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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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The begining, the backpacker´s life and the training for my first marathon.

Posted by on Sep 8, 2016 in Running | 1 comment

The begining, the backpacker´s life and the training for my first marathon.

In January of 2016, I started to run, mostly because a ticket to run the Santiago’s half Marathon had my name on it. I don’t know what I was thinking when I accepted a friend’s invitation to participate on the half marathon, all my life I had hated to run, I didn’t found any motivation to do it. Anyway, I already had my ticket and it wasn’t an option to fail. I decided to train, at first I run at most 2 kilometers, because I get easily tired. After a while, I started to enjoy my running time, not only because I could achieve the amount of kilometers that I had proponed for each day, but because I also started to take pleasure while I was running, wich it was new for me.

I trained on my own, it never ocurred to me to participate in a running club, it wasn’t in my options to pay for run, even less to wake at 5 am to do so, but still… here I’am writing at MBRC´s Blog.

 

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The half marathon’s day arrived, a day that I will never forget, not only because it was my first one, it also was a beatiful way to say good bye to my city, Santiago, at the next day I had my flight to come to Australia.

After I completed those 21K, I had to look for a new goal, so I decided to run a full Marathon, and what was better than to do it in my new country, Australia. The Sydney’s Marathon had already a date, September’s 18, wich it was also the date of Chilean Independence day, so it was the perfect day!   

My next step was to find a running’s club, this time I thought it was necessary the soport of a coach and the company of a group during my training, so that’s when I found in the Internet the “Manly Beach Running Club”. With my little english’s vocabulary, I decided to send a message to the coach and ask for this club. I went a Monday to try, and without knowing to much what does it mean to be part of that kind of club, I inmediatly signed. I thought that it was a good way to created a routine in Manly, the city that it was going to be my home at least for a year.Slowly I started to organize my life here, I rented a bedroom in a flat with 6 other girls, and only 1 toilet, yes that’s right 1 toilet!! haha. It’s sounds terrible but its not. Being part of MBRC has its advantages, for instance, none of my flatmates awakes at 5 am, so I have the toilet for my own disposition.

Without question, today I can say, after only 5 months here, that one of the best decisions  I made since I arrived to Manly was to be part of MBRC. Now, I love to start my days running in to the Beach and see the dawn, I even like just a little the Friday´s Hills that I hated at the beginning.

Also, I definitely I would like to talk and envolved more with the Group and Joe, but speaking english while I’m running is even more difficult for me, specially to understand the phrase, translate to spanish and then think my english’s answer, it would take me a few meters. People usually says that women can do a lot of things at the same time, in this matter, I think that I’m the exception.

In life not everything is about running, we also have to work, and that’s why my visa’s name is Work & Holiday, though for the moment I think I should call it Run & Holiday, I’ve been more focus on the marathon that in my job.  Anyhow, untill today, I‘ve been doing packing and picking in a Warehouse, Cleaning Aldi’s supermarket, helping a man in a wheelchair, spreading flyers, etc. The common factor of all this Jobs is that they are all physical Jobs, unlike my work in Chile, in a law’office, just sitting in front of a computer and full of papers. So, its a plus for my currents Jobs that they help me to train for the marathon, for example, bent to get up boxes are squats, pass the mop on the floor are arm’s exercises, walking spreading flyers work for strengthen legs, etc.

 
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Nevertheless, you need to rest as well, and there’s where things get tricky, specially saturday’s night, when everyone goes to party, I have to go early to bed, because on sunday’s mornings I have to go for the long runs.

I know I have had to sacrifice some things due my training, such us spend time with my friends, to refuse a few Jobs that iniciate very early in the mornings or finished too late at nights, however, I have happily done it, because running fills me with joy to move on, specially at moments when I feel lonely and missing my family and friends. That’s why everytime I meet someone that’s far from home, my advice to him or her is “Go and run, and enjoy the place you’re running”.

I think it now, after months of trainings,  only a 10 days left for the Sydney’s Marathon, and no matter the result, I think that September 18 is going to be the most important and unforgettable day for me during my stay in Australia, but not only the day, in general, running has made my visa Work & Holiday to be very different and special, one experience I will never forget.

