Tag Archives: Brisbane races

My First Road Race Running On Low Carb High Fats

12 Jun

I haven’t written for a while as life again has been pretty crazy, and then coming down with a cold it hasn’t been much fun in the last week.

I thought I would continue on from my last post and talk you through the recent City to South race I ran – my first proper road race (not counting one park run) run on Low Carb High Fat (LCHF) eating.

I have to say I was pretty daunted at the prospect of running 14k in race conditions  without my usual plan of having carbs a few days before and on the day of the race, but I trusted my banting coach and went for it.

Race Prep

My usual race prep would have been have carbs the night before, along with plenty of water and then in the morning my breakfast of carbs – a banana and oats. This time the night before I had a normal dinner of protein, fats and vegetables, and then in the morning I had – a coffee with three tablespoons of cream – a bit of a difference!

I was meant to have some salt water an hour before the race and I forgot. It is meant to help with cramping. I had it around my waist in one of my bottles and only realised later when during the race I took a swig and almost gagged!

The Race 

city to south

All smiles before the race

So my lovely friend Sam and I parked and made our way to the start of the race. I was fairly calm – had my two toilet visits (my running ritual!) and was ready to go! It was really cold, and the race was a couple of minutes starting and then we were off!

I found to begin with that I felt good. I kept a solid and comfortable pace a little it under what I thought I could run and plugged into my iPod and settled into the race. There were plenty of people running and it bottle necked a bit, but I was doing an ok pace.

I have come to terms with the fact that my running times whilst adapting to fat and LCHF way of life are slower. I have dropped almost 30 secs off my usual per km pace but haven’t been stressing about it. So I got through the first few km and was feeling ok.

By the time I got to 5k I started to feel a little bit fatigued. I saw Sam and she looked good and I realised I might be pushing too hard so I slowed a little bit to prepare myself for the hills, and whereas I used to power up the hills I found myself slowing right down to chug up the hills and to keep a good endurance level.

Hills, Hills and More Hills 

I found the race quite hilly, and my mind started to play tricks on me and convince me that without the carbs it was a disaster so I started to wane a bit as the hills came and went. I found myself telling myself I wasn’t going to be able to get around the distance and what was I thinking trying to race on low carbs, and it was a real battle but I pushed on determined to finish. Some of the hills were pretty tough but I just slowed down and chugged up whilst people passed me.

I found with my legs that they didn’t feel as bouncy as they usually did in a race. I am assuming that was lack of carbohydrate…who knows but it wasn’t impossible but it just felt that little bit harder when I tried to push. I have heard with LCHF however that endurance improves but the ability to sprint can be reduced.

What happened to team spirit?

One of the things that really disappointed me in the race was the team spirit of some of the runners. I saw a young guy struggling as I was running, he was walking with his head bent on the side of the road. I saw him from afar and could see that he was in distress, yet no-one stopped to check if he was ok. I think it must have been the ‘mum’ in me and as I got closer to him I checked if he was ok and he said ‘No’. He looked really sad and like he was beaten down – it was a tough course and I think he had over estimated how fast he could run. I asked him if he wanted me to get some help but he said he would carry on walking and urged me to carry on running which in the end I did – but I have to just say – I would have stopped and walked with him if he needed it, and it was really disappointing that no-one stopped before me.

Just saying!

City to South

Smiles after the race – Sam and I

As I pushed up Highgate I really struggled but was determined that the hill was not going to beat me and I took an extra swig of my ‘salt’ water which as I mentioned before I was meant to have before the race! After making it up Highgate I figured there were a couple of KM left so it should be plain sailing…no …. there was another hill which caught me out! I pushed up that and realised then that the race was almost over – and as usual I was like a homing pigeon and as soon as I realised where the finish was I literally sprinted.

I don’t know where the energy came from but I pushed to the finish and almost cried when I finished. It had been such an effort. My time was ok and I think my average pace was 6.06km which is not really quick at all, but I was proud I had achieved it on LCHF, and my first hurdle was over!  My friend Sam had finished just before me and we got our usual photo taken and headed home jubilant – having finished.

