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How to be a good running buddy

17 Mar

I was wondering what to write about in my latest blog post, and my running friend Sam and I were chatting about something on our 18k run at the weekend, and I decided I would write my post today about it – how to be a good running buddy.

There are lots of posts out there about the benefits of having a running buddy and running with people but none saying how to be a good one…so that’s my post for today.

I have not always been a good running buddy and I think I could still do better – but in training for my half marathon coming up this weekend, I have been running with a number of people, and it has taught me to look at my training differently when not running on my own. It is very easy to be caught up in your own training but when you decide to run with someone else it isn’t just about you.

Running with friends

Be supportive

When you are running with someone else be mindful that it isn’t just you running especially if it is just the two of you. Stick by your partner and whoever is the slowest – run at their pace – simple as that.

I used to run with a friend who simply couldn’t run side by side of me – she had to be ever so slightly in front of me at all times, and it actually made me quite depressed and not confident in my running after a while.

I am quite used to running alone and realised last year when I ran the River Run and the Bridge to Brisbane that actually I wasn’t that good at running with other people so I have been working on it. I ran a lot of my longer runs for the Gold Coast Marathon training however with my lovely friend Karen and then this year have been with my friend Sam, and I am fine 1:1 but any more than that and I struggle.

running buddies

Karen and I training for the Gold Coast Marathon last year – lots of laughs and giggles along the way

If there are more than two of you then sure stretch your legs and trot off if you need to but I feel from a  safety point of view and a social point of view if there are just two of you then run together whether it is too slow for you or not. In a longer run that speed isn’t too much of an issue as often it is about time on legs anyway.

Running can be a time to let off steam and chat about things especially on a long run when you might have 2 hours to chat.

Don’t zone out

I used to be the worst at this.

I would show up to a group run and then plug my headphones in and ignore everyone and concentrate on my own run. I don’t do this now as I figure I should have run on my own if that’s what i intended to do.

If you are running with someone else don’t be ignorant – be social and interact with them. There is plenty of time to plug into your headphones when training alone – or you could just plug in at the end when pushing on to the end – but it really doesn’t create the right impression when running with someone – unless you are both plugging in of course….

Show up

When running with someone else remember if you don’t feel like running- tough – if you decide you don’t want to run at the last minute you are letting your friend down and potentially ruining their run as well as yours, and often if someone is running with someone it’s because they need the motivation.

Of course if you are sick it can’t be helped – but try and give as much notice as you can.

running buddies

My lovely friend Sam and I after our 18k run at the weekend. I don’t think I would have run if I was running alone!

Be on time 

Try and be as on time as you can. I used to run with a larger group when I first moved to Brisbane and I didn’t have my driving licence so used to cycle to meet everyone before running, and I was always the one that was late or very close to being late and I know it probably really grated on people that had bothered to get there early. So I figure if you really want to keep your running friends happy and respectful of you – be on time nor even better – be early!

 

Have fun and work hard 🙂

I find when running with someone else it always motivates me to work harder but I also enjoy the company, and often it is the only time I get to catch up with my friends so make the most of your runs with friends and enjoy it 🙂

Anyway these are my thoughts on being a good running buddy. If you have any other tips feel free to share!

Have a great week !

 

Let’s make 2016 an awesome year!

31 Dec

I am sat on New Year’s Eve with a smile on my face.

No it’s not because I have lots of things planned for the evening – (my night will be pretty boring actually) but it is because I am allowed to run again! I went to the physio yesterday and he says there is enough improvement that I can run and gradually build up ready for my half marathon in March and then my marathon later on this year.

I’m allowed to do two sessions this week of 2-3km and the following two weeks three to four sessions of 3-4km. I know it will be hard to stick to those distances and to not be tempted to go further if I feel good but I am going to try and stick to it as I know the ultimate prize is being able to run normally again.

