfie’s running in his sweatshirt because he became so cold in the marshalling area

All three races now completed

All three races now completed

A friend lent me her ski jacket because it was so cold

A friend lent me her ski jacket because it was so cold and Alfie has three medals!

Just loving the car

Just loving the police car – it’s a Porsche

Behind the wheel of a Porsche police car

Behind the wheel of a Porsche police car

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  1. Congratulations to both of you, Charlie.

    I’m amazed that you stuck through it in spite of all the pain and discomfort. I hope you do make it next year and cut that annoying 1:39 min off your time. Alfie seems to have found a passion for racing as continuing on in a further 2 races after the 10 km fun run can’t have been easy even for a little guy with all his energy.

  2. Well done Alfie and Charlie. Three races is great.
    I have that staying awake condition too. What a pain in the ass.

  3. My goodness I think Alfie is going to be a future running star-actually he is one already! And you’re being way too hard on yourself you did very well Charlie!

  4. Well done to both of you!!!! I’m not sure I would survive. Love your Lulu! I’m so glad they have shops here. I have a growing collection!

  5. Oh he’s so cute!! I think you are nuts to run on dodgy knees. I’m also incredibly impressed that you didn’t give up.

    Uncompetitive Alfie sure hoodwinked you! You must be so proud of him.

  6. OMG i am so so so happy for Alfie he’s a super runner and I can’t believe he’s 10th in his age division!

    And i’m also so proud of you! Even though you may not be happy but running with sore knees and only 1:39 mins slower than you wanted that is FREAKING amazing! Congrats! xx

  7. CONGRATS to Alfie – Wow – that boy is phenomenal! And CONGRATS to you too Charlie – running with an injury is no easy task!

  8. Nice work, Charlie! So proud of you! Way to stick with it!! 🙂

  9. Congratulations to you both! What a great job you did!

  10. You two are AMAZING!!! I feel so proud of you both and rather teary thinking of the people who unknowingly cheered you on when you were ready to give up. XO

  11. heroic effort charlie – congratulations on finishing – that seems a huge achievement to me as I was never a runner – and well done Alfie – I really honed in on seeing that he wanted to go straight to bed and fell asleep – makes it tempting to sign up sylvia to a long run 🙂 Hope your knees are improving – my dad has a really dodgy knee and he has found swimming really helps him but I hope yours isn’t as bad as his.

  12. Good on you for not quitting Charlie but I think you’re quite mad for running if your knees were that sore!! 1:01:39 is a great time you should be very proud. As for Alfie – I bet he’ll be running a half marathon before you know it 🙂

  13. Go Alfie you little champion! Charlie I’m so impressed you finished it. What a woman you are. I hope the recovery is speedy and they fix you up.

  14. What an amazing awesome son you have there, and well done you on completing the run, hope there is no permeant damage on the knee’s, at least you have 1 year now to get the knee’s sorted ;).

  15. Well done Alfie! So sorry to hear about your knees. I hope someone can tell you what is causing the pain and that you get it sorted out 🙂

  16. WOW! well done Alfie! 🙂 and well done Charlie! I can’t believe you are going to put yourself through that again, but great job!! Liz x

  17. Eva Taylor says:

    Congratulations Charlie! What an accomplishment and I’m certain shaving off the minute and a half will be easy! I’m not much of a runner, prefer to walk briskly but I can certainly see why people like it so much.
    My brother’s MIL had a drawer if shame for badly behaved family members; sadly I think his photo never saw the light of day!

  18. Oh my goodness, Charlie. I can’t believe you put yourself through that. Congratulations. I hope your poor knees recover. You obviously have a lot of grit to keep going and fight through the pain. And well done, Alfie! Quite a little athlete you’re raising.

  19. Congratulations Charlie, and especially to Alfie! What a great job running. I feel your pain, knee pain is something very familiar to me so I know what you’re going through. Take it easy and let them heal. Fantastic job, both of you. xx

  20. This is a fun run! Congratulations, Charlie! You did it again!

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  21. Congratulations Charlie!! I am so glad you made it, even though it sounds like the conditions (namely, your knees) were far from optimal. And that is a very respectable time indeed! I’m really impressed, especially as you hadn’t run 10km at all. Alfie’s race was outstanding. You should both be really proud of yourselves 🙂

  22. Congratulations to both of you!!! What an accomplishment. I’m blown away by Alfie’s speed. He has a true talent. No doubt he’ll be running a marathon before he’s 21. Amazing. I hope your knees recover quickly. They do take such a beating from running.

