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11 ½ weeks without alcohol by Shirley Taylor

Posted by on Jun 8, 2017 in Running | 0 comments

11 ½ weeks without alcohol by Shirley Taylor

11 ½ weeks without alcohol.

I was at one of my first training sessions with Manly Beach Running Club, and we were on our way back from Curl Curl surf club at the base of the Freshwater stairs.

 I was ready to throw up. 

Who would have thought that the 2 (albeit generous) glasses of red wine I had consumed the night before would have this affect on me in the morning. This is way less than my normal consumption.

Anyway, Joe got talking and I believe it could have possibly been a lecture on the effects of drinking the night before and running. Here is what I got told…

Don’t drink the night before you run

Plan ahead so when you think you will be running in the morning don’t drink that night before. Save it for a night when you know you wont be running in the morning.

Alcohol can effect your running

It can slow you down

It can make you feel ill. Ummmm (knew that one)

Pace yourself

Everything in moderation

Well, I’m not a half glass type of person. It’s all or nothing for me.

I was new to the running club and wanted to make a decent go of it, so I thought OKAY if I have to pace myself and only drink on certain nights when I’m not running in the morning I will change my whole routine. I had also been very ill on and off for 8 years and when I was eventually diagnosed and treated with this medication that helped in my gaining about 15kgs, I had vision. The running club was going to sort it all out. 

 I decided to stop drinking altogether (remember all or nothing) and increasing the days I went to the run club from 2 days, to 5-6 days. This only gave me one free night during a 7 day period and I honestly thought what’s the point. The minute I have one drink I’ll be hooked. One or the other, not both.

I started off in hibernation because it appears that I live on Party Street central and our house was the party house. I had to hide from my evil neighbours especially on a Sunday. Good old Sunday sessions. There were text messages flying around everywhere.

Are you ok?

Are you sick?

Are you away?

Are you out?

Well no I was not any of the above, I was just trying to have some will power and hide from you all whilst I was chest deep in my 20th cup of green tea for the day. The first week is the hardest.

I would also get texts from my neighbours saying just opening up a bottle of Verve come over, or Dom. They were relentless. One of my neighbours after about 5 weeks begged me to have a drink as he now has to make conversation with his wife. Jokingly.

There was nowhere to run or hide so it turned out. I had to come up with another option and still be social. My neighbour Jo was over and introduced me to Lime & Soda water. Bingo!!!! I poured this into a wine glass and all the ribbing, teasing and conversation about my not drinking stopped. It was just the knowing nods. Yeah…. I knew she wouldn’t last. Looks like an aged oak chardy.

I confessed eventually and now all those nods are in admiration that I have lasted this long. I went to the wharf bar to meet the other runners the other week and decided to try lemon, lime & bitters. Got the first one in a wine glass that looked like a very special cocktail. Alcohol urge gone. I never once felt that I was pressured into having a drink. It just took that simple solution of switching glass types to be a part of the scene. Mind you I never found the other runners but ran into some old friends and made plenty of new ones.

There are a few key factors as to why I have lasted this long as I certainly didn’t think I could do it but I really enjoy the running club and am out there most mornings. I learnt that if you can hold out until the 3 month mark then that urge for alcohol goes away. I have still definitely experienced that urge but my will power has prevailed. Hopefully there is a magical switch next week that will go “okay you win!” I got talked into doing the Adelaide ½ marathon, so not really interested in drinking and upsetting my routine prior to this event. But of course we have a ski trip planned for July with friends. My idea of skiing is seriously to the next bar. Or lets warm up, in the bar where I can have a beer or Gluhwein. Who cares what the time is. Ohh will power, please don’t fail me!!

Goals are now so important and achievable.

I don’t know what my final aim or ambition with this is but one thing I do know is that I seriously feel fabulous and healthy and don’t want that to change.

I can run further and faster now that I’m almost 50 than in my 20’s. Just goes to show what a bit of advise can do from someone experienced like Joe, especially when you listen and take it on board.

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UTA 100 Race Report by Anna-Lena Werner

Posted by on May 31, 2017 in Running | 0 comments

UTA 100 Race Report by Anna-Lena Werner

UTA 100, what an experience!

Although I am still recovering, I am grateful for the experience and proud to say that I finished. 