Happy New Year 1

Looking back over the year

Looking back on the last year it has been quite challenging.  I pretty much started from scratch back in January 2015 after not running properly for a while, and trained for and ran the Gold Coast Marathon  (thanks to my elite runner friend Roger getting me through and my friend Nadia for being there supporting me the night before!) as well as being their Advocate and worked with RunStopShop also. It was so much fun and I remember being so nervous getting up on the stage to chat at the Legends Lunch – what a fun time it was, and then running the race after all my blister issues – what a drama that was!!

I then ran the River Run 100k relay with my friend Shaun and his friends, and then the Bridge to Brisbane dressed as a French maid, and then over to the UK to see family and managed to run my second Park Run and the Birmingham Half Marathon whilst there which was great fun.

I also started writing as a guest blogger for Azumio™ who are an international health app market leader which was really exciting.

So all in all it has been a great year of getting back into running longer distances, having fun running with friends and feeling better when it comes to exercise again.

Screen Shot 2015-07-06 at 3.07.23 pm

Posing after the Gold Coast Marathon with Benita Willis – she was so encouraging 🙂

2016 – goals and challenges

I said in my last blog post that I had a lot of goals to achieve in 2016 and I have added another one to the list – an 8 week challenge run by my lovely friend Nadia at NADU Fitness. I figured – start on the right footing with food and exercise and kick start the year.

What are your goals for 2016?

I am a very goal driven person so always need to have goals set otherwise I become demotivated. I’m so excited about this year as so many of my friends have set themselves challenges and it’s going to be great to support them and see them achieve them!

2016 running goals

Write them down!

If you are a goal person like me and are struggling with what you’d like to achieve why not write them down – simply write down what you want to try and do – whether it is to run for the first time, to run a ParkRun or running race or to improve or run your first Marathon.

Pin them up!

I find writing things down and pinning them up somewhere I constantly see them helps me focus on the objective!

Reward yourself

Rewarding yourself too is a great way to keep on track – I am intending on buying a new Garmin in 2016 – probably the Garmin 235 and so I want to complete my 8 week challenge and that will be my reward to myself at the end. Rewards don’t have to be as extravagant but it could be a new gym top, or something you’ve wanted to do – or simply a chocolate bar (in moderation of course ;-D).

Anyway – have a great start to your 2016. I’ve got lots of new ideas for my blog to share with you so watch this space.

Happy running 🙂

Struggling to get back into running….

1 Dec

Last week wasn’t the best week. 

In fact since I got back from my trip overseas 5 weeks ago things haven’t exactly gone according to plan! The plan was to get back, get the 1kg off that I gained, get back into running and really push the training. Three things happened:

  1. I got sick
  2. It was hot
  3. My feet deteriorated

I got sick

Ever since I got back from my UK trip I haven’t been feeling the best, and then I got sick. I figured after a week I would improve but I didnt. My husband has been the same – thankfully bub hasn’t been sick. I went along to my doctor and she said – “there is unfortunately no cure for the common cold – just ride it out!” so I sucked it up and have done but it has lingered and I am kind of over it – not even being able to sing in the shower these days as my throat is still mucussy!

It was hot 

Running in the heat

I have been trying to escape the heat by running under trees and around the lake where I live

So when I got back from it being 11 degrees in the UK it was late 30s here and I wanted to cry. I did a number of ParkRuns which were a disaster mainly due to the heat and the climate just being hotter and of course coming back from not being very well.

The heat has always been a killer for me. Living in the UK for 33 years means I love running in the cold and I did love it when running back home on my holiday. But Queensland and I always battle when it comes to heat and humidity. I have therefore resigned myself to the fact that I will never be a quick runner in summer here!

My feet deteriorated

Screen Shot 2015-12-01 at 1.05.04 pm

My poor feet had a going over but they are getting better now 🙂

When I completed the Gold Coast Marathon back in July this year I had pain in my feet when I finished. I took my trainers off and low and behold there were two giant blisters underneath the tow nail – not the skin on the foot but the nail – ugh! It was unbelievably painful and I have been battling it ever since.

I didn’t want to go to my Podiatrist as I really didn’t want someone messing with my feet (I have ticklish feet!) – even when I had to strap them up before the Marathon it was tricky. But basically the toe situation escalated and went a bit yukky to the point the pain was unbearable and even having a sheet draped on my feet was agony.

