First time marathoner by Megs Doyle

A First Time Marathoner

by Rejoover, Megan Doyle

At the start of 2019 I decided that my goal was to run my first marathon and to do it in under 4hrs. But going from a casual infrequent jogger to training for a marathon seemed so daunting - that is where Rejoov came into play at the beginning of 2019. I started the sessions and entered my first event - Canberra half marathon. I remember finishing the Canberra half marathon in April and thinking I would never be able to double the distance, but here I am after completing my first marathon - Blackmores Sydney - in 3hrs 51.

Congrats Emily Bassett 3.58 and Megan Doyle 3.51 on their debut marathons

Congrats Emily Bassett 3.58 and Megan Doyle 3.51 on their debut marathons

Here are a few things I learnt along the way:

- Be prepared to commit. Not only giving up a Sunday morning for a long run, but also the alcohol on a Saturday night before (unless you are a crazy person who can run 30k with a hangover)

- Trust the process - Greta/Chris wrote that plan for a reason and I’m sure we’ll all agree they know what they’re talking about

- Don’t feel guilty for resting - without the rest days I never would have got through the training

- Experiment with what fuel works for you - I ended up with Torq gels and found they did the job for me but everybody is different

- Strength work - I did not do enough of this and found it hard to balance this with increased mileage. Something I need to work on!

- During the taper period I felt like I wasn’t doing enough and felt panicky about the pending big day - again trust the process

- Find training buddies - I was lucky enough to have Liz, Laura and Emily who kept me motivated during our long runs. The long runs would have been very lonely without them

- Your friends who don’t run think you are crazy

- Don’t go out too fast - although I really tried not to do this I faded during the last 8km’s, not only physically but mentally too. My mental state went from feeling fine and on track for 3:45, to being happy with under 4hrs, to just completing it and not caring about time. I guess knowing what to expect mentally the first time is difficult.

- Once the big day’s over you feel a bit lost - especially on weekends. After finishing the marathon my words were “Never f****ing again”. But I already know the competitive side of me will want to improve my time so I guess there will be another?

Debut marathons Laura 3.37 and Megs 3.51 awesome!!

Debut marathons Laura 3.37 and Megs 3.51 awesome!!

For those of you who are considering doing your first marathon, do it! The feeling once you have completed it is the best; you will soon forget about all the pain from the last 42k’s...

Post blackmores drinks at the Sheaf - Liz Megs Laura Emily (great teamwork gang) and coach Greta

Post blackmores drinks at the Sheaf - Liz Megs Laura Emily (great teamwork gang) and coach Greta

Congratulations Megs on her 5 PBs this year, she had awesome dedication and Rejoov loved having her on board the group training & online programming:

Park run 5k: 23.06 centennial off road park run

SMH half marathon: 1.43.50 on a tough course, 5min PB

Sydney Harbour 10k: 45.28 a 5min PB

City to Surf: 65mins a 12min PB

Blackmores marathon: 3.51 debut









Sydney Marathon 2019 by Jamie Broom

Sydney Marathon – The 9 Things I Learnt Running in 2019

by Jamie Broom (shout out to Jamie for scoring a sub 3.10 marathon nearly and hour pb, through sheer hard work)



This year was building up to the conspicuously absent marathon distance in my Rejoov race line-up. After watching some legendary marathon+ exertions by other Rejoovers, I hesitantly signed up to the Blackmores Sydney Marathon at the start of 2019.

Race day finally landed after several months of progress but against the final few weeks of niggles and travel to disrupt training. Anyhow, marathons don’t care, it was now or never! Up at 4:30am and the nerves struck as I munched on my toast and banana. As the sun rose I boarded the train to Milson’s Point with the excited chatter of other runners in the background. I will not forget the mesmerising panorama as the train rose up over the Harbour Bridge with the half marathoners making their way in front of the Sydney CBD backdrop. Soon enough it was my turn to make that famous dart over the Bridge. I had absolutely no idea what time to aim for, but after deliberations with Greta, I landed on a target of 3:10 for my first proper marathon.

Running through Centennial Park and a tiny bit of shade on a hot day! (Jamie in the stand out orange singlet)

Running through Centennial Park and a tiny bit of shade on a hot day! (Jamie in the stand out orange singlet)

 

4km down and I had to double-take my watch. Time had zoomed along and I was feeling tremendous as we made our way over Circular Quay and up Macquarie St, as eerily quiet there as in the SMH Half a couple of months back. After trampolining my way over the Hyde Park scaffolding footbridge, I was on my way up Oxford St and it was feeling like a commute run I’ve done time and again.

 

Next up was ‘home turf’ Centennial Park where we traversed just about every road. I was feeling relaxed and buoyed by cheers from Rejoovers both racing and training. I could picture Greta standing on the corner by the Homestead willing me on. This was the perfect moment for reflection on the last year of running against the background melody of the faint thuds of running shoes slapping the road all around. So what have I learnt this year?

 

1)     Mixing up the running with varied core-focussed exercise made a huge difference. The times when I was able to shave the most time off PBs were when I was consistently doing strength, core bootcamp or rowing classes on top of my weekly mileage.