The preparation for the event was often challenging and required absolute dedication but I loved every minute of it. The journey is what really made this experience so special, all the long Saturday runs in the mountains with the Manly Beach running club, the 5.00 am weekday starts and endless runs in the rain, the wonderful people I met along the way and their inspiring stories as well as the social sacrifice– I don’t even see this as a sacrifice anymore as it only made me stronger and happier.

I’ll admit that there was a time when I doubted myself and thought I wasn’t going to be able to run. About 6 weeks leading up to the event I was diagnosed with a stress fracture on my lower fibula and was devastated but decided not to give up. The support from Coach Joe from Manly Beach running club and physio Kieran from inBalance Physio was exceptional. After two weeks in a boot, a lot of cross training (not so fun), good nutrition and visits to Kieran as well as support from friends and family helped me in getting ready to feel confident at the start line.  

Coach Joe and I started the race in wave 6 at 6.57 am on Saturday Morning and I seriously couldn’t stop smiling for the first few hours of the race. I broke the run into sections, between each checkpoint and water point. Mentally this is so much easier than one long run. I went down Furber with joy and even the golden stairs were fun with fresh legs. The views along Narrowneck were absolutely breathtaking and the great conversations with Joe just made it feel so much easier. We arrived at CP2 feeling fresh and only quickly pausing for water and also CP3 didn’t seem too far away. I expected the pain to hit me about now but it really only started kicking in after Nellies Glen. We then arrived at CP4 ahead of time at around 3.15pm where we met my support Crew Craig Arnold from Core 9 Fitness – it was so good to see him there.  It is interesting how the little things such as a clean shirt, a hug or a certain kind of food keep you motivated between checkpoints. We didn’t waste much time and headed back out quickly. 

The next section I found so uplifting and the views were remarkable with the sun starting to set. It was a joy to run this part but little did I know the beast that was waiting to greet me on the return leg (SO many stairs). The run into Fairmont for a drink stop helped a little but Craig and Jo had to push me to keep moving.  My knees were starting to really hurt on my way to CP5 and Joe did a great job distracting my mind from the pain. We started dedicating each kilometer to a special person in my life, which really helped. I also started to be a bit more emotional and vulnerable but I guess that’s pretty normal. I felt quite relieved when we made it to CP5 and Craig was well prepared as he cooked up pancakes and helped release my ITB by massaging my legs. This was a point where I didn’t know how I was going to get back up and down all the stairs that we had just climbed on the last leg. I remember when Craig said to me that I will learn more about myself in the next 20Km than in the last year combined. It was not until later that I understood what he really meant. Joe motivated me to get going and it was a good feeling to head back towards the finish line. As much as I wanted to run, my knees were hurting so much that it was a combination of shuffling, walking and running. It was like a battle with myself as my body just wanted to give up but I had to tell myself that I can still keep going. Joes support was second to none. 

When we arrived at Fairmont resort, I knew that we only had 10km to go but they were the longest 10km of my life. More stairs, those bloody stairs!!! I started feeling very ill during the last 10 km from stomach cramps to muscle cramps and legs that were just giving up. Every step up or down the stairs felt like a million needles moving inside my knees combined with little electric shocks. Even though my body went into survival mode, I can say that I never felt so alive at the same time. My mind wandered to a place where worries melted away and where the beauty of the present moment was in sharp focus. There were a lot of positive images on my mind that I think rechanneled into forward motion. There were several times where I just wanted to stop and take a break but Joe helped me move forward. During the last km on Furber steps I started talking to a fellow runner who was in front of me – we struggled together. He explained that he had never run 40K let alone 100K but he was there on the day pushing himself beyond limits to support a cause that supports parents who lost a child, so did he. This was truly inspirational and helped me cross that finish line together with Joe after midnight. We completed the race in 18hours and 14 min. The race left me physically and mentally drained but very satisfied and very happy. 

Ultra-Trail Australia UTA50 UTA100 2017

What did I learn? 

