Hey fellow runners! I can’t believe it’s been nine months since I last wrote for Runner’s Tribe! I’ve definitely learnt a lot over the past nine months and I am feeling a lot more like an athlete.
The start of 2015 wasn’t too flash. I aggravated my hip flexor by running along sand dunes in Blairgowrie over Christmas and the uneven surfaces at Falls Creek made it worse. After some rest, followed by sticking to flat paths there was little improvement so I came back to Melbourne to get treatment and take a couple of weeks off.
Consequentially, I have no fond memories from the World XC trials … ‘stinging’ 3km into an 8km race made for a very painful run home! Luckily I managed to finish 5th and gain a spot on the World XC team.
February wasn’t much better. I was extremely disappointed with my performances at the Adelaide TC and Vic 1500m Champs. During this stage I had begun running consistently around 80km per week and with gym on top of it I was extremely tired. The frustration started to kick in… How could I be running 20-30km/week more than I was before World Juniors but be running slower?!
Additionally, Nic coaches a fine stable of athletes and I definitely feel like the “dud” of Melbourne Track Club. So I was very embarrassed about my form during Summer but Nic assured me that sometimes people go backwards before going forwards. Thankfully he instilled faith in me that although I was extremely average at the trials I’d be ready for China!
About 10 days out from World XC I began to feel like I was moving across the ground and not running into it! Also those non-existent bum muscles I spoke of last year felt as though they were starting to activate when I ran! I was pumped and super excited to get over to Guiyang and compete for my country.
Unfortunately I had an accident two nights before the race, splitting my forehead open. Although the situation was far from ideal, I’m thankful it wasn’t the night just before competing and that I didn’t lose my teeth instead!
There was a restless night due to blood dripping down my face and a few unsuccessful trips to a very unhygienic hospital. I am so grateful to the entire Australian team for their support over the trip but particularly Peter McNeil (Dave’s dad) who managed to tape me up and keep the wound clean throughout the trip. Also Lisa Verstraten played a pivotal role by helping me get in a good mindset that allowed me to give the race my best shot- I am so grateful!
Around April most of my training crew left to chase their world qualifying standards overseas. Although I have missed them I have been very lucky to have a great group of guys to warm up and down with whilst they have been gone such as Ryan Geard, Stew McSweyn, Sean Guiney, Nathan Buschkuehl, Dean Neofitou, Tom O’Shaughnessy and Sam Spicer. I am so thankful to have them around as they have made training through Melbourne’s temperamental weather enjoyable.
So far this year I’ve fallen over a total of 6 times whilst running and unfortunately a few days before my first 10km road race in Launceston I sprained my ankle during one of them.
I am always willing to go “couch potato” or “hermit” style for a few days in order to get my body100% whether I’m sick or sore. In the end of the day I do athletics because I love to race and I don’t want to have any silly injuries or illnesses that could be avoided stopping me from doing so! So with the help of ice, Voltaren, 4 layers of compression and studying with my leg elevated on my desk I was able to reduce enough swelling in order to race a few days later. I finished behind two of my idols Eloise Wellings and Jess Trengrove in around 33:50. I really enjoyed my first road racing experience and getting to spend time with the other athletes.
Two weeks after Launie I took on my next 10km road race at Albert Park. I finished in a time of 32:32 which was a little personal “breakthrough”. for me as I felt so powerful and as though months of consistent work had just clicked together. The result seriously motivated me as it was an eye-opener and a huge reward for my hard-work and dedication.
Although I’m still running once a day I am managing to run 90km a week and some weeks recently I’ve even hit the big 1-0-0 (touchwood)! It’s a lot more than I ever have and although it has been a very steady and smart increase… it’s exhausting! During the Uni semester, my spare time usually consists some form of resting or rehab. For instance any social outings during this time usually involve going out for food (fuelling the tank) or a lazy movie night for instance.
However, I am a firm believer of a life of balance. The 10km road race was also my first day of Uni holidays. So although I stilled trained as per usual during the holidays I slightly switched off a bit mentally. I had no important competitions coming up and if I went out at night I could sleep all afternoon after training the following day if need be (which I did). I have to be so organised and strict with myself during the semester as with 20ish contact hours at Uni I am so busy! If I was so switched-on all the time I think I’d go insane. So although I was in Melbourne and still training it was so nice to have a “holiday” for me from my usual routine. I do enjoy Uni and my lifestyle during it I just need to give myself a break sometimes!
So since semester two has begun I feel refreshed and I’m back to my routine. I know my dedication at training and at Uni will be worth it and holidays will roll around again soon!
Apart from a couple of AV races recently I have been training for National XC. I’m looking forward to the challenge of a deep field of fine athletes and testing myself on home turf (even though I’ve actually never been to Moonee Valley Racecourse haha)!
I hope I continue to improve as I would love to make the Olympics or a World Championship team one day. I feel as though the past six months of consistency have made me a completely different runner and I feel so much stronger. I have so many people thank but obviously Nic, Tim for supervising in Nic’s absense and Nathan at VIS for my strength program. I also really appreciate the support of New Balance and the VIS. I would love to go overseas next year to train and compete so hopefully I am in good enough form to make taking extended time off Uni worthwhile. For the time being it’s all about putting one foot in front of the other and getting the work done, whilst getting my body recovered and strong enough to put the pieces together.
Thanks for reading and happy running!