 

 

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My Story by Dominique Le Maitre

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

My Story by Dominique Le Maitre

My Story

 

I often chat with my friends about “finding the mental strength” to keep going, to keep running and to believe you can continue on and achieve your goals, to get across that finish line.

Everyone has goals and they vary greatly I’m sure, but what I’ve realised over the years is that there are a number of constants that have helped me to achieve mine. One of the most important to me is to have that belief in your self.  

Self-belief is something that doesn’t come naturally to me, it’s a tough battle that I still find myself struggling with at times. However, how we get that self-belief can be dependent and easier to attain when you have the right people in your life.

At Manly Beach Running Club (MBRC), the friendships are strong, supportive and giving and it’s with this group of inspirational people that my own self-belief continues to grow and my doubts fade.  

I am sharing my personal story in the hope to help others in their time of self-doubt, when you wonder if you can keep going, if you can make it through, to get over that finish line, whatever that line might be.

My personal battle started 20 years ago when my life changed in an instant. It was the moment I suffered a sudden cardiac event that led me to being diagnosed with Hypertrophic Cardiomyopathy (HCM), a genetic fault I was born with and only diagnosed after this event. I have the rare opportunity to still be here thanks to some quick thinking work colleagues.

At the age of 30, I was informed by a doctor that I should never have children if I wanted to survive, that my life span would be greatly reduced and I would need an Implantable Cardiac Defibrillator (ICD) inserted into my chest to survive, should I suffer another sudden cardiac episode. This news left me in shock and numb for some time.

Thankfully, through medical advancements and the support of loved ones, I have achieved some of my greatest accomplishments. My greatest is my 9 year old son Julian, who also has a 50:50 chance of having the same defective gene.

This year I have signed up to run my first ever marathon in Queenstown New Zealand, and Julian will be running in the 3K race. By doing this race we hope to raise awareness and help raise funds for a medical research group very close to our heart.

It’s the support and encouragement that I get from everyone at MBRC and Coach Joe that will give me the self-belief and the strength to cross this finish line. And to all those people that have supported me and helped me to keep going, believe in myself and cross many different finish lines, I am forever grateful. My only hope is that I too can offer the same to those who are in need of support, in need to cross their own finish line, whatever that might be.

Our Fund Raising Campaign

Up to four young Australians, under the age of 35, die each week from Sudden Cardiac Death (SDC).  

The research that Professor Chris Semsarian and his Molecular Cardiology team at Centenary Institute provide is vital for saving lives, sudden death prevention, and to improve the diagnosis and management of patients and families of SCD.

If you would like to find out more about the team at Centenary institute and their research in molecular cardiology you can find out more by clicking the link below.

http://www.centenary.org.au/cen_program/molecular-cardiology/

Should you like to make a donation in the support of this incredible research team please follow the link below to our donation page on the centenary institute website.

http://www.centenary.org.au/dominique-julians-marathon/

Please feel free to share.

Thank you 

Dominique and Julian x

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The Power of Suffering

Posted by on Aug 11, 2016 in Running | 4 comments

The Power of Suffering

The Power of Suffering 

Thanks so much for inviting me here to talk with you today.


Special thanks to New York City Marathoner Kirsten for the invitation. 

Today I would like to talk about … The power of suffering! 

Now I understand that the first thing people think about when they think about suffering is listening to a presentation so I’ll try to keep this as painless as possible and keep the suffering to an absolute minimum … but I hope by the end of this you will have a much clearer idea of the power of your own suffering and how it can make you more successful… 

the dictionary definition of suffering is :- the bearing of pain or distress

So here’s the first question …

who’s travelled from Brisbane to Sydney or Sydney to Brisbane? 

how long did it take you?

I assume that was flying?

who has driven from Brisbane to Sydney ? how long did that take?

has anyone cycled it?

has anyone run it?

does anyone know the distance?