Now to look to the next race on the Sunshine Coast and to learn from this race.

Have a great week!




Running for a cause – The Mother’s Day Classic

26 Apr

There are so many fun runs across Australia and the world now days, and as a result it has become a great way for charities to use them as ways to fundraise. The Women in Super Mother’s Day Classic (MDC) is one of those – in aid of breast cancer research.

I’ve run the MDC a few times but won’t be able to run this year. I was however approached by them to help them raise awareness of the event which has so far raised $27.4m for research into Breast Cancer, and my post today is sharing the testimony of the event’s co-founder Louise Davidson.

I am very fortunate to have not had anyone close to me suffer with breast cancer. It’s a terrible disease so very important we keep supporting charities that are researching a cure. You can enter the MDC by going to their website, alternatively if you are unable to attend then why not donate anyway!

Louise’s Story 

> Louise co-founded the event in 1998 when she lost her mother to breast cancer – as she wanted to make Mother’s Day meaningful. She founded the event with with fellow superannuation executive, the late Mavis Robertson.

> She was awarded Victoria’s Australian of the Year Local hero Award in recognition of founding the event.

> The event is this year in 100-plus locations across Australia, and has grown to involve more than 130,000 Australians. Last year was Louise’s 18th year at the MDC but her first as a breast cancer survivor.

Louise found the 2015 Mother’s Day Classic, her first since her own diagnosis with breast cancer, incredibly moving.

Louise Davidson and Mavis Robertson - co-founders of the Mother's Day Classic

Louise Davidson and Mavis Robertson – co-founders of the Mother’s Day Classic

“I wasn’t sure how I’d react. I’ve participated every other year as an organiser, and as a daughter who lost her mum to the disease, and each year draws out feelings of sadness for my own loss and empathy for others’ loss… but last year it was more emotional.

“My diagnosis gave me a different perspective, it was much more personal,” according to the 47-year-old CEO of the Australian Council of Superannuation Investors.

1 in 8 Australian women are affected by breast cancer 

While some may see a sense of irony that she should face the disease Mother’s Day Classic fights against, there’s no reason her long-term and close involvement with the event would make her immune to a disease that affects one in 8 Australian women.

She confesses to being surprised at just how shocked she was at her diagnosis: “even knowing the statistics, co-founding Mother’s Day Classic and having Mum with the disease, I really didn’t expect to get breast cancer”.

A mother’s influence

Louise Davidson’s motivation for starting the event was seeing firsthand the impact of breast cancer – Louise was very close to her mum, Kaye, and was her primary carer through her two-year battle with breast cancer before Kaye died at age 52.

In the 20 years since Kaye’s death, Louise has found Mother’s Day Classic a positive way to spend what had been a sad day without her Mum.

Just two months after the 2014 event, Louise became one of the (on average) 40 Australian women who are diagnosed with breast cancer each day.

“Because of Mum, I’ve always had regular checkups. As always I looked at the mammogram film before my appointment – not that I really know what I’m looking at. There was a blurry spot that really stood out to me, and worried me.

“The doctor noticed the blurry spot too and sent me for a biopsy. A few days later he rang at 7.30 at night and said you’re not going to like the news, you’ve got breast cancer.”

“At the better end of breast cancer”

Louise was quickly booked for surgery for a small lump that doctors described as being caught early and “at the better end of breast cancer”. She had an anxious wait for pathology which dictates how aggressive the cancer is and whether there is any spread. On a scale of 1-3 grades, with three being the most serious, hers was a grade 2.

“Having been involved in MDC for almost two decades, and having been carer for my Mum when she went through her treatment, it was interesting to see what the reality of being a breast cancer patient was like,” she says.

“While so much progress has been made, you still see things that could be done better (for me I would like to see patients not have to be permanently tattooed for radiation treatment).

