The mantra

I like to have both a mantra and a song up my sleeve before any race.

When I ran my first marathon – the Gold Coast Marathon (almost a year a go to the day), my mantra was “fresh as a daisy.”

Whenever I thought I was tired, I’d just say it over and over and over to myself and eventually I’d feel good again. Well that was how it worked during my training runs. When it actually got time to test it on the course, it was a slightly different story. I started saying it to myself at about the 32km mark. I’d repeat it a few times and before I knew it, the guy in front of me collapsed with dehydration. Ok, well I was feeling pretty good compared to that guy, so I kept going.

A few kms down the track I started to feel pretty tired again. Then the hero who insisted on running the entire marathon without his shirt and looked more like a body builder than a marathoner and who had insisted on racing me on an off for the last 10km and couldn’t even manage a smile or a hi collapsed with leg cramps. All of a sudden I was feeling good again.

My song for the Gold Coast Marathon was Machine Head’s Desire to Fire. I think I ended up listening to it about five times throughout the course of the race. I fucking love that song (even though I know it was from Machine Head’s sell out era – I don’t care, I fucking love it!).

When I ran GC, I did it to raise money for Beyond Blue. As most of you know by now, I was diagnosed with bipolar in 2010. I was pumped full of mood stabilising meds that made me fat and empty. I told my psychiatrist that I was seven minutes slower at the half marathon on the meds. His response was “either you be happy or you run, you can’t have both.”

I decided then that he was a bit of a dick.

A few months later, I found myself on the trip of a lifetime with my best girlfriends driving around America. I remember seeing the Grand Canyon for the first time at sunset. I knew I should feel excited but the meds meantI felt nothing.

A month later, my boyfriend joined me in America and one day after a 10km run in Indianapolis (having run every day on my two month trip through out the USA) I decided I was going to stop taking my meds. This was not a decision I made lightly or foolishly, but I had my boyfriend’s support (this is probably a good time to thank my wonderful boyfriend who always supports me and gives me the freedom I need to be me and to be happy. Thank you Dearest).

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So back to the story at hand – when I ran GC Marathon, I ran it to celebrate that decision – the courage to find an alternative way to treat my mental illness.

I also ran it for my mum, who has suffered chronic depression for much of her adult life.

So I raised money for Beyond Blue because as an organisation, they had always supported me and my family. So many people got behind the cause. I asked everyone who donated to nominate a song that I would put on my playlist and listen to while I ran.

At 36km just when I was thinking “Where the hell is the friggin finish line???” James Brown came on “Get up…Get on up! GET UP! get on up! Sex Machine…”

crazy tash

I started laughing and dancing and most importantly, kept running.

That song came from my good friend Amy who was a huge support in raising much needed funds and abolishing the stigma of mental illness.

Now, a year later, as I prepare to run 250km across the Simpson Desert, Amy is still in my corner. This time we are raising money to find a cure for type 1 diabetes.

This woman is amazing. She pretty much single handedly organised the Adelaide Fundraiser Gig that brought together music, art, vegan food and the music family that is Adelaide. That night we raised around $1500. It was also the inspiration I needed to keep going with the other fundraising activities.

So yes, Amy is amazing, but I also have to thank the other members of our music family. Special thanks to my dear friend Scarlett Cook who has donated both her music and her money to this cause.

Lara Soulio was my Melbourne saviour. She played, mixed and promoted the Melbourne fundraiser gig and without her help, I would have given up on that one.

All the bands who played both the Adelaide and Melbourne shows – the Profiteers, Costanza, the Villainettes, Woe, Athletic Teenage Joggers, She’s the Band, Drinking With Dogs Around, Sarah Eida, Scarlett Cook, Strangers in Town, onion, Skyscraper Stan, Wiley Red Fox, I Confess and an extra special thank you to Sedulous Rouse.

Thank you also to all the artists who donated pieces for the art auctions and all the vegan cooks – especially Georgie Cosson and Tanya Schneyder.

Sam Watt – thank you for all your help with the Adelaide gig too. Awesome idea turning protein containers into fundraising jars! šŸ™‚

A huge thank you must also go out to my band Shut up and Choke Me who have also donated their time, their music and their money – and also put up with a part time singer for the last six months with no complaints.

While I’m on the topic of thank yous, I also want to say a special thank you to Trip Chester and James Ward. Trip – you shared your story with me early in the day and there hasn’t been a tough training run where I haven’t thought of your daughter. James – you have been supportive from day one with all of this.

Thank you to everyone who has donated. At the end of the day, all of this means nothing if we don’t raise the money needed to find a cure for type 1 diabetes so your donation is really what makes the difference here – thank you (You can find the fundraising page at https://bigredrun.everydayhero.com/au/TashyTuffNut)

So back to the task at hand, which is running 250km across the Simpson Desert.

My mantra for this one was going to be “run your own race,” but while I was out running along the Little Para River in Salisbury the other day, I had a flash back to my dad running partly along the same trail. He ran that trail all the time, but the memory that came to me was a 43degree day. I was walking our dog with mum – I must have been 10, maybe 11. Dad came out of nowhere, beetroot faced. We laughed and mum said “hot enough for you?” He may have been hot, but the smile on his face said it all.

18 years later, Dad mapped out the exact course he had ran that day for me so I could go on “a nice little jog.” He didn’t wear a garmin, so he had no clue how far he ran back in the day – just long enough to get some peace from us kids I guess. Anyway, that “nice little jog” was 35km.

So when the going gets tough on the Big Red Run, my mantra will be “I am my father’s child” and I will be singing Fleetwood Mac “You can go your own way…” because I am afterall, my mother’s daughter too.

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About tashytuffnut

ultramarathon runner, desert runner, trail runner, musician, vegetarian, tattoos, lawyer.

One response to “The mantra”

  1. Deidre weller says :

    You are an inspiration to all of us Natasha ,you take care out there in the desert, and stay away from the dingoes love you very much xxxxxxxxxxx

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