So I called Doug my Podiatrist at InTraining last week, and went in to get fixed. It ended up with 4 injections in my toes but a whole lot of relief! The main pain was the injections going in but since then no pain – yay! I have some antibiotics to work through and then hopefully I am all good!

There is a Happy Ending I Promise! 

So I didn’t train over the weekend and ran 5k yesterday and 7.5k today – both were slow because of the heat and toes sore from injections but I am happy – finally feeling better feet wise and cold wise – I just need to get through the heat of summer, and have decided I have to just embrace it as it isn’t going away and accept that my training and races will be slower – but I am ok with that 😀

 

 

Ideas for what to do post marathon

14 Jul

The last week or so has been a roller coaster. I was interviewed at the Garmin Legends Lunch at the Gold Coast Airport Marathon and then ran the Marathon and then it all came to a standstill.

After I crossed the finish line there was an initial high of sharing my news that I had finished and was very happy with my time and having done it, I ordered my photos and relived my weekend with friends and my husband but then I woke up on the weekend thinking:

“ok what happens now?.”

I suddenly realised I hadn’t thought this far along. I had been concentrating so much on training for the marathon and preparing myself for the lunch but I hadn’t prepared myself for when it was all over and I felt a bit down. Suddenly there was no need to stick to a schedule or run 5 times a week and even get my foot strapped.

I would imagine there are probably a lot of people that are feeling like this now. There is the elation of having finished, and no more nightmare 30-36k runs but at the same time that purpose has gone and it is time to find something new.

I’m all good now and did a great session at the Kangaroo Point stairs with lovely friends on Sunday and was pumped again but it was a strange feeling.

Setting goals 

I am a very goal driven person so I have decided it’s time to set some goals again to stay motivated. I want to lose a little bit of weight, work on building some muscle as well as go back to basics and run some shorter races – so 5ks, 10ks and a half or two in the next 12 months as well as mastering the Kangaroo Point Stairs that I ran at the weekend. It will seem strange running less distance  but I know it is not necessarily easier as potentially I will be running faster.

Below are some thoughts I have explored in the last few days about how to stay motivated after the marathon/big event you have been training is over – so if you have been or are feeling the same way as me they might help:

Ideas for what to do post Marathon

what's your post marathon challenge?

A bigger challenge?

I have a number of friends who started running marathons and then had a real taste for them and went one step further and got into ultra marathons. If you finish your marathon and still want more then maybe this is an option to think about or perhaps triathlons and the ultimate Ironman! It’s not for me – the marathons I ran were hard and the thought of running any further than that makes me feel quite faint!

Different terrain

I have on a  number of occasions enjoyed trail running and used to run up Mount Cootha both on the road and on the trails. My friends that used to do that have unfortunately left Brisbane so I no longer do it but maybe after running a marathon you might want to try something new and venture into trail running – quite different to road running but lots of fun.

Different place

Fancy another marathon but not the same one. There are literally hundreds all around the country/world. I have done 5 marathons in 5 different countries and it makes the goal and excitement even more as you are working towards a goal and a holiday!  If you are a beginner marathon runner I would seriously consider giving yourself a fair while off training for another one though. Don’t rush straight back into another one in a months time unless you know your body very well. I did it after my first marathon and crashed and burned spectacularly!

Different distance?

Now that the marathon is finished if you aren’t keen to do another one then think about trying a different distance. Running shorter distances is great for getting quicker in your overall running times, maybe that is something to consider.

Enjoy just running for a while?

If you are a content person that doesn’t need goals then why not just enjoy running for a while without the pressure of a race coming up? Me personally I can’t do that as it would be very easy to not run!

I did it! I ran my 5th Marathon – The Gold Coast Marathon :-) #GCAM15 Race recap

6 Jul
At the finish with my bub :-)

At the finish with my bub 🙂

Yesterday I ran my 5th full marathon – the Gold Coast Marathon.