Well I can tell you the exact distance is … 949.5kms 

I know this number because I ran it in 12 days in June this year and broke the previous world record of 15 days …  

 

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As you can see, this is a screenshot from the fitness application strava … does anyone else use strava here? ok so you know that if it’s not on strava then it didn’t happen! … I had several different runners accompanying me at different sections of the east coast between Brisbane and Sydney but if anyone was in doubt, here’s the proof  … 

Starting from the first day at the bottom, I was running around 80kms per day which was around 11 hours of running per day.

For anyone that checks out the elevation you can see that the first couple of days were quite hilly.

When people hear about my long runs, most people tell me I’m a little crazy or they tell me I’m a freak … my usual response is, “I just love to run!” … to me running long distances is my favourite activity … I love the feeling of making progress using only my body and moving under my own steam … when you run, you are constantly moving forward, making progress, sometimes that progress is fast, sometimes slow but you’re constantly moving forward.  

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There are moments when I’m running that are incredibly special to me … There are times when I’m running through a beautiful landscape in Australian bush or chasing the moon through the trees at night that I feel Euphoric, completely blissed out, almost like I am born to run … sometimes I have out of body experiences and incredible transcendental moments where I discover truths about myself and my life. To me running is what I was born to do. I am a runner to my core and it is a daily activity that I cherish. 

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But of course, despite my absolute love of running, completing an almost 1000km run from Brisbane to Sydney in record time involves some inevitable pain and discomfort …  

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it’s not always blissful and euphoric ha ha … there are times when I hate running, when I’m full of despair and frustration … there are times when I’m exhausted and I feel that I can’t go on much further … sometimes I swear a bit, sometimes I am unpleasant to run with, especially on the hills … and sometimes I suffer more than I even thought was possible … 

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and sometimes you can see the pain and discomfort in my expression … and sometimes these embarrassing photos get shared on facebook!  

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Can someone tell me why I do this agin?? 

So the real question is … When is suffering a good thing? 

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Well in my opinion, we humans are built to suffer … I believe it is only through incredibly challenging struggles that we overcome and invent new methods and new solutions. 

In my running I’ve learnt that suffering is often the gateway to incredible personal development. Suffering is our first port of call on the way to an incredible epiphany or new breakthrough.

So the answer to When is suffering good is simple … suffering is good when it’s over!! 

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So lets consider some examples of this in our own lives … what’s on the other side of suffering??

Everyone in the room … just for a moment, could you please think of your proudest achievement …

Now as soon as I say that I’m sure there’s some of you thinking about your children and becoming a proud parent. For all the parents, I’m sure you’re very proud and your kids are wonderful but I bet with that particular achievement you’re probably still struggling. Being a parent involves lots of stages of being proud, then suffering again, then being proud again … it’s an ongoing timeline … probably a bit like a long run from Brisbane to Sydney. There’s suffering and joy at almost every stage …

Whatever achievement you have in mind right now, I bet any money your proudest achievement was the hardest thing you’ve ever done … I bet before you achieved it, it was challenging right down to your core … some of the most rewarding moments often involve digging deeper than you’ve ever had to go …  

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So what does this show us? 

Suffering and hardship often lead to rewards, personal growth and fulfilment … 

Now this may not be true in every example but certainly in the Western World, most of our problems are first world problems … that is, more often than not, we are struggling with work related problems and family problems instead of struggling with basic needs like food and shelter … this doesn’t mean are struggles are less important or that they’re easy, it simply means we have a great opportunity.

The opportunity we have is the opportunity to struggle and suffer for something that will make our lives even richer. We have the opportunity to struggle with something we will get some reward from.  

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I look exhausted in this photo. But it always helps to run with a man with a beard. Men with beards always give legitimacy to your endeavours!! Thanks Tim Locke!!

So now we understand that suffering leads to good stuff … what do I do to get through suffering?? … well the first thing I do, is I don’t trust my brain when I’m tired!!  

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When long distance runners get tired, usually during events lasting longer than 24 hours of continuous running, they often experience seeing hallucinations. These hallucinations can seem very real. Runners call these “the sleep monsters”

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When the sleep monsters arrive and I start to see these hallucinations created by my brain, there is also another part of me that knows my brain is not always right.