“Mum was diagnosed at 50, I’m 47 now. There’s never been anything selfish about my involvement with Mother’s Day Classic but it turns out now that my involvement has been beneficial to me – like every other patient or every woman who could be diagnosed in the future, it’s research that we rely on to make sure we get better outcomes,” Louise says.

The reason for research

She had a lumpectomy and sentinel node biopsy. NBCF-supported research found that sentinel lymph node biopsy is just as effective as traditional and more invasive surgery in predicting and controlling the spread of breast cancer. (Sentinel Lymph Node Biopsy (SLNB) was introduced as an option for some women as part of breast surgery. The sentinel node is the first lymph node to which breast cancer cells are likely to spread. If the sentinel node is cancer free, there is no need to remove further lymph nodes – reducing the risk of debilitating lymphoedema.)

She is happy to have dodged the need for chemotherapy, requiring six weeks of radiotherapy.

She takes the drug Tamoxifen, a necessity for 5-10 years to decrease her risk of recurrence. (Tamoxifen is used to prevent and treat breast cancers that test positive for estrogen receptors. It lowers the chance that breast cancer will grow, by blocking the effects estrogen has on cancer cells).

Again this highlights the importance of funding research – there are currently trials underway to see if survivors get better results by taking Tamoxifen for 5 or 10 years.

“Research has made a significant difference to outcomes for women diagnosed with breast cancer.  Earlier diagnosis, much more precise imaging and surgery and big leaps forward in the drug treatments available have all contributed,” Louise says.

Living in “the new normal”

The familiarity of constantly being around breast cancer via Mother’s Day Classic didn’t make the process any easier when she faced her own diagnosis- in fact, Louise feels it made things “much scarier”.

“I understand that Mum’s cancer was a lot more advanced, so the prognosis was not good. She developed secondary cancers and died, which to me makes it very real that this might not be the end of it for me,” Louise says.

“Although since being diagnosed, lots of people in my circle have shared their stories of having had breast cancer when they were younger – and I’d had no idea. So it is positive that all these years later they are alive.”

The hardest part of the process was telling her three daughters – Kaye (named after her Mum), 15, and twins Lily and Rosie, 13.

“I have been the daughter hearing the diagnosis and dealing with my fears for my Mum. It was tough to see my own daughters in that same position.

“My girls never met my Mum but through Mother’s Day Classic they know her story. I’ve emphasized to the girls that my cancer was caught early, and that it’s very different to my Mum’s case. But it’s hard knowing the worry this causes.”

The experience has changed Louise’s perspective on life.

“I don’t know if this change will be permanent, but for now I definitely have a different outlook.  There’s a heightened sense that I shouldn’t put off anything that I want to do, things can change so quickly. There’s a very strong sense of ensuring I spend more time with the people I love – and spending more time with my girls during treatment was something I really valued.

“I’m definitely conscious that my response to my breast cancer has made me think more deeply about Mum’s experience and in a way I’ve gone through a whole new grieving process for Mum.

“I have more understanding of how she must have been feeling. She was single, and even though I cared for her, it must’ve been tough to have no partner to give her a hug and be there for her – there’s always the sense of a parent trying to shield a child from the full brunt of anything painful. I have a renewed empathy for her.”

Making Mother’s Day meaningful

Co-founders Mavis Robertson and Louise, having never participated in a fun run, organised the first Mother’s Day Classic in 1998 with a few thousand superannuation colleagues in Sydney and Melbourne.

“I’d had the experience with my mother and we knew a lot of other women who were being diagnosed. At that time breast cancer wasn’t receiving its fair share of the funding pie, so through women in super we set up some volunteer committees in Melbourne and Sydney,” Louise says.

One of the most satisfying things for Louise has been witnessing the event become a positive outlet for those fighting breast cancer, and for those who have lost loved ones, giving a real purpose to what could be a sad day (Mother’s Day without your Mum).