I honestly don’t know where to start as this was all about the journey that has taught me so much. I gained a lot of inspiration from fellow trail runners. It was not an easy task with plenty of obstacles along the way including injury, doubt and sacrifice of common every day activities. Determination, dedication and perseverance resulted in valuable life lessons and a new outlook on what is truly important in life. Supporting the Charity “Righteous Pups’ motivated me on the days where I felt tired or struggled to keep up with training but it also helped me to finish the race because I knew I would be making a difference and help a family to a happier life. I also learnt not to accept no as an answer, bad things happen but it is what we do to learn from our failures and tough times. We are all in control of our destiny if we just apply ourselves. I hesitated when it came to believing that I could run a 100km trail race, but I am so glad I signed up.  Running is my passion but I believe that anyone’s passion can be used to change people’s lives. Everyone can achieve whatever they set their minds to, regardless of how impossible it seems at the start. 

Thanks to everyone who supported be during the journey and on race day. It means so much.

Anna AKA “Aqua Anna”

Ultra-Trail Australia UTA50 UTA100 2017

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when things don’t go according to plan (move.27.05.17)

Posted by on May 29, 2017 in Running | 0 comments

when things don’t go according to plan (move.27.05.17)

F*ck yeah. Finally, a solid hour of bliss running on the trails today, squeezed between Joe’s double session. Can’t quite believe I’m finally back. Months of building back up super slowly, squeezing in every little bit I could. Constantly in awe of consistency, and the little wins always feel awesome.

Hard to believe, this weekend last year I was driving back from the Masters Rowing State Championships with four medals draped around my neck, 3 months pregnant, and secretly feeling very chuffed with myself. * 



Quick calculations in my head…

  • stay in boat rowing lightly until September, 
  • baby end of November, 
  • post labour – internet says give it 4-6 weeks 
  • back in boat end of January at the latest!
  • 3 months of training before States
  • SWEET! I mean honestly, we couldn’t have planned it better if we tried.

Oh, how wrong I was (insert large chuckle at naivety here). 

Post labour complications, being a first time mum, extended recovery, sleepless nights, household schedule issues, the whole income thing… rowing just ain’t gonna happen, well at least, not for now. But, moving has always been my key to sanity. Due to its flexibility and accessibility, returning to running was a no brainer. Goal shift – get back racing on the trails.

I’m a big believer in one step at a time. Set your big goals, crazy is not a problem, the key is a really decent time frame (probably 1.5 to 2x what you think – serious wiggle room), and break it down into realistic bite size chunks. Setting small and medium goals all along the way really helps to keep you focused on the big picture. 



*Racing 3 months pregnant is not generally recommended, this was tackled with a huge amount of research, guidance, and monitoring. 






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Runs With Cows

Posted by on Dec 24, 2016 in Running | 0 comments

Runs With Cows

One day until Christmas! Everyone take a deep breath and let it out slowly! It is the silly (crazy busy) season again and I’m sure most of you are running around like mad things, instead of the usual just … running around.

News in the club: A couple of weeks ago The Christmas Party and Awards Ceremony was held at the Glasshouse Bar. It was a fantastic evening and the sparkling wine and chatter flowed. Thanks Kirsten for organising and Dom for our lovely presents (and I’m sure everyone has framed their certificates! Thanks Joe).

Last night was the Christmas lights run which looked amazing. I wish I was there but I’m still cycling!!!

And of course the BIG news which caught me by surprise, was the birth of Little Legs (Brooke)! Congratulations Lyanne, what a beautiful Christmas present.

And the rest:

Don’t forget that the running does not stop over the holiday period, so if you are around Manly, turn up! The coach will see you at the clock.

However, I realise that a lot of us may not be around Manly over the holidays, so it got me thinking (especially after seeing Kirsten’s running shots from up in Noosa). Where are some of the best (beautiful / interesting) places that you have run? Sure, it’s hard to beat the Northern Beaches, but if you have a story about a favourite place that you have run, lets share it with other members in the club during this holiday time (send me your stories).