I know the sleep monsters will disappear eventually if I’m patient and wait for my energy levels to recover.

 

I often say to myself, “this too shall come to pass” 

The Sleep Monsters are only temporary and my brain can’t always be trusted to give me the correct information.

Another technique I often use is considering the difference between physical pain and emotional pain.

Physical pain is all relative.

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There are many times on my run when my legs are hurting or I feel like I need to sleep or rest. Sometimes the mental pain and struggle I go through during the tough races is intense. So much so that many runners describe long distance running as “Type 2 fun” … in other words Type 2 fun is when it’s fun AFTER the event instead of during it.

What I’ve learnt over the years is physical pain can usually be overcome and we can actually suffer and struggle a lot more than we realise.

The Navy Seals call this the 40% rule … 

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now I’m clearly not muscly enough to be a Navy Seal and I’m definitely a runner and not a swimmer but this concept can teach us a lot about being successful.

The 40% rule states that when you are totally done and at your wits end and you don’t feel like you have a drop of energy or enthusiasm left, that usually means you are only 40% done … it sounds crazy but I’ve tested this rule extensively over the last 12 years in long distance running and I believe it’s true!!

Often during my runs when I will feel completely destroyed. When I’m an emotional and physical wreck. A shell of a human being … If I can push through that feeling, sometimes as quickly as 10 minutes later BOOM!!! I’m running feeling great and back on track again. I think of this as re-incarnation. I’ve died many many times on my runs, only to be  re-incarnated several times over.

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What I’ve learnt from this experience is the difference between physical pain and emotional pain.

Paper cuts hurt right? … running a marathon hurts … cycling to work can hurt … having too many deadlines can hurt … even listening to a long presentation can hurt … but if someone tells you they don’t respect you any more, or they think you’re doing a bad job … or they don’t want to be your friend any more … this cuts far far deeper … emotional pain can cripple you in a way that physical pain is rarely able to … emotional pain can leave you stuck in your tracks.

As a result of this understanding between physical and emotional pain, now I embrace the physical pain.I’m ready for it and I anticipate it’s arrival. I invite physical pain into my runs. Physical pain is a friend that helps me move towards the moments of re-incarnation and total bliss and I would much rather have a little physical pain in my life than emotional pain … so to me physical pain is not such a big deal.  

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I think people are afraid to suffer but personally I feel I have a good relationship with suffering. If nothing, if I’m totally crazy, then at least I have some great stories!!

Here’s some strategies I use to make friends with suffering and get success in my running 

When I’m suffering there’s two words I use for success … SHOW UP!!!

We don’t always want to be there and the dread and fear can be crippling. Just focus on those two words. SHOW UP … Often just showing up physically is 95% of the challenge. Once you’re there then you’ll forget why you were ever so worried.

A bit like this presentation today. That was easy! 

Another strategy I use is the concept of being the hero in my own story …

I use this one a lot. I like to think of myself as the hero in an ongoing story with me overcoming all of my obstacles. There’s a story of how I want things to go and I choose to write myself into this story as the person that can make it happen. Sometimes becoming the hero can take a lot of time and effort … there’s a lot of patience with your circumstances and with yourself … but I believe, on a long enough timeline, that anything is possible … and when the moment arrives and you are victorious and you get that big win, the feeling is second to none. Visualise that moment of you as the hero conquering the mountain against all odds. Even though everything is against you and you’re the underdog, take the steps you need to make it happen. Amazing things happen when you’re the hero!  

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Another thing I do regularly is set goals for myself. I try to set realistic goals but I always set some unrealistic goals too!!

I love setting goals but it’s easy to restrict ourselves or limit ourselves by creating goals that are too easy. I set myself 10 realistic goals every year and then I also set myself 3 completely over optimistic, life changing galactic goals too. The unrealistic goals should be something awesome that you’re passionate about and will get you out of bed in the morning to chase a dream. If I achieve just one of these unrealistic goals then I’m over the moon. Make sure you set at least a few crazy goals every year. Even if they are crazy and unrealistic, you never know your luck in the big city!! 