In 2010, inspired by those she had met at the event over many years, Louise ran her first Mother’s Day Classic. Being out on the course instead of in the “control centre” gave her new insights into how important the event was to those battling breast cancer.

“It is a celebration of the lives of those who have breast cancer and others we’ve lost to the disease. It’s emotional but not depressing. There is solidarity in seeing so many people wearing placards on their backs to remember or support someone with breast cancer,” she says.

“Personally, it has been a really powerful way for me to use the strong grief I had for the loss of my mother. For participants, our sadness has been channeled into a fantastic outcome.

“It continues to grow because it is much more than just a fundraising event.  I’ve heard of instances where people attend the Classic and are prompted to go to a breast examination the next day. They discover a lump, go to their doctor and detect breast cancer earlier than they would have if they had not been prompted by the event. So if we save one life that way, it makes everything we have done worthwhile.”

“My three girls weren’t even born when we started the event. They have grown up with the Mother’s Day Classic as the only Mother’s Day they know. When they were really little they used to write me Mother’s Day cards that said “happy Mother’s Day Classic”.”

“I hope that fundraising through events like the Mother’s Day Classic will mean my girls don’t have to worry about breast cancer when they get older.”

There’s progress, but at what pace?

Like most patients, Louise found going to the hospital daily and being a patient a very draining experience.

“People around you, whether they are family, friends or work colleagues, want you to be able to assure them that the cancer has gone – and you just don’t get that sort of all clear with breast cancer. Psychologically, it’s always there and always will be,” she says.

With successful research over the past few decades has come increased survival rates – and learning how to successfully navigate survival (and the thought always at the back of one’s mind: will the cancer come back?).

Louise Davidson and her three daughters

Louise Davidson and her three daughters

Louise is investigating whether any of the known breast cancer genes are involved in her case – information that could be vital for her three girls when they reach adulthood. This knowledge can also impact on different treatment paths. Her genetic material would be stored, and as new genes are discovered checked against her material.

Like all with the disease, her hope is that by the time her girls are adults breast cancer will not exist.

She knows that while research has made many advances, it doesn’t pay to be complacent.

“In 1993 I went with Mum to see her breast surgeon and Mum asked him about the risks for me of getting breast cancer. He said ‘by the time Louise reaches an age where this could affect her, breast cancer might not exist, or if it does the diagnostic and treatment advances may mean it’s no longer such a major issue’.

“So unfortunately, we have not moved as fast as we might have hoped or imagined…,” Louise says.

To register or for more information go to http://www.mothersdayclassic.com.au

Ways you can help:

Put together a teamhttp://www.mothersdayclassic.com.au/teams/about-teams/become-a-team-captain/



Start a local event http://www.mothersdayclassic.com.au/event-info/start-your-own-mdc-event/

For tips on running for charity have a look at a blog post I wrote for RunStopShop last year on where to start.


Race Recap – Twilight Half Marathon

22 Mar

I should have known it was going to be a tough day when I woke up with a headache, and feeling decidedly under par – knowing I had to run the Twilight half marathon at 5pm later in the day. I hadn’t been too well in the week leading up to the race and hadn’t run all week so I knew I was going to face a battle on the road – but I wanted to do the race!

I have been training for the past few months with my friend Sam (and a couple of times Penny) and I was excited about the race, and  being a member of Intraining I felt it was almost a right of passage to have to run it, and the lovely running vest you get for entering was an extra incentive!

I don’t tend to enter races in summer as I am not too good with the heat but I figured a race that started at 5pm at night would be a good option. It did get rained off last year but the weather forecast was good. Sam picked me up and we drove to St Lucia to the Uni and I did my usual two trips to the toilet before the race (it’s a ritual! can’t not!).

Twilight Half Marathon 2016

All smiles before the race! With my friends Penny and Sam (left to right)

We stood in the line up both quite nervous and I intended to just run at an easy pace and run the race – not going for a time considering the last week and being ill. There was a sea of Twilight tops as well as Intraining, Springfield Runners and others that I didn’t recognise. Everyone was excited and pumped for the race to start and busy chatting, nervously glancing at their watches.  The 10k and the half started at the same time so I had to make sure I didn’t get pulled along with those 10k runners running  fast race!