This time last year my son was 2 months old and my goal before he was born was to give birth, and then when allowed to: get back into my running and train to run a marathon and I did it!

RunStopShop fuelled my challenge by inviting me to choose a marathon in Australia I wanted to run and they would support me which they did. So I had no excuse to not do it right! If you have been following my blog for a while you will know that I decided upon the Gold Coast Airport Marathon and was also invited to be one of their Advocates – meaning I got to speak at their Legends Lunch too.

So it’s been a whirlwind of a weekend.

Garmin Legends Lunch 

I was so nervous before the lunch. The thought of getting up in front of 300 people including elite athletes and talking about my journey was terrifying. My friend Nadia coaxed me into the room and my legs went to jelly when I saw the MC for the day Channel 7’s Sunrise Sports presenter Mark Beretta. But you know it was actually great and I got to meet one of my Twitter Friends Scott and also to meet some amazing people including Steve Moneghetti, Rob De Costella, Benita Willis, Lee Troop and other RunStopShop Ambassador Portia Large.

Garmin Legends Lunch

Being on the stage being interviewed was a bit of a blur. I think I did ok and I remember people laughing with me (not at me) so hopefully it was all good!

Being on the stage was a blur and I vaguely remember saying about being in labour and telling my husband I was going to run a marathon and people laughing but other than that I was quite nervous so don’t remember much, but after the event a few people came up and said they really resonated with what I had said and I was really touched.

Garmin Legends Lunch

On the stage with some amazing people including Steve Moneghetti, Benita Willis, Lee Troop, Rob De Castello, Pat Carroll and Portia Large.

Expo

Then it was off to the Expo to collect my race pack and to get my foot strapped for one final time by Doug at InTraining. Just getting my race number made me nervous and I am so glad Nadia was with me as I might have been tempted to run at that point. The guys at Intraining have been great helping me with my foot. I really thought a couple of months back that I might not even be able to run because of my whopping blister that caused a whole load of problems but foot got strapped and I was ready to go.

The night before

I was quite anxious the night before the race. It suddenly hit me that the next day I was going to run another marathon and I was concerned I might not make it. Lots of positive affirmations later and I was laying out my clothes. Nadia and I went for a walk to find some food; and a pizza, loads of water and garlic bread later I was stuffed. We went to bed just after 9pm and I had had the hotel set a call for 4am as RunStopShop’s Simon wanted me at the start for 5am so I could get a pic with Portia before her race! My race didn’t start until 7.20 so I figured I’d go to the hospitality pavilion after which the Gold Coast Marathon team had kindly given me access to as an Advocate.

Having fun with Nadia the day before the race

Having fun with Nadia the day before the race

The big day 

So the alarm went and I had a whinge to Nadia about the time and then eventually hauled myself out of bed. I had a terrible nights sleep mainly just because I was so nervous. Got ready, managed to force myself to eat my porridge and Nadia drove me to as close as we could get – I don’t know how she kept her cool as I was stressed beyond stressed.

Raced to find 99 Bikes which was where I was meeting Simon and Portia and we went to get our photo taken – it was crazy at this point – people everywhere, queues for toilets, people pinning on badges etc. We walked Portia to her start line and then it was off to chill in the hospitality pavilion which was great – no queues for toilets, water, food (although I just had a banana) and a perfect view of the finish line….I saw the winner come in and then had to go to my start line – a nervous wreck at this point.

At the hotel waiting for the lift to go to the race

At the hotel waiting for the lift to go to the race

The Race 

The start of the race was a bit of a blur. I got my watch ready and waited for the start to happen. They were a minute or so late and then it all kicked off. I was a bit back so it took a couple of minutes to get over the start line and then I was off! I tried to keep an even pace and not race off at the start and just keep things steady so I was constantly looking at my watch to get a good rhythm and to ensure I wasn’t going too fast. I found at about 3k suddenly my foot started hurting where the strapping was and I really thought I would have to stop but then it seemed to calm down and disappeared completely.