Finally, break down your challenges and your suffering into manageable chunks

When I think about running from Brisbane to Sydney, even though I did it and broke the record, it still seems impossible … but if you break it down, I can run 10kms, then another 10, then another 10. If you break my runs down into small manageable chunks then anything is possible.

Rome wasn’t built in a day, but it was built!! 

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Thanks for your time 🙂 

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Next Monday

Posted by on Aug 11, 2016 in Running | 0 comments

Next Monday

I always grew up sporty, I played handball, soccer or bullrush with the boys and the other two “tomboys” at lunch. Dad bought me a rugby ball and kicking tee one Christmas when my sister got nail polish and stationary.

The beep test was my heaven and the athletics carnival was my sanctuary. School was coming to an end and I had to have my first of 5 back operations over the next 4 years. My sports filled weeks turned to travel, work and brunches.

Fast forward to my mid twenties and my motivation returned!!! Sporadically anyway…I would decide that NEXT MONDAY was the start…I would run everyday! I’d buy a new outfit so I would look the part and Monday would roll around, inspired I’d tie my laces and head out the door. I’d fly down the road and be tired after the first 600m, walk the rest of the way but run the last 200m home so my housemates could see I’d gone for a run.
Helllllo Tuesday! Can’t wait to run when I get home….actually what do people say about rest day? I should probably have a rest day today.
Wednesday – Rain? Oh, I could slip and injure myself so I’d better stay inside.
Thursday – Did I cough at 11.03am this morning? I think I coughed, I might be getting sick. I’d better not run in case I get worse.
Friday – Well, there is no point going today, it’s the end of the week. I’ll start again next Monday.
The excuse cycle continued, I wouldn’t start the next Monday but I’d start again in a couple of months, I’d buy a new outfit and “get out there”, only for the same thing to happen.
After a couple of years of failed attempts, I had a draw packed full of new running clothes but an even bigger drawer of excuses.
I searched for “running club northern beaches” and up popped Manly Beach Running Club. I messaged “Joe Ward” and was met with a friendly reply encouraging me to come down the following Monday. Which was great, because I loved starting “NEXT MONDAY“.

Off I headed, physically sick with anxiety about running with a whole group I didn’t know. They’ll be faster than me, they’ll all know each other and ignore me, they’ll laugh at me. I stood there at the surf club hiding behind the tree and sent a text to my boyfriend “not going to run with them today, too scared. I’ll just run by myself for a bit”.
Someone wearing a MRCB singlet was walking around near me looking at the ground. “Hi” she grinned up at me, she explained she was looking for something. A nervous laugh was my reply. “Are you meeting anyone here or are you running by yourself” asked this friendly, open face.
“I’m meant to be running with you guys (pointing to her singlet) but I don’t think I’m going to, I’m too scared” . I was holding back tears at this point.
Almost with a laugh this kind soul insisted that I run with her and to come over so she could introduce me to the others, she introduced herself as Lainey. Reflecting on it now I realise that her almost laugh at my nervousness was because there was nothing to be scared of, all my concerns could not have been further from the truth about the women in this club. I ran that first morning with Lainey and I have never looked back.

To begin with running was a form of getting fit, running off the few kgs I’d put on since school. It soon turned to the want of the feeling I got after a tough run, a 5km PB or a full week of running. One day someone at work asked me if I enjoyed it while I was running or if I just felt good once I’d finished. I thought about it for a while and I couldn’t answer. I assumed it was the relief of finishing and the smugness I felt after, not the actual run itself that I enjoyed.

That weekend was my first ever Sunday long run (I had avoided it for about 5 months since starting). That morning we ran up North Head through rain, thunder and lightening that didn’t look too far away. I ran solo for most of that run, the rain hitting my face, my feet crunching the dirt on the road and the distant call of “good work KB” from some English bloke that’s on all our runs 😉 (you’re a legend Joey).
I closed my eyes for a second, took a deep breath and realised that yep, I love the run!!!