When I go on holiday, I try to always have a run to get the lay of the land (as well as stretch the legs after travelling, and to work off all the cocktails). I have run through many country tracks, through many quiet villages and along busy Asian city roads. I have to say my least favourite runs were in Kathmandu and Beijing (smog and feral dogs). Some of my favourites have been country areas of Nepal with the local children and dogs following, Sri Lanka (the looks from the locals can be priceless), the canyon country of USA (jaw-dropping) and anywhere in New Zealand (gorgeous wildness). Then of course there is Australia. Freycinet NP in Tasmania was a fantastic one for its wildlife and views. I love exploring and at times getting lost.

img_4235 img_2546

Then of course there are those memorable runs for other reasons. I lived in Gloucester, NSW, for a short time on a hundred acre property looking after horses and, at times, cows, agisted by local farmers. I used to run around the paddocks and dams at the end of the day and often a few horses might join me. They enjoyed leaving me in their dust as they raced each other to the gate. On one particular run around the dam, however, I created a new running club. The herd of cows decided to join me. I started running and they followed, and then continued past. A little bit concerned about being trampled, I stopped. They stopped, and looked back as if to check that I was still coming. And so it went on, all around the large dam in the paddock. They seemed to be having a great time.

Happy Christmas everyone. Enjoy the time with your families (especially those new bubs) and if you are going away, have a great time and keep runing. Look forward to seeing and hearing about your travels.

Remember any contributions (running or club related) are welcome. Just send me an email.

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It’s Summer at Manly Beach!

Posted by on Dec 2, 2016 in Running | 0 comments

It’s Summer at Manly Beach!

Welcome MBRC peeps. Hope you are all enjoying the warmer (hot!) weather. Remember to run in the cool of the day (I recommend 5.30am, or 6.30pm as being excellent times) and hydrate, hydrate, hydrate. Also wearing a visor is a good idea. I’ve seen some navy blue ones running around that look extremely stylish.

News from the Club

It has been a huge couple of weeks in the club for news, with the birth of gorgeous Nia and some supreme race efforts. However, I will leave it to those involved to catch us up there (Keep the pics on FB coming, Joe).

Don’t forget this Sunday is the Manly Beach Running Group Christmas party, so don’t forget to attend! (I believe there may be incentives to turn up). I can’t wait to see everyone there for the festive celebrations.

At the moment I am on physio orders to not run for at least a week (yes, very frustrated). So I’ve been hitting the bike and pool. I found out that you still can do Friday hills around Dee Why and Freshwater at 5.30am, just using bike power instead.

Here is an article for all those who have been sidelined this year with injury (and some of you have had some actual serious ones).

And another very dramatic and serious one:

On a more positive note: In the next couple of weeks I will be posting some race reports from members. To start off, Alana has generously sent in her report from last Sunday’s Central Coast Half-Marathon.

Central Coast Half Marathon  Race Report

Beep beep beep… my alarm was off at the very “unhappy” hour of 4am to run the Central Coast half Marathon.

On arrival I was greeted by the beautiful backdrop of The Entrance and 1600 runners getting ready for the half or 10km race.

My initial goal was to run the half in sub 1:50. Unfortunately life had definitely gotten in the way of my training and the legs already felt sore so I knew the outcome of the day was with the running gods. Then my phone and only time keeper died at the start line… super!!

After the gun went off I stuck to a pace that I’d hope matched my plan and thanks to my new best friend in  his lycra and loud Nike app, I knew I wasn’t far off.

At 2km my legs felt like I had already run 10 and I hesitantly decided to move down my A, B, C goals and just finish the race happy and in one piece.

The scenery was extremely beautiful and the race had a real small town vibe with kids holding their hands out for a high fives and people cheering from their balconies. At 16km Id lost any chance at competing with my PB and had indulged in many walk breaks. Naughty!!

I heard people chatter all sorts of times 2:30, 2:45 so I had no idea what time I may get. What I did know was that for the first time this year I was running a half marathon with a smile on my face and no fear of the dreaded medical tent at the end.

With the finish line in my sights I managed to have saved enough in my tank to sprint over the line and complete my race with a sub 2:10 time. Success!

By Alana Shegog

Well done, Alana, we all know what busy weeks at work you had leading up to this race. You ran a great time and finished with a smile on your face. Job done!

Have a wonderful week everyone, and looking forward to seeing you all on Sunday!


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Talking to yourself is the first sign of sanity!

Posted by on Nov 24, 2016 in Running | 0 comments

Talking to yourself is the first sign of sanity!