The Race

We started running and there was a bit of a scrum so Sam and I got slightly separated but weren’t too far apart, and I relaxed into the steady pace and tuned into my music, and started the race.

Sam had mentioned to watch out for the hills and we went up one slight incline and I thought – wow was that it….no alas it was not! We went down the hill we were to later come up and it was a fairly steep incline. I don’t think that would have been an issue had we not had to do two laps of the course as the first time I ran up it I didn’t feel too bad.

Twilight Half Marathon 2016

Most of the route was flat and I haven’t run around St Lucia much before so it was nice to see a new area. The km points were well placed and I was feeling quite good watching each km go past. Seeing the front runners fly by was incredible – I was one side and they were flying back the other way – it amazes me that pretty much they were running twice the speed that I was running.

I found with it being two loops my brain started to play mind games on me and when we got back to the start which was where the 10k runners turned off to finish that was when it started…. my body suddenly wanted to slow down and finish and I took a gel to pump me up a bit and pushed myself to push on and then started counting down. I had seen my Intraining coach Paula and knew she would be at the 16/17k ish mark second time round so I started counting down and telling myself once I saw her I only had 4-5km left.

It was dark by this point and there wasn’t much lighting but thankfully there were a few people in front of me and a couple behind so I didn’t feel alone, and I just kept pushing towards that 16/17 mark. By the time I got there I was tired and I think I managed a quick look up to Paula and then it was head down push on to finish.

Coming in to Finish

That last 4k seemed to go on forever but I was determined not to stop and just keep pushing. I didn’t take on much water in the race as I noticed there were only one lot of toilets that I had spotted anyway.

I think I must have started my watch slightly early as it was ahead of the km signs in the race each time so I felt psychologically like I was having to run further each time even though that wasn’t the case. I had 1km left and I started to try and pick up the pace, and at about 500m left I felt a hand on my shoulder – there was Sam just when I needed her!! We pushed and ran together and then I saw the finish line and sprinted.

It’s funny that I was exhausted yet I had the energy to sprint finish!

I staggered over the line and there was Margot Manning – one of the owners of Intraining and she had a microphone in her hand. Sam took off and I stood there wobbling all over the place whilst she asked me a couple of questions. I can’t 100% remember what she asked me – I think it was something about how was the race – and I remember saying something like ‘It was hot and it was hard!’ not quite sure if that was the answer she was looking for but at that point I was willing my body not to throw up by her feet – I’m very glad I didn’t!

Screen Shot 2016-03-22 at 11.57.56 am




I got home and was sick! I think I had used every last ounce of energy and my body melted down. I literally had a shower, half a bagel, a gulp of water and was back to the toilet and then straight to bed! So I know I worked as hard as I could!

The race in my opinion was really well organised. Maybe a few more toilets on the course but it is tricky when it goes along residential areas. The running vests are great compared to some I have had in the past and it was a lovely atmosphere of supportive runners and spectators.

I think if I was to do it again I might do the 10k as the half in summer was a bit too much for me! When the sun went down I did cool down but I don’t think I will ever get used to the Queensland heat!

Screen Shot 2016-03-22 at 11.58.12 am

We went a bit nuts after the race finished!

Counting down the days to Christmas and setting challenges for 2016!

22 Dec

It’s been an interesting week or so which landed me right back in the physio’s office and no running thanks to bursitis on my hip and a bit of the same on my shoulder.

I thought I would freak out but I was actually quite surprised at how calm I was when my physio said no running in the lead up to Christmas. I do feel somewhat lazy but it has given me time to think about next year and what I would like to achieve.