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Cheaper Than Therapy

Posted by on Aug 5, 2016 in Running | 2 comments

Cheaper Than Therapy

Warm and Fuzzies

Sometimes the best part of a Manly Beach Running Club session is the rush of endorphins coursing through the body from raising the heart rate first thing in the morning. Sometimes it’s the smug satisfaction of putting in a solid sweat session while everyone else sleeps. Sometimes it’s watching a sky so intensely illustrated with the most glorious light and colour that it stops you in your tracks and captures your breath in its beauty. This morning it was the warm, fuzzy feeling of being part of a group, of being surrounded by people who care and support and listen.

 

When Life Sucks

This week has been a hard one to get through. And I’m not just talking about bad weather, stress at work and sleep deprivation. I’m talking about when life kicks you in the guts and while you’re writhing on the floor in pain it gets into your head and makes you feel as though you deserved it. I turned up for today’s session feeling as though I couldn’t breath because of a tight band across my chest and that an invisible weight was sitting on my back and shoulders, pushing them forward and crushing them. Seven kilometres of Fairlight hills later and I was feeling significantly better than when I showed up. One of the things I love about running is that you can spend as much or as little time in your own head as you like, you can get to know yourself better than you ever thought possible or you can use the constant pounding of footsteps as anaesthesia and become numb to everything outside the immediate physical requirements of the task at hand (or foot as the case may be). Run up the hill, turn left, run down the hill, turn around and run up the hill again. Keep going until you’re told to stop. There’s something therapeutic about getting it done regardless of what’s being thrown at you in the real world.

 

Thank Goodness for BRF’s (Best Running Friends)

After most sessions you can count on a few runners heading to Manly Wine for that glorious post-run caffeine hit, and today I knew I needed to join them. And that’s when I got my warm fuzzies, and not just from the skim latte I threw down. For not only could I share some of what I’d gone through this week, I also shared raucous laughter, inappropriate conversations and listened to some of the struggles that others were facing, which pulled me out of my own pity-party. That feeling of being accepted and embraced by people I admire, respect and genuinely like (it’s hard not to like a runner, they’re just such quality people!) can be better than that elusive runners high, and today it was precisely what the doctor ordered.

Thank you MBRC, you’re good people!

 

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The (not so spectacular) comeback

Posted by on Aug 3, 2016 in Running | 4 comments

The (not so spectacular) comeback

In May I ran my second half marathon. I trained really really hard. I ate well, rested and was really prepared. I was aiming for a sub-2 hour, my PB was 2:14, so it wasn’t beyond the realms of possibility. 

During the race at 15km I hit the wall and walk/ran for the last 6km. I scraped in with a PB and a respectable 2:10 and a very bruised ego. Lying on the floor with my medal round my neck and my two kids jumping on me saying “well done”, I looked at my husband and said “never again”

I carried on training but without a race to focus on I kept skipping sessions. I picked the easiest days to run and generally lost interest. Eventually 8 weeks ago I postponed my membership and stopped running.

In the past I have suffered with anxiety and depression and the only thing (apart from my love of Jesus) that has kept me happy and sane is running. Getting up four times a week, knowing there will be a group of like-minded people doing the same thing is encouraging. Running in the dark and finishing as the sun comes up is inspiring. Running around 25km a week releases endorphins and I would start each morning on a high. I was the fittest I have ever been in my life and I felt and looked good.
Without running, my family suffered my mood swings. I binge ate and my weight crept up. I was irritable, tired and not happy. It was time to come back

On Sunday night I set my alarm for 5am. I nearly talked myself out of it several times, but on Monday I was there at 5.30am. It was a tough 6km and I felt every kilo of the 8 (EIGHT!) kilos I was carrying! But I was there and so were my lovely friends and
amazing
coach. No-one chastised me for not being there, everyone was happy to see me and I did it.

This morning it was Time Trial Wednesday. In the past I would have boycotted it if I thought I wasn’t fast enough for a PB but  didn’t. I got my tired bum out of bed and headed out to “just run 5km”. It was very humbling to come last and to run four minutes slower than my last time trial, but I finished and I’m back. It wasn’t a spectacular comeback, but it was a comeback all the same.