As athletes we have many different aspects of our training to consider. Firstly there’s the importance of a structured training program. Secondly (or maybe joint first) we all know how important nutrition can be. Good nutrition for an athlete can be make or break! Not just day-to-day nutrition but also during exercise and your post training nutrition. Then there’s work commitments, family life and last but certainly not least, finding time for plenty of sleep in between. 

These are all important factors in our training and vital to an athletes success.

But what else do we need to be successful? 

What if I told you that you need to listen to the voices in your head? 

No this isn’t the beginning of a Stephen King style post! 

In reality we all have different voices that “talk” to us during the day but knowing which ones to listen to and how to respond can mean the difference between a great training day or a sucky sluggish hour. 

The first voice I call “The Governor.” The Governor is the voice that wants to protect us from danger. The Governor says, “stay in bed!” and “have some extra sleep!” The Governor also says, “You’ve trained hard enough this week. Have a day off!” Sometimes during a training session the Governor will say, “Wow that sounds dangerous. I don’t think we should even try that!” The Governor is a bit like your nan. “Have an extra biscuit, you’re looking a bit too lean.” All the Governor wants to do is protect you, feed you up with lots of calories and keep you safe at any cost. The Governor would quite happily keep us in bed all day, eating junk food and watching TV if it could because that’s the safe option. Essentially all the Governor wants to do is keep us alive … The Governor sees danger everywhere. Brain scientists might call the Governor the reptilian brain. Useful for survival but not for much else.

So how should we respond to the Governor ?

I think in order to understand and respond to the Governor, it’s important to know the difference between scary and dangerous. 

This is a great concept I’ve borrowed from Jim Koch an incredible entrepreneur and founder of Sam Adams beer.

Getting out of the bed and doing an early morning training session can be scary, especially if it’s our first time but is it dangerous? Sprinting up a hill you’ve never sprinted up before can feel scary but is it life threatening? Pushing ourselves to our limits can often feel scary and make us emotional but it really isn’t going to do us any long term damage. We all know the thing that’s truly dangerous is staying in bed, avoiding exercise and living an unhealthy lifestyle. Long term inactivity really is life threatening! So listen to the Governor, that voice that keeps us safe from harm but also recognise when the Governor is being a little bit overprotective.

“It’s ok Governor. Relax. We’ve got this!”

The other voice that comes up a lot I like to call “Leeroy.” This was the name a good friend of mine gave to his own negative internal dialogue. 

The first thing you need to know about Leeroy is that Leeroy is a bully. Leeroy says, “Ha! You can’t do that! Who do you think you are?!” Oh and his favourite is “Who are you trying to impress?! Why are you even trying?!” 

It’s important to understand that Leeroy is not you. Leeroy is a business associate of the Governor voice. He’s simply trying to protect you from danger. Leeroy, like the Governor, can be useful but he can also prevent us from achieving our potential. I like to reply to Leeroy with something along these lines … 

“We’re doing this because I am an athlete. I know I can do this. I’ve done this before. I am strong. I am powerful. I will succeed and I don’t need you.” 

Over time you can reprogram Leeroy to be a little less negative by creating your own inner narrative. Try talking to yourself the same way you would talk to a friend. Be kind and gentle and you will definitely improve your performance.

I often try to talk to myself the same way I talk to my daughter. 

Here were my first words to her when she was born …

“Listen to the mustn’ts, child. Listen to the don’ts. Listen to the shouldn’ts, the impossibles, the won’ts. Listen to the never haves, then listen close to me… Anything can happen, child. Anything can be.”

Shel Silverstein – “Listen to the Mustn’ts”



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MBRC November 18 2016

Posted by on Nov 18, 2016 in Running | 0 comments

MBRC November 18 2016

News from the Club

Arroooh! This week was Super Moon Week. Anyone notice any strange behaviour? Hair growth? Well I’m sure the wolf pack was out running this week!

On Saturday, members were out to enjoy the wild sounds of Deggsy’s Midnight Runners at the Boatshed. Thanks, Paula, it looked like Derek was having a blast!


So was there a decision on the new name?


Some beautiful mornings were enjoyed this week (from the look of the pictures on FB of those sunrises) and it was great to welcome back Coach Ananda to Tempo Tuesdays.

