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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 😀

 

 

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!

Race day prep tips for your marathon #GCAM15

30 Jun

Wow it has been an interesting week this week. In addition to of course counting down to the Gold Coast Marathon my grandad back in the Uk hasn’t been well, my son ended up at hospital and I had a car crash! Everyone is fine but it sure took my mind off the fact that the marathon is this weekend!

It really took a lot to put my running shoes back on and get back into it all but I’m now back focused on the goal and can’t wait. It’s actually come around really quickly.

Race day tips Gold Coast Airport Marathon 2015

Lay your kit out the night before

One of the best things I have learned is to lay all my kit out the night before so everything is ready the next morning and you don’t need to start racing around looking for things. Make sure your running watch/music player if using them are charged up and ready to go too.

If you need a map to get to the race make sure you have that to hand too.

Prep for the weather

If it is likely to be cold then take a shirt you don’t mind throwing away (or if someone will be coming to watch – give it to them before you start) so you can keep warm in the line up. If it is a warm day then make sure you aren’t overdressed!

Generally if I have trained in the cold and it is a warm day I take it very easy as your body may not be used to the heat and you could have issues with dehydration so be careful.

Make sure you are hydrated the night before and eat!Take water when you run - the girl that runs

No further comment about this. You will know what you need to be hydrated by now and also what foods you are eating the night before and on the day. I generally will eat 1-2 hours before as well as have some water and then I have to make sure I have been to the toilet before the race otherwise there will need to be a couple of stops along the way!

Don’t try anything new 

Race day is not the time to open the new trainers for the first time, new kit or energy gels. Everything you do, eat, wear should be tried and tested.

Don’t get caught up in the moment at the start 

I get very nervous at races and then my adrenalin kicks in and it is so tempting to fly off when you feel good but trust me I have learned the hard way from doing that. I ran one marathon’s first 1km 2 minutes quicker than I had been doing in training and seriously suffered. Don’t get caught up – stick to the pace you have trained at and maybe at the end in the last few km (you know your body however – this is just my opinion) push if you feel like you can.

Struggling with motivation in the race?

I do a number of things such as keep someone else in my sights in front of me and follow them – they are generally running my pace but further ahead.

Or

Stick to one of the pacers for the race. Some people stick to the exact time they want to finish in, others go a bit above so that they can drop down if needed. The pacers are great for motivation and there is usually a good group of people running with them.

Or

Get hold of a pace bracelet. The Gold Coast give them out or if they don’t have them at your race you could make your own so if you are going for a time you know you can glance at your pace to make sure you are on time. I’m not going for a time in this race so I won’t be worrying about it but I know there are a lot of people that want to achieve certain times so this is a great way to make sure you do.Above average runner

Enjoy the race and good luck!

It’s hard to say enjoy the race but I figure you have been training long enough for it – try and enjoy it a little bit at least 🙂 And good luck !!

Tips for maintaining a positive mindset during marathon training #GCAM15

15 Jun The Finish Line

I had a bit of a not so great week last week. After all the trials with my foot and not having run a decent long run; on Tuesday night I then got sick. I’d been outside for too long at night wheeling my son up and down a cold foyer and the next morning I woke up unable to even get my head off the pillow. I couldn’t believe it! I couldn’t be sick not 3.5 weeks out to the marathon and it was my birthday week 😦

So basically Weds, Thurs, Fri and some of Saturday were spent in bed sick coughing, spluttering and sleeping – and my husband got sick on Thursday too so at least I had some company! We spent the day sharing medicine, sleeping and watching TV! whilst my son got to play and have a ball in daycare. I managed to get out with the girls for a few hours on Saturday night to celebrate my birthday (not quite sure how – it might have been the glass of wine that helped!) and then yesterday again was spent on the couch feeling sorry for myself.

Hitting rock bottom 

I got to a low yesterday and decided that was it – I wasn’t going to run at all or I would downgrade to the half marathon as I was so stressed that I just don’t have enough time. A couple of my friends reminded me why i was doing the race and that it was never going to be about time. Roger my running trainer said I can do it, and my lovely ultra runner friend Zayne told me what she would do at this stage which was really helpful and convinced me I can do it – even if I have to walk some of it.

I was never in this for the time, it was about having a goal and getting back into running after bub being born. It was about doing something for me and feeling like I had achieved something in training,  and it was about encouraging other runners thinking about running a marathon that are not that fast that anything is possible even after having a baby within the year.

Coulda Shoulda Woulda 

It’s so easy to say “if this” and “if that” but life is life and  we deal with whatever is thrown at us. I decided I could choose to quit or i could choose to push on regardless and who cares about the time. I really don’t. I did for a long time but now I don’t.

Tips for keeping a positive mindset when your race is looming 

I couldn’t write a post like this without a few tips 🙂 I did write some in a previous post but these tips are more from a mental mindset point of view

Be positive 

If you feel like you are not motivated or need a pep talk – call a friend and a good one that understands. I found that my perspective was completely different to my friends and whilst I have been concentrating on having not done well – a couple of my friends reminded me that actually within a year I have had a baby and come back and trained for a marathon and that’s actually pretty good.

Write things down 

I like to look over my progress and look back at where I was and where I am now. In January I was unable to run 5k – now in June I can run 36 and will be running 42k in July!  A training journal is a great help. I got sent one from Journal Menu which is great to record training manually rather than electronically 🙂 and again see how far you have come and also make notes on each session as to how you are feeling.