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Transitioning from Road to Trail

Posted by on Aug 2, 2016 in Running | 4 comments

Transitioning from Road to Trail

When I first made the decision to not only attempt to transition from road to the trails but that my first event would be the UTA50; one of Australia’s most prestigious trail races, people that knew me well thought I had lost my mind.

By no means am I a typical trail runner, I think it’s fair to say that me and sport have not always had the best of relationships; being clumsy and unco-ordinated in nature meant that I was generally last to be picked for team sports at school. Not a lot has changed since, I still have the unique ability of being able to fall over my own shadow. I am definitely more of a fairy elephant than an agile gazelle. However, even though there was the possibility I could end up with a few injuries, there was something about hearing stories from other trail runners that was pulling me to give it a shot.

It all starts for me the night before whereby I would go through the ritual of preparing all of the gear for the day ahead and be reminded of a child preparing to go in a school trip. The apprehension also starts to kick in and I begin to worry about whether I will be able to keep up with everyone one else and the fear of not fitting in, knowing that we would be spending a great length of time together. That was soon forgotten though as I’ve found that with running in a club, everyone is  incredibly supportive and if similar mindsets. I can honestly say that over the 5 months training for the UTA, I got to share some amazing experiences with an incredible group of people.

The hardest battle for me was the mental one, on the road I can almost program myself onto autopilot and just let the legs do the work, whereas out in the trail I had to be constantly present. This often meant a lot more battles with the inner voice trying to tell me to give up or confronting me with a version of myself that I didn’t particularly like. But what I loved was the sense of conquering those demons by the end of the run and feeling incredibly strong. Crossing the finishing line at the blue mountains, I got to experience the elusive runners high like no other and gave me the belief that anything is possible to achieve. If I can do it, anyone can.

Todays run was a couple of laps round Manly Dam, a real local gem that I only recently knew existed after 2 years of living here. As the saying goes, what happens on the trails stays on the trails but always expect the unexpected and it’s guaranteed to always be an adventure.

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Run, repeat, REST and run

Posted by on Jul 27, 2016 in Running | 1 comment

Run, repeat, REST and run

This was meant to be my first blog about the Wednesday run from Manly Beach Surf Club to Curl Curl…..however….

My normal Wednesday run has been rudely interrupted by a travelling husband. Being a mom of twin toddlers and with no family to call on to babysit at 5.30am (would that really be acceptable anyway?), I had to sit this week’s run out. So, instead of getting grumpy and annoyed, I used this as a rest day and actually rested – as much as one can with crazy toddlers running around.

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As much as I love waking up and going for a run, or working out, each morning, it is really important for me to remember that the occasional rest day helps me be a better and more effective runner in the long run.

The importance of rest is often spoken about on our morning runs. It is easy to just ignore the conversations or the advice (especially when you love to run and socialise as much as I do), but the consequence of not listening can be injury, burn out and over training.

Like with every type of training, the body needs time to repair and regenerate. You don’t see a body builder or a weight trainer working the same muscle over and over and over again, day in and day out. So, the same should be said for runners. Legs get tired, arms get sore, shoulders get tight and after a while, the body just starts to break down.  To be a great long distance runner, you need to take those breaks and you need to do it weekly.

I am not going to pretend to be the expert (or a preacher who always listens to my own advice), I am not a trained Coach, I am not a physician and I don’t have a degree in working out, however I know what I hear and I know it to be true. I would encourage everyone to talk to a professional (like Coach Joe) about the importance of rest. Over training can seriously set you back months in your training if you don’t listen to your body (and your coach!).

This morning I slept in, I got the kids up and ready for the day and I took them and the dog and strolled up and down the beachfront instead of running it and pounding the pavement at full bolt. I also managed to dash into a café and grab my morning coffee.

So, as much as I love to run and I love to work out, I encourage you all to take a day off (occasionally at least) and let your body have a little rest. You can still grab a coffee and talk to yourself if you really do need that socialisation. 🙂

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