Halving your marathon time (almost)

Almost 11 years ago, aged 17, I ran my first marathon with my best friend Fumi Takahashi. We giggled our way through Sydney marathon, exhausting ourselves from chatting non-stop, and ran through the finishing tunnel in 4h43min07sec holding hands. I don’t remember ever hitting a wall, even on that then-boring course along the Western Distributor (we were accompanied by a lovely bunch of fancy dressed nuns at that point to pull us along).

Sydney marathon 2007 with best friend Fumi Takahashi (4h43:07) of pure giggles!

As a school kid, my training back then consisted of up to 40 minute runs as part of the school cross country team, either training in Olympic Park or around PLC doing ‘hills’ in the inner-west. Being Eastern European blooded, I was always more drawn to the ‘strength’ stuff, loving Gymnastics (vault and floor in particular), platform diving, and all the athletics throw events (discus and hammer throw particularly).

Fast forward to EOFY 2018, in that very same childhood territory I trained, I ran from my heart at the annual fundraising event; the Braveheart 777 Marathon, raising funds for child protection across Australia.

Today, I really felt like a runner.

I’d been through my dressing up phase of marathon running; from Spongebob (3h26) to the Beer Bottle (4h08) to the Minion (3h42).

My second marathon and Guinness World Record, dressed as Spongebob, raising money for Barnardos to help neglected children, and Freiburg marathon

Today I ran in a crop top and shorts, poised with 8 gels and a banana, consistent splits, a heck of a lot of training miles and races accumulated over the last 18 months, and a slightly leaner build. Yes I still held onto my not so runner-feeling pink-corded headphones and phone (in pouch) for my signature 1–3 song playlist on repeat.

Braveheart 777 Marathon Official 2h54 (slightly short course so 2:56:36 rounded up to 42.3km, and one of many training parkruns at Rhodes

The race today was just perfect; a 6am marathon start, 6–12 degrees Celsius, 13km/h winds, 3.5km loops, having my husband, Jerel, on his bike supporting, a very encouraging bunch of volunteers and a community of like-minded runners (some clocking up their 6th marathon in 6 days!).

Karen clocking up the kilometres (she has been so immensely supportive as crew in my 24h racing days), and Jerel in his supportive element — thanks sube!

My nutrition was 8 Endura gels,1 banana and sips of water here and there. My 3 songs for today were ‘I need thee every hour’ (Beyond 5), ‘Come thou fount of every blessing/If You Could Hie to Kolob’ (Elenyi and Sarah Young), and ‘Even When You’re Broken’ (Julie Yardley). It had been a busy exhausting fortnight, so it was really nice to come back to and centre myself on my purpose through the words of these hymns.

Really I couldn’t have asked for anything better.

I was asked at an engagement party last week whether races were painful or hurt. I think this race sums up that racing is the smiling part — training is where it hurts most! A big thanks to Brendan for his coaching and pushing me outside my comfort zone over the last 9 months, and to Chloe for her nutrition advice for pre, during and post race:)