Focus on the end goal 

Try not to worry about anyone else’s training and focus on your own and also that it isn’t forever. There is an end date – focus on it and try not to worry about pressures around you. On the day just focus on what you have trained to do and if you have to walk or if you are slower than you anticipated think about the people that haven’t even got up out of bed yet and give yourself a big pat on the back 🙂

So I think I am in for a very tough race but you just have to go for it right? let those negative thoughts disappear and think about the achievement….and the finish line!

3 weeks to go – bring it on!

Running Kit for a Marathon #GCAM15 @runstopshop

9 Jun

Hope you had a great week of long running. It’s been a bit stressful for me with my son having a terrible time of teething, getting a cold right before my long run and still suffering a bit with my foot. I am determined I am going to push on through the race and so have been really focussing on what I am intending to wear.

Being a RunStopShop Ambassador meant I got sent some cool kit to wear on the day so I have been busy using it and finely tuning it. So this post is about the kit I will be wearing and how I have found it as well as what to bear in mind with kit for marathons in my experience.

Adidas Techfit Moulded Bra

running kit for marathon

Getting ready for my long run at the weekend in my kit.

RunStopShop sent me a lovely purple Adidas Techfit Moulded bra. Initially it was too big for me so I ended up going down a size and once I had done that found it to be comfortable. I tend to wear a sports bra that is more like a bra usually so this was different.

I’ve run in it a lot and have found it to be comfortable across all runs. I am not convinced it would be suitable for someone with a lot up top running as the ‘girls’  move around a bit but for me it works well and this is a definite for the race. Not that anyone sees it but I love the colour too.  You can remove the pads too to help it dry quicker when washing or if you generally don’t need them!

Adidas

Adidas techfit moulded bra

Adidas Supernova Climachill Tank

Of all the things that RunStopShop sent to me this is my favourite. It is so unbelievably comfortable and not being one for hugely bright dayglo colours I love the colouring which is a very dark grey with a hint of colour in the blue on the top of the top. The fabric is really comfortable and moulds to fit the body which I like. I am not keen on things flapping around or constantly having to be pulled down so this top for me is perfect. It’s a little bit big now as I have lost some weight but still is very comfortable. This is on my race day list.

Adidas Tank

Adidas Tank

Saucony Women’s Bullet Capri leggings 

Initially RunStopShop sent me a pair of tights by another brand but I didn’t get on too well with them having generous thighs! So they sent me some Saucony leggings and to be honest whilst I have run in Saucony shoes I had never used their clothing before but I was pleasantly surprised with these leggings. They are so comfortable. I am used to wearing compression pants so these were a change as you don’t get that pull.

Whilst I have been training i have suffered awful chafing too around the groin area and I haven’t had to continue wearing my Body Glide as there has been no chafing. I would say they are great for people like me with thighs that are shapely and not skinny as the fabric has a lot of give and is comfortable. I also found unlike some other pants I have I don’t constantly have to be pulling them up/down to get them comfortable.  The other thing I like about these pants is that they have pockets either side which I have been using to put one or two of my gels in on longer runs and they also don’t have a drawstring that you end up losing the string to pull the tights together – there is no way you can lose the string – a definitely like from me.

Saucony Bullet Capri

Saucony Bullet Capri

Steigen performance socks 

I haven’t tried Steigen socks before and have worn them a few times in my training. I am still trying to sort out my foot issues which I have written about in previous posts so am playing around with my socks. The Steigen in my opinion are very comfortable, light and a little bit glossy. They are a good price for a performance sock at $16.95 a pair and come in some great colours as well as giving arch support. Because I have had to have strapping and taping on my foot I haven’t worn them as much as I could as I have been trying to stick with what I know and not rocking the boat too much with my feet. They are on my list for the moment for training and I have to see how my foot goes.

Steigen Performance Socks

Steigen Performance Socks

Adidas Sequence Boost shoes 

It has been a bit trickier with my shoes because of my problem I had with my orthotic rubbing and causing a hassle on my foot. I have been wearing both my usual Kayano and the Adidas Sequence Boost that RunStopShop sent to me. The Adidas Sequence is a very light shoe from the Boost series with some stability. Love the colour and they are comfortable. I would say from wearing them that they are great for people with wide feet as the front of the shoe is very generous in terms of room for your foot.  They are a reasonable price compared to a lot of trainers out there now so are worth a look at when you next need some shoes.

Training kit

Sequence Boost shoes

compresssport visor

My visor is black but it didn’t photograph very well so I am using this one to show you what it looks like

CompressSport Visor 

I have to admit I had never worn a visor before so when RunStopShop sent me one as part of my pack I kind of looked at it and thought – hmm I’m not sure about that! I have noticed more runners wearing them but never thought to invest in one myself. Anyway I have given it a go and will be wearing it on race day as it’s actually pretty good.

It felt a bit weird being used to wearing a cap that covers the head but it was comfortable, gave plenty of coverage sun wise yet a nice breeze on the top of the head!

So this is my race kit so far I am still trying to sort out all the other bits I need and whether to run with my Camelbak or my Fuelbelt and what I need to take with me.

Have a great week of running, I’ll be posting more soon!