2)     Practising mindfulness whilst running got me through the long runs. If you haven’t experienced mindfulness, you’ll think I sound crazy. However, I promise you it’s worth a try. After reading some pertinent books, I’ve progressively developed a routine of 1) reviewing the environment I’m running in to notice the heat / cold / rain / wind / rough surface / etc, 2) scanning my own body and mind to think about how I feel including accepting, yet letting go of pain or negativity, 3) centring on my stride as I recurrently count to ten. I devoted extensive periods doing this in the long training runs and during the marathon itself.

3)     Sydney is the most beautiful city in the world to run. I’ve been incredibly fortunate to run in something like 18 countries and plenty more cities but I still have never come across a finer city to jog in than Sydney. Pleasant conditions, parks, beaches, harbour, rivers, national parks, mountains, and just about everything else. We’re lucky to run here!

4)     Listen to your body and hold off when you don’t feel right. Cliché maybe but I thought I knew better by trying to power through twinges and tiredness. However, I’ve learnt that this really is true. If I hadn’t accepted this in recent weeks, I would never have made it to the start line.

5)     Doing track speed sessions is fun and helps speed up the longer runs. For some reason I didn’t have a high outlook before I tentatively attended my first track session earlier in the year. However, not only has it been awesome training, it’s also an exhilarating way to run in optimal conditions.

 

Back to the marathon, and as I descended Oxford Street just after half-way, the running herd was spreading out and I was channelling Greta’s strategy by fighting the urge to run quicker. I was buoyed by more familiar faces as we snaked back through the CBD and circled out to Barangaroo. The day was warm like one of the handful of summer days back in the UK and as we approached 9am I could feel the temperature rising. Sweat dripping from the forehead became a constant aide-mémoire to remain hydrated and I executed poorly the awkward cup sipping whilst running technique at almost every drinks station.

 

As we wound our way into Pyrmont around the 30km mark, I could tell I was into the business end of the battle. My pacing bounced around the 4:25m/km mark and agreeably inside my 4:30 plan but my legs were tiring, and each step was feeling increasingly like scampering on soft sand. The Pyrmont streets were quieter than others so it was time to ramp up the music to push me along!

 

The u-turn under the ANZAC Bridge was a testing moment at around 34/35km being the end point of prior runs and knowing exactly how much further was to go. However, with a focus on repeated counting to 10 of my right foot striking the ground, I wiggled my way around the Pyrmont wharves like a game of Snake on my old Nokia 3310.

 

The 5km run to the end was similar to the Sydney Harbour 10k course so I knew it well but I was struggling to cling onto the pace with the average time pushing above the 4:30 target.

 

Time for another point of reflection as I ran through Barangaroo Reserve, one of my favourite spots in Sydney to run. What else had I learnt?

What a course and finish line!

What a course and finish line!

 

6)     However great you feel in the first half of the marathon, hold even more back. Both Greta’s race plan and my last-minute tips from Sammie focussed on not going out too swiftly. Of course I still went a bit quick in the first half, but without this advice, I would have gone even more rapidly.

7)     The training is the real test. When I look back, it’s the dark, wet Tuesday mornings, the Weds evening when you struggle to get out of work in time for track, and the lonely 36km Sunday runs somewhere humid and hilly which were the real test of 2019. Yes, you have to run to a plan on the day and hope nothing goes wrong, but it’s ALL about the lead-up work. 

8)     You can do more than you think. When I signed up for the marathon at the start of 2019 I thought it would be nice to do a sub-4hr marathon. My 5k was around 20min, my 10k closer to 45min and my half marathon around 100mins. All of these came down around 15-20% this year. Who knew!?

 

Finally, I hit the 40km mark and I believed that I was going to succeed with my marathon plan. I looked at my watch and I had to run the last couple of kms just under the 4:30 mark to hit my 3:10 target. I’m not sure where the energy came from but a magical boost seemed to kick in! The pace went up as I ran along Hickson Road, under the Bridge and past the ferry wharves of Circular Quay. I probably looked more like a lolloping deer than a smooth cheetah but the shouts coming in from Rejoovers all around meant that I didn’t care! The fences narrowed and it felt like the cheering crowd was almost able to reach out and push me on. Adrenaline coursing through my veins as the Blackmores finish arch loomed and boom! 3hrs 9min and 46 second! 14 seconds inside my target time and I was ecstatic.

 

I’m sure all of my reflections are all well-known by the Rejoov crew as is the final thought I had whilst slumped on the orange pavement in the finish area under the Opera House trying to keep a banana down, grasping my water bottle and looking up at the Harbour Bridge where we set out earlier that morning.

 

9)     42.195km is a long way. Never again.

 

Well, maybe not until next year’s sub-3 attempt. Oh dear.