This week’s member story

Running with the pack

I joined Manly Beach Running Club in February of this year. Before that I had mostly run by myself. I was good at running on my own. Motivation has never been my problem; I love to run (just to make me sound really strange, I used to think that I was a horse). Running is my freedom and running has been my escape (and it’s really good for the odd epiphany on work, life, .. and shit).

I started doing short runs for exercise and peace of mind around the roads and bush tracks in my local area. Then I just kept going out for longer and thought I might start entering fun runs. So I decided to enter the City to Surf. There are lots of training guides online so I just followed one. I became quite disciplined, and it all grew from there. 14k turned into half marathons. I always felt wonderful when I set myself a challenge and met it. So then I thought, well I should do one full marathon in my life. So set myself the target of the Sydney marathon, raised money for the Oasis charity and followed an online training plan faithfully (e.g.Fartlek sessions on the local oval. I even grabbed a stopwatch from work and went to the Athletics Centre at Olympic Park for some 400 and 800m speed repeats). Anyway, you guys know how it ends, one marathon suddenly becomes two, then ….

I moved to Dee Why last year. Then, during my many runs along the coast of the northern beaches, I kept on spotting these people in the same shirts running in the opposite direction. They looked fit, happy and friendly runners, and I thought, ‘I must find them’ (sorry, still sounding strange).

Cut to a year later, and I love running with the MBRC pack. I’ve met so many wonderful people with the same interest (veering on obsession) as me (coffee and running), that talk my language, are completely supportive and, yes, friendly. Not forgetting the most positive, inspiring running coach in Mr Joe Ward. Thanks, Joe. Joining a running group has made me set goals, mix up my training and run against such talented runners.

Now I’ve entered my first ultra-event, something I possibly never would have done without the influence of others around me. (I thought for a long time that a ‘half’ was my maximum distance). Some advice: Don’t get stuck on thinking that you can only do so much or go so far. Keep pushing the boundaries. Get bored and ask ‘what’s next?’

This morning, I couldn’t run with the pack (early work start – hair wash, etc.). That’s alright, I still enjoy running by myself, and I sometimes miss running around Dee Why and up to the Long Reef Headland (the other day I even checked local Dee Why Strava segments. Noooo!).

But given the choice, I choose MBRC. Running is so much more enjoyable with the company, conversation and of course, don’t forget the coffee.


And Finally

Don’t forget to send in anything that you would like the group to know, your own personal stories (or others), training tips and suggestions.

Go Dominique for the Queenstown Marathon tomorrow! I’m sure we all can’t wait to hear how it goes and are looking forward to sharing a bottle of bubbly with her.

Thanks for reading,


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MBRC Thursday 10 November 2016

Posted by on Nov 10, 2016 in Running | 0 comments

MBRC Thursday 10 November 2016

Welcome MBRCer’s to our weekly blog!
Hope you have all had a super week (I know, I know, head in sand, fingers in ears, lah, lah, lah. It was just a bad dream wasn’t it?) and got in some enjoyable running (and coffee catch-ups) around beautiful, stormy Manly. It has been a week of birthdays celebrated, Strava records shaken, trails conquered and long runs smashed! Just a typical week in the MBRC hood.
Weekly News and Updates

So the plan is that this blog becomes a regular weekly read. We will share the Club News where we will mention and share events, babies, family, runs, photos and shit (sorry). I am therefore asking for contributions from all members as I am notorious for being the last to know. If you have started training for your next big event, or raising funds for a charity, please email me and I will share it here.

Speaking of charity events, don’t forget Deggsy’s Midnight Runners at the Boatshed on Saturday night. See the Facebook event page for more details.

Members Stories or Thoughts
Each week I will also require contributions from members (as we have read already, there have been some inspiring and honest stories already from members and I would love to continue to read and share these). So watch out, I might run up behind you ask you very nicely to be our next blogger. Your contributions can be anything related to personal stories, friendships, personal training or motivational tips, nutrition, etc. Happy to be the first contributor next week.