The heat was a bit of an issue as our race didn’t start until 7.20am and it was actually quite warm. I was very thankful for training later at lunch times and as late as I could in training to make sure I was ok with the heat. I did see some people going down from the heat throughout the race however 😦

Stitch

I took an energy gel 20 minutes before the race and then once the race started every 50 minutes afterwards so things were going ok and I felt pretty good. I saw one of my friends Maria at the 8k mark and that gave me a real lift.

I got to 21k and thats when things started to hurt. I felt a bit nauseous and suddenly my stomach was not feeling so great and I got stitch. I slowed down and pushed through it but then howled out in pain and had to walk. A lovely girl came up and stopped running to check I was ok and gave me some encouraging words to push through the stitch and then I was back running again.

Then it happened again and I at that point felt like I just wanted to quit. I was crying at one of the water stations but something in me just said – you cannot quit. You have waited and trained so long for this just suck it up and push on. A guy who had been ahead of me and then following me came up and put his hand on my shoulder and comforted me and then I was off again and fine.

Beautiful Views

I loved the views by the sea. The Gold Coast is a truly beautiful landscape and the breeze from the sea was wonderful. The course was nice and flat bar a very slight incline towards Runaway Bay. It was a psychological battle once we got to the sections where the faster athletes were coming down the road the opposite way and you realised how far you had to run to get to where they were – but I think I shut down for a while and just got on with it.

I got to just before 30k and things were a struggle but I just focussed and told myself – get to 30k come on and then get to 35k and then when you get to 37k you only have 5k left and then at 40 only 2! So I pushed on.

Running Community 

As I was approaching just over 39.5k I could see the 40km sign way up ahead (I’m long sighted!) and I needed a breather and figured I would walk this last bit and then run the rest of the way to the finish. I spotted a guy who looked in trouble and I walked with him. I said to him – “you see that sign up there – that is the 40km mark.” He looked at me as if to say – yes so what? and I said “when we get to that sign we are going to run to the finish.” He kind of looked at me as if to say ‘ yeah ok. We reached 40km and he looked at me and I said “come on – go and get to that finish line!” and he ran like crazy and I never saw him again – so I am confident he finished!

That’s what I love about the running community – people help you; you help them. I ran pretty much the rest of the way and got to 41k, stopped and had a bit of a cry and then carried on. It was a cry of sheer relief that I only had 1k to go and I was going to finish. As I carried on more and more people appeared – and a lot of them. I pushed on and actually saw one of my friends Karen – she had done the half marathon earlier – she hadn’t seen me. I tapped her on the arm said “hey” and then I took off – that was my trigger to finish and I sprinted like a mad woman. Right at the finish my husband and son were there and my husband said “you did amazing” and I just cried and hobbled through the exit section.

Posing after the race with Benita Willis - she was so encouraging :-)

Posing after the race with Benita Willis – she was so encouraging 🙂

Posing with Steve Moneghetti after the race.

Posing with Steve Moneghetti after the race.

What an experience! I haven’t really talked about time – as for me it was never about the time. It was about coming back to running after not training for a while because of being pregnant and showing myself and other people that you can do anything you put your mind to if you believe in yourself.  I finished the race in 4:35 which I was really pleased with because I never even thought I would get to the finish line at one point.

I’m so thankful for all the support I have had both online and offline and the people I have met through this amazing journey – you are all very special 🙂

So what now?

I’m having a rest today but I am planning to do some walking and maybe a short run at the weekend and then the next thing on the calendar is the Bridge to Brisbane 🙂 See you there?

The Marathon is in less than 2 days! #GCAM15 @runstopshop

3 Jul

So the time has finally come and tomorrow I head to the Gold Coast to the Legends Lunch as Gold Coast Marathon Advocate where I will be interviewed on the stage by Steve Moneghetti for a couple of minutes, I’ll then go to the Expo and pick up my race number and pop to see the guys at Intraining to get my foot strapped up just to ensure my pesky blister scarring doesn’t cause too many issues on Sunday and then my friend and I intend to relax somewhere that doesn’t involve moving too much!