After party at the Golden Sheaf with the Rejoov gang

After party at the Golden Sheaf with the Rejoov gang

I don't run trails by Lisa Sherman

“I don’t run trails…”

by Lisa Sherman, Nutritionist, http://wholelifenutrition.net.au

I can’t count the number of times I have said these four words over the years. As someone who has spent many years road running, I’ve been asked numerous times when will I take up trail running and I’ve always responded with “I don’t run trails”. My reasoning for this was pretty simple – a fear of tripping or falling and just not thinking I would enjoy it anywhere near as much as running on the road. But…given I am fond of challenging myself (in the last 12 months I have conquered my fear of ocean swimming and found a new passion in swimrun events), I thought it was perhaps time to give a trail event a go and I’m so glad I did.

 

Not quite sure what I was getting myself in for but determined to push aside my fear of trails, in April I searched for an event to enter. As luck would have it, registration for Coastal Classic opened in April and I signed up on the day entries opened – my challenge was now set. The Coastal Classic is a 30km trail run through the gorgeous Royal National Park, starting at Otford through to Bundeena. Held in early September, the course takes in a variety of terrain from sand running, rocks, boardwalk, beaches, cliff-tops, bushland, rainforest, steep hill and stair climbs, and is also quite narrow in parts, especially at the start. The run appealed as I could easily do some training runs along the course and quite a few other Rejoovers were also doing the run or have done it in the past, so I had people I could turn to for advice.

 

Leading up to the event, a few of us did two training runs – an out and back from Otford for the first run and then most of the course from Otford to Bundeena a couple of weeks prior to the race. I was pretty nervous heading out for the for first run as I just did not know what to expect on the course or if I would even enjoy the run. I had a hydration vest but not trail shoes and wasn’t sure if my normal runners would be okay. I was still very nervous about falling or tripping but once on the run, I realised this fear was negated by the ability to walk, take it slow, pick up speed, or run, whatever I wanted to do – you are on your own time with trails and I felt less pressure to hit and maintain a certain pace. And it’s totally okay to walk sections if you need to, especially steep stair climbs or taking it easier when going downhill, to ensure I didn’t trip! It really helped having Olivia, Claire and Dave with me too as they have all done trails before and had great advice on how to tackle various parts of the course. I thoroughly enjoyed that first training run (although not sure my quads were too happy with the number of stairs and inclines we had to tackle on the way back to Otford!) and couldn’t wait to do more trail running.

 

On the day of the event, whilst I had a time goal in mind, my main focus was to enjoy the run, soak up the experience and smile often. Having completed the second training run along most of the course from Otford to Bundeena a couple of weeks before, I felt good knowing what to expect from the terrain, although with quite a bit of the course exposed and windy conditions on the day, I knew there might be some challenging sections of the run.

Lisa Sherman Coastal Classic 2019.jpg

 

The race has a self-seeded start with pairs going off every 5 seconds. I was a little unsure of where to place myself at the start but ended up standing with fellow Rejoovers and found myself quite near the front, so got an early start out. The first part of the course is a mix of hill climbs, bushland, rainforest and given how narrow it is, there were other runners passing me but I didn’t mind, I knew they had more experience on trails, especially going downhill and I still didn’t want to trip! I also knew I would pick up some speed on some of the other sections and I found I was able to pass a number of other runners as the run progressed.

Lisa and gang before the race start.. everyone trying to work out their self-seeded starts

Lisa and gang before the race start.. everyone trying to work out their self-seeded starts

 

One of the most enjoyable parts of the run has got to be the scenery. There are some really stunning sections as you follow the coast to Bundeena and the variety of the terrain also adds to the experience in a positive way. Just when you feel that you can’t go another step on a steep climb out from one of the beaches, you are at the top and have boardwalk, giving a change of pace and using different muscle groups. Again, just when you feel like you’ve had enough of the boardwalks, you hit a grassy slope or rocky clifftop and it changes again. This variety and continual changes in terrain are what make trail running interesting and a challenge. And I have no doubt that even if you run the same trails regularly, you would still experience differences in the track depending on the conditions.

Lisa’s cheer squad waiting at the pretty but very windy Jibbon Beach

Lisa’s cheer squad waiting at the pretty but very windy Jibbon Beach

 

Coming into the final 1.5km of the course, we hit Jibbon Beach, and the wind had really picked up. I’ll admit it was tough going across the beach. Thoughts of my husband Grant and two boys, Luke and Rylee, being at the finish, plus coaches Greta, Chris and other Rejoovers, really keep me going at this point and moving forward. As always, there is nothing like the cheers of your friends and family to bring you home and crossing that finish line was an awesome feeling! I finished the run well within my time goal, loved all the highs and lows of the course and definitely know I smiled a lot during the run.

Lisa ecstatic to finish in 3.19 23rd female, 9th 40-49 age group

Lisa ecstatic to finish in 3.19 23rd female, 9th 40-49 age group

 

I’m absolutely keen to participate in more trail runs and hoping to obtain an entry for 6 Foot Track in March (Coastal Classic is a qualifying race) and also looking at UTA in May next year. So…whilst trail running won’t replace road running for me, it’s nice to be able to mix it up and the saying “I don’t run trails” no longer applies to me!

Lisa’s family Grant, Luke and Rylee, fabulous support

Lisa’s family Grant, Luke and Rylee, fabulous support