Of course the blog will also contain information about the latest running science, research (um Joe??) … Well maybe not. I think the topic of how much alcohol can be consumed before running performance is hampered has been covered. However, are there a number of drinks which actually enhance running performance? Peppermint tea versus large cappuccino??
Important dates:
Queenstown Marathon19 November
(Go Dominique! You know we will all be cheering you on from across the ditch)
Central Coast half-marathon 27 November
MBRC half-marathon 4 December
Please email me with any thoughts, ideas for the blog, or contributions.
So when is the best day to train?
Everyday (copyright Coach Joey)
Duracell (Michelle)


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“Finally, the monkey is off my back” by Elyse

Posted by on Oct 19, 2016 in Running | 0 comments

“Finally, the monkey is off my back” by Elyse

Melbourne half marathon 2016 – the report (from my perspective).

It has been seven whole years since my last ‘official’ half marathon runs. I have always thought about those races with a little happiness and also a little disappointment. I was in a really good place back then, but injuries before and during the race meant I was never able to achieve my ultimate goal, the sub-two hour result.

I travelled this year to Melbourne with three amazing ladies, my #wolfpack. We decided to run the half as a cover for the actual reason for the trip; Melbourne shopping. It was the perfect weekend away from husbands and kids, with just a short run thrown in for good value.

I decided to run the Melbourne half after I skipped the Sydney and Canberra race days this year. I just wanted to be on a good fast track, I wanted to be in a city I knew and I wanted to be around good old Melbourne people (plus, again, the city has the best shopping).

The training started months ago, I knew I was ready. I had done many long runs and I had my training day strategy worked out. But, I was sore and I was nervous about my hips, my back, my shoulder and pretty much all of the areas that hurt during the long runs. I never really felt super comfortable in the training runs at a pace I wanted to do. I always seemed to have pain or get tired before the 21km finish.

We got up early on race day, had the pre-requisite banana and a sneaky voltarin. It was something I needed to get through the first part of the race. I wrote the times on my arm for 5km, 10km, 15km and 20km. I wanted to stick with 1:58 timing and I was going to do my darndest to stick with it. We got a cab to the start line, walked through the crowds and found our spot, right near the start. After a long wait at the toilets nearby, I was ready. We found the pacer that said 1:50 and stuck close to her to wait for the gun to go off. Then it did. I didn’t think I was ready, but oh well; here we go with another 10,000 people. And off went that 1:50 pacer!

The first 12km of the run went well. I had my earphones in, with my teenager boppy Beiber and JT tracks and I found my stride. The weather was overcast and helped me just get into my groove. St Kilda Road was a favourite of mine. I grew up on these streets and the tree lined main road did not disappoint. I saw the 5km flag and thought, okay I can do this. Then we turned a sharp right and into the Albert Park area…BOOM where the heck did that head wind come from? Push through. Just push through.

From 6km to 12km I felt great. Apart from the annoying wind that just wouldn’t quit, I was in a good pack of people, we all seemed to be going the same pace. Then at 12km there was a sneaky sharp U-turn, right in the pits of the grand prix Albert Park course. Ugh, talk about a mental battle. Retracing steps is something I have never been great at. I felt tired, I literally thought I could have a nap.

I was hurting and I felt a little defeated. So, I checked my times, I knew I had some room in my timings, I had been ahead of the time so I slowed a bit.

From 12km to 18km I won’t lie, I felt sore, I felt tired and mentally it was a battle. People on the course were dropping all over the place. Walkers, people huffing so loudly it was a distraction and even someone having a cheeky spew. I just looked down and kept my feet moving. I figured if I just kept moving it would work out. I was actually ahead of my time and moving at a pace that would get me there under two hours. This is what kept me going, the achievement of this goal.

Once I hit that 18km mark, there was a sharp turn off St Kilda Road and down hill! I was stoked. I used every single downhill to gain momentum. I was back feeling good. I had made sure I took advantage of each water stop and even Gatorade, which for me, was incredibly unusual as I typically run without water. It did give me that last little oomph to get me to the end.

Once I saw the MCG I knew we were close. The smarty pants route designers did throw in a sneaky bridge that was damn steep in the final 2km, and then took us towards the MCG and away from it again. I must admit that mentally threw me off. Then we did one last turn and I recognised the street that surrounds the MCG. On the way up that stretch of road I asked a few people how much further and they said it was less than a kilometre. I went for it. Threw my body into it and sprinted (which made for the ugliest race day photos!). I ran into the MCG, realised we had to do a lap (ouch) and just used everything I had left in the tank. Running through that finish line was sweet. I felt like I was going to throw up, I was exhausted, my back was sore, but I was so happy I couldn’t stop smiling. I saw the clock and it said 1:59:13. I was sure I had done a little faster and it turned out, I was right; 1:58:39 was my official time and I had finally done it! The monkey was off my back.