I have found since the Gold Coast Marathon and then being overseas that I just haven’t been able to get it together with my training or eating to an extent. After chatting to friends and to my husband I realise I am a structured person and need structure in my training too. Not having any major goals has meant I have been a bit all over the place with no real reason to get out there and run So I have a plan for next year.

2016 running goals

The Plan

Whilst I hadn’t planned to run another marathon I have decided actually I will. I am not going to put any pressures on myself but I am going to train for it and run it – simple as that. I’m going to enjoy it and enjoy the training 🙂

I have a few in mind – I could either do the Gold Coast Marathon again, or try out the Brisbane Marathon or my wild card this time is the Dubbo Stampede as you get to run around Dubbo Zoo and we have friends there too (in Dubbo not at the Zoo !!). How fun would that be!

So the plan is sort my hip out, train and run the Twilight Run in March and then start the steady build up to one of the Marathons!

This year was hard because my friend was meant to be training with me but she got injured so I did a lot of the training alone, but next year I have a few friends who are planning to run a marathon and I am a member of Intraining now too so there are runs that they do that I have access to for Marathon build up. So I am hoping that things will be a bit easier where training is concerned.

R & R 

So whilst a lot of people are relishing the idea of having time off work over Christmas and running lots it looks like I may well still have my rest time if my hip doesn’t clear up and then will start training in January.

I’m quite excited about the new challenges and really enjoying running at the moment (when not injured!) – with no pressures.

So here is to an exciting 2016. I hope you have lots of challenges and goals planned! I have a feeling it’s going to be a good year 🙂

In case I don’t write again before the new year. Hope you have a wonderful Christmas and New Year – thanks for continuing to read my random ramblings – it means a lot 🙂

Zoe 🙂


My most recent blog post as guest blogger for Azumio Inc is now live if you’d like to read it. It’s all about running safely after dark.


Breast Cancer Research – How you can help by running the Mothers Day Classic

28 Feb


I have been fortunate to not have been close to anyone who has suffered with breast cancer but I know people that have had their family or friends go through it. As a woman it scares me along with all the other cancers we are potentially at risk of. So the annual Mother’s Day Classic races across Australia in aid of Breast cancer research have always been races I have wanted to support and be involved in.

Last year I was unable to run so didn’t race and this year it is on the 11th May right before when my baby is due so I won’t be there this year either so I thought instead I would write a post promoting it and give you some facts about breast cancer.


  • Breast cancer is the most commonly diagnosed cancer among women in Australia.
  • One in eight women will develop breast cancer in their lifetime.
  • In 2014, 15,270 women are predicted to be diagnosed with breast cancer in Australia.
  • In 2020, 17,210 women are projected to be diagnosed with breast cancer in Australia. This is an average of 47 women every day.
  • Increasing age is one of the strongest risk factors for developing breast cancer. More than two in three cases of breast cancer occur in women aged between 40 and 69 years.
  • Australian women diagnosed with breast cancer have an 89% chance of surviving five years after diagnosis.
  • Improvements in survival are attributed to earlier detection of breast cancer through regular mammograms and improved treatment outcomes for breast cancer.
  • On average, seven women die from breast cancer every day in Australia. Finding breast cancer early increases the chance of surviving the disease.
  • Although rare, breast cancer can also affect men, accounting for about 1% of cases. Around 110 men are diagnosed with breast cancer in Australia each year.

*These stats were taken from The National Breast Cancer Foundation where you can also get more information about Breast Cancer.

I have fond memories of running the Mother’s Day Classic with my friends and hope this time next year to be running it again rather than just talking about it 🙂 It’s a really fun race with a serious message behind it and I love seeing all the girls dress up in fancy dress and really having fun as well as running – all in the name of raising money for Cancer Research.

The event takes place in more than 70 different places across Australia and you can read amazing stories on their website as well as donate or volunteer if you are not wanting to run. There is a 4.5km and an 8km race which people either walk or run and the support you get whilst running round is amazing.

I want to wish everyone walking/running the event Good Luck and I’ll be thinking of you and hoping to be there next year 🙂