  23. You did really well Charlie. Well done for finishing, I’m not sure I would have done in the same circumstances. Alfie was amazing a real champ. Great to be swinging those three medals. GG

  24. Congrats to Alfie!…he’s definitely going places with running, I’m sure of it. I’m sorry to hear about your knees and I hope they’re healing up 🙁

  25. Oh man, Alfie is such a champ!! And so are you. You did great!!

  26. Good for you Charlie- you finished it! I would be excited just to manage half way 🙂 Alfie must have been exhausted indeed, he certainly doesn’t look like he has the calories to spare. Me, you would expect to be able to fuel a decathlon! 🙂 xox

  27. Congratulations to both you and Alfie!!! So glad you were able to finish the race in spite of the pain. You go girl! Alfie sounds like he’s hooked! That happened to my nephew who started running about Alfie’s age and became a cross country runner in high school and carried it on through college. Good luck to you and Alfie on future running endeavors! What a fun post!

  28. Well Done, Guys!
    You are both an inspiration for all of us NON-runners.
    Also, you are beautiful, Charlie. xx

  29. Congratulations!! I admire you for pushing through the pain – I would have gone home, key or no key. Archie looks so happy – good on him. PS Had to put Captcha back on because of spammers – here’s hoping the issue is gone.

  30. go alfie!!! and congrats on finishing even though you mustve been in so much pain!

  31. Charlie, you are my hero. What an achievement. Congrats on finishing the race and in my opinion, a great result too. Love that you had a massage to sort out the issues, looked like a really fab day. PS: Alfie is a little ledge. Love his enthusiasm and kind spirit.

  32. What a fantastic effort by both, you and Alfie are my exercise heroes! 😀
    Pushing the pain must have been so difficult!

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  33. Thank you so much for this inspiring story! My kids and I need to do something together for fun. I see similarities in you two! Great job!!

  34. Congrats to you and Alfie! But what a pain (literally!) to run with knees giving you trouble. Decades ago I used to run, but could never get past 25 miles a week because my knees gave me so much trouble. I eventually went to a sports specialist, and discovered one of my legs was quite a bit longer than the other (relatively speaking — it only takes a half inch or so difference to mess things up). I switched to cycling. 😉 Anyway, hope you discover what’s causing your troubles.

  35. You are a trooper for sticking with that race. It sounded like a miserable experience. Glad you little guy had fun thougb!

  36. Well, you are the staunchest mum ever, but I’m concerned about the damage you might be doing to your body. Your Alfie is amazing, and you must be so proud of him.

  37. Congratulations Charlie and a great read. He’s a little ,marathon man!

  38. Great job, both of you!

  39. Love it! you are such an inspiration. I am so wanting to be you right now.

  40. Wow! What a star Alfie is – 3 races! Brilliant! I wonder if he would ever come and run The Comrades Marathon when he is old enough?
    Charlie, you are brilliant and a far better runner than I am – I doubt I could do 10km sub 60. It is now my next challenge. My 5km is still over 30 minutes so I have lots of work ahead of me. Can’t use the excuse of being a new runner any more. 😉
    I hope you get your knees sorted soon.
    Have a super day.
    😉 Mandy xo

  41. Way to go Charlie! That is pure determination! How exciting that you finished it right? 🙂 Alfie did awesome, he sounds like he is a natural when it comes to running! Time to relax now, Hugs, Terra

  42. Wow, congrats to Alfie and sounds like you do have a true runner on your hands. And congrats to you, too, Charlie, though I don’t know how you pushed through that pain. You’re family is so athletic…bravo!

  43. I know I told you I’m a bit behind, but I just had to at least read this today (I’m still at work, don’t tell anyone.) I’m SO thrilled for Alfie. What a marvelous accomplishment, and it really does seem that he’s very well suited for long-distance running. He looks so proud of himself and happy! And I’m very concerned for you. I admire your dedication, but hope you get all the best treatment for those painful knees! You’re still so young. You need your knees. LOL! Loved reading this, Charlie! I love the little family photo the best. ox

  44. Congrats to you both! Alfie ran 3 races,…woehoe! You, dear Charlie, a big congrats too!

    Well done the both of you! xxx


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