I didn’t wait two seconds before I got my phone out and FaceTimed my hubby and twinnies. It was awesome. I was still on the MCG ground, what a freaking awesome place to finish.

On the day, I found my confidence. I found my pace and everything seemed to align for me. I had music, I had a flat course, my legs behaved and it just worked. It was luck. Training and luck. Some days work well and some just don’t. A lesson in that for me; absolutely. I think we all put a lot of pressure on ourselves to perform and I know that there was a huge chance that I would feel the same on the day as I did in the training, not amazing. But something just worked for me on Sunday and I managed to have a great run. I don’t take that for granted at all. I enjoyed (most) of the run, but it was definitely not easy. I had a 6km section that seemed to go on forever and it sucked. I am happy it is done and I am stoked that I managed to do it in a time I wanted. And as for finishing at the MCG, a childhood dream finally came true, running on to the grounds of the home of AFL.

Now, time for me to run with MBRC, with my wolfpack and enjoy running in Manly again.

Elyse – sub 2 hour half marathoner 🙂


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My first marathon report

Posted by on Sep 26, 2016 in Running | 0 comments

My first marathon report


The day has finally arrived and there’s a mixture of feelings! nerves, fear, joy and enthusiasm. The date I’ve been waiting for months is finally here!

I think before running your first marathon you always try to imagine how things will be: how you’ll feel that day, the starting line, the  42K, the finish line and of course, celebrating at the end. You put yourself in all the possible escenarios with different outputs, however in the end, your first marathon should always be a good surprise, and that’s exactly how it was for me.

Once we reached Milson’s point and started preparing for the race, I realized how little I knew about what it meant to run a marathon. For starters I tied my laces as hard as I could, so Joe taught me they have to be loose, he also taught me how to drink water from the glass on the hydration points. Small things that would prove to be very helpful later on.

At 7:05 we started running. The first part through the Harbor Bridge was one of my favorites -I think that because of the excitement I didn’t actually realize how long we had left- afterwards we went continued to Hyde Park and towards Centennial Park. At around 21K I started feeling bad, I wasn’t expecting that because my longest run before the marathon was 32K and I felt well, so by the time I realized it was only half of the race I started feeling worst, dizzy with an upset stomach. I even thought about quitting and going back home, but I knew that if I do that I would never forgive myself, so I just kept running. For several kilometers I suffered, and the fact that I had at least 2 hours left didn’t helped, but I started feeling better at 32K. I was tired and my legs hurt but I was feeling optimistic now, I just wanted to keep on going and I started smiling again.( I think the video was very well edited because I didn’t smile for a long period of time).

I can say th20x30-bscm0797at the last kilometers were the most special ones. Those moments when your legs start gaining strength out of nowhere, when you see an old man running barefoot in the rain, a woman with your country’s flag on her shirt, a couple running hand by hand tied by a rope, and of course, you see everyone cheering their friends and family once you start getting close to the finish line. All of that makes you feel like the effort was worth it and you start feeling a tremendous amount of pride as you reach the finish line.

It’s been over a week since the Sydney Marathon and I’m still thinking about what that all that day and training meant. It’s strange actually, to prepare yourself and train for months for something that will be over in just a few hours. Now there’s a feeling of emptiness, I completed this goal so what’s next? another marathon? the last thing I wanted to hear once I finish was the word “run”, I was so tired that I though to myself “first and last marathon of my life “, however, your mind is so strong that it can make you forget all the physical suffering. Right now I’m feeling so happy and proud that I can already start thinking about running my next one some day, although I know it would never be like my first one on September 18th 2016, next to my coach Joe, as a part of Manly Beach Running Club.

I wrote this blog to thank all of you, for the support I got from MBRC’s runners and from Joe, for everything you did before, during and after my first marathon. I will always be grateful. Thanks again and I’ll leave the after race celebration blog to your own imagination.



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