I can’t believe the race is here already. I am very nervous – initially more at having to get up in front of people tomorrow, and then it will be nerves before the race so I will be glad to get moving and running on the day and give it my best shot.

Time

Lots of people have asked – “what time are you going for?.” My response has been “i’m not. I just want to enjoy it and finish.” I have had a fair few issues along the way in training with my foot and being sick so I decided not to set myself up. I always knew it wouldn’t be a quick race for me – I just wanted the challenge of running it and getting my fitness back and I have done that – well the fitness part – I still have to run the race!

Kit

I pretty much have my kit all sorted with my clothes from RunStopShop all ready. I made sure I have packed extra plasters just in case, plenty of tunes in case I need a push and I still can’t decide whether to run with my backpack or my Fuelbelt. I’ve got lots of energy gels just in case I need a further boost on the way round. I’m not good with caffeine so the orange Science in Sport ones are the only ones I could find that worked with my unreliable tummy. Kit for the marathon

I really appreciate my husband and all my friends and professionals that have supported me – who have had to listen to my ups and downs and had to reassure me along the way – I’m sure they will be glad as much as I will when the race is over 🙂

So now it’s time to relax, there is nothing more I can do – just to enjoy the experience, sit back, relax and bring it on on Sunday 🙂 I’ll let you know how it goes 🙂

Happy Running!

Marathon Countdown – less than two weeks to go! #GCAM15

25 Jun

marathon prepWow I can’t believe it – it’s less than two weeks until the Gold Coast Marathon. What a roller coast ride it has been! I’m almost there now. Tapering off on my longer runs and gearing up to go.

The flu  that I had has gone now – yay and my shoe issue is 90% sorted. I’m still playing around with strapping to ensure that the skin where the whopping blister was doesn’t rub whilst I am running and I think I almost have that sorted. Have decided on my kit for the race so that’s all good so now I just have the Legends Lunch to get through the day before – I will be interviewed for 5 mins on the stage (very nervous) and then it’s just a matter of finishing the race!

So below are some tips based on what I have been done and done in the past at this stage with a race around the corner:

Tips for when the marathon is on your doorstep 

Taper

By now whatever program you have been following you should be well into tapering off in your training. Your long long runs should well and truly be a thing of the past. It is tempting if your sessions haven’t gone well to try and squeeze some long runs in but don’t. I was so tempted a week or so ago to attempt another 30-36k but my running trainer was quite firm and said no. So I listened to him and I didn’t. My legs feel fairly strong and it’s just psychological now – convincing myself I can finish the race.

Carbs

I’m not going to profess to be an expert on nutrition or carb loading. There are lots of theories re carb loading etc.  and if it is something you want to do properly have a chat with your trainer or Runners World has a great article on Carb loading. I have been ensuring I am eating enough carbs as, as being someone that generally follows a low carb high fat diet I have had to really up my carb intake and have been eating oats, rice and a small amount of bread.

Check final details 

Check the race website to ensure you know where you are going on race day, how long it will take you to get there and all the details such as baggage drop areas and where the water stations are etc.

Gels

SIS Energy Gel

SIS Energy Gel – I use these as they don’t have caffeine in them and a lot of gels do unfortunately.

Buy your race gels if you are using them and not using the official race ones and make sure you have decided what you are having for breakfast and have tried and tested it and got a stock in for the week/night before. I am using SIS (Science in Sport) ones because their orange flavour has no added caffeine and I can’t have caffeine too much and I have had no adverse effects with using them so I am sticking with them. The only issue is they are a bit bulky so I think I will be running with my Camelbak!

Sort your tunes 

If you are planning on running with a music player sort out your music now so you don’t find you are scrambling around at the last minute and also if you are staying somewhere overnight the night before make sure you pack the charger for your music player!

Breathe!

This is what I am trying to do at the moment – trying not to be nervous about the race and trying not to put too many expectations on myself. I used to get so nervous before a race I would almost vomit. Determined not to this time!

I’m sure I have missed things that other people do, this is what I am doing at the moment and like I always say I am not a qualified expert I am writing from experience – so any hesitations about your training please make sure you consult a professional.