Fresh off her female Team Tempo Journal (record breaking) relay win during The Speed Project in Las Vegas, Nevada, Michaela reflects on her incredible running career thus far and how this is only the beginning..
Words: Michaela McDonald
Images: Marty Rowney
"My personality doesn’t like imperfections, in fact I’ve been called a perfectionist more times than I care to recognise. But the beauty in running and its many imperfections allow for the perfect moments to feel all the more golden.
Recently I got injured for the first time in about 18 months and although it was nothing serious, it was in the lead up to my first road marathon. My streak of perfect training weeks had come to an end. Instead, I was running (very easily) every second day and swimming every alternate day. When I decided upon running a road marathon, I had obsessed over how running a certain time would cement me as being an athlete worth their weight. But I’ve since realised that my motivation for getting up every morning goes beyond what others (and myself to an extent) think about my running. It’s my outlet and ultimately the thing that makes me who I am.
I started running in primary school and ran semi-successfully through to high school. Once I’d finished school, running fell away from my life and I became fixated on working late nights in a busy law firm, my studies and spending weekends drinking to a point where I wasn’t remembering them.
My anxiety and depression that I’ve suffered from for as long as I can remember became overwhelming and after an attempt on my own life I decided that I couldn’t allow my life to continue as it was. During this period, I met Tim.
Tim was training for, as it was known then, The North Face 50km in the Blue Mountains (as well as an Ironman but that was his first and last). My mind was blown that people could traverse these distances by foot through the mountains. I started to tag along with Tim and his friends on their training runs and was always surprised by how far we had run at the end. I was instantly hooked. I quickly signed up for my first 50km race, quickly followed by my first 100km race then followed by my first 100 mile race.
Go to an ultra marathon finish line if you want to see humanity at its rawest. The running community is as special as it is unique. Being exposed to this community has allowed me to be involved in some incredible opportunities.
Recently I was asked to be apart of the six member, all female Tempo Journal team to participate in The Speed Project. The Speed Project is an unsanctioned race from Santa Monica Pier to Las Vegas. I knew that this team was there to break the female record. I love a challenge but I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t nervous.
I had run and really suffered through the Six Foot Track Marathon 3 weeks before so was unsure how my legs would feel lining up with these five other superstars. We only got the whole team together two nights before we were to start the race but instantly we clicked. That’s the beauty of running. We each have significantly different backgrounds, strengths and weaknesses but we bonded together to create something incredibly special. We broke the record by 7 hours but that wasn’t the real prize. I walked away with friends for life.
Up next, I’ m running my first road marathon at the Gold Coast and aim to hit the sub 3 hour mark. But even if I don’t, I’ll still have a good day with thousands of other people who have found the therapeutic beauty of running. I then plan to get back to some long trail events. First up will be the Surf Coast Century and then hopefully Tarawera.
I don’t know where I’d be without running, so I won’t be stopping anytime soon."
You can follow Michaela on Instagram HERE