First of all, it’s great to see you back competing consistently after being bitten by a snake earlier this year. Can you talk us through what happened and the recovery process?
America was a bit of a crazy experience! I actually get a good chuckle out of it now though because I think to myself; I am from Australia – the country of the world’s most deadly snakes, and yet the week I arrive in the USA, I get bitten! What are the chances of that!? I have never even SEEN a snake for all the trails and runs I have been on here…it was incredibly unlucky, but it makes for a cool story now I guess. I spent the better part of about 10 days literally crawling around on all fours cause my leg hurt so much to stand on (to stubborn for crutches) – I was given Vicodin for the pain, which didn’t do much to ease the pain so much as make for some very interesting conversations with my shoes or pillows who I could have SWORN were alive haha. Anyway, my whole calf and foot were so swollen for days, I had to get it drained about 5 days after I left the hospital to ease some of the swelling and pressure. Once the physical pain went away and I could start walking like a normal person again, I tried running but it was more like a hobble. I guess I didn’t realize how long it would take to fully recover from it. Sure the pain went away, but its all the damage it does to your nervous system and muscles. I didn’t feel like ‘myself’ for a very long time – very run down and everything was more of an effort than usual. No one really prepares you for a snake bite recovery, its just SO not a runners injury or problem! Anyway, I am really pleased to be feeling back to my usual crazy self for the past couple of months. It sure took a while, but I think it was just about persevering and accepting I wouldn’t be 100% for a while.
You recently had a solid result at the NSW 3,000m Champs finishing 4th. Were you happy with your result?
I was absolutely thrilled with last weeks NSW State 3000m! I realize its not the National Champs or anything crazy – but it was a huge 7 second PB for me! I am never ever really concerned with where I place in a race, which I know might sound weird. But I have learned you can never really control what other people are doing (as much as I know we’d like to!) So I just want to focus on myself and see what I can do on the day! I think it was more the fact I ran a time I never thought I was capable of, as I consider myself more of a ‘slow and steady’ kind of runner. Plus I think ANSW put on a superb event and invited all the spectators to come down and stand on the track during our race – it just created an awesome atmosphere for fast running. Such a fun event, I loved racing it!
What has been your highlight of the year with running?
I have raced many distances on many surfaces this year! Track, grass and road – spikes, flats and joggers – you name it I have done it. I’ve definitely had a few shockers, but also scored a few new PBs to brag about and be happy with. To be honest, I think the highlight of my year has been figuring out the type of runner I am and where I want to go in the coming years. It has been so rewarding and incredibly fun building such a great relationship with my coach (James Fitzgerald) over the past year. I think it is so important to be able to rely on and trust someone to take care of all the things that happen “off the track”. I know that my most enjoyable and successful races have been the longer ones – and I think being able to run consistently over the longer distances has given me some more focus and direction with my training. I don’t just “rock up” to training anymore and get the session done – I know what I want and I make sure every thing I do counts.
What’s the plan for the rest of the year running wise?
With the year almost at the end and I cant believe how fast that one went! Zatopek will be my last important race to finish off the year, where I really hope to run a personal best and enjoy the experience as much as I did last year. After that I might had a bit of a rest for a week or two to recharge and refocus to target some longer distances next year.
What does a typical weeks training look like for you?
My weeks of training are so varied depending on work or Uni commitments. I try to follow a basic template as best I can:
Monday AM: 1hr (insanely slow)
Monday PM: 30mins jog + weights if I’m feeling particularly motivated
Tuesday AM: 40mins easy
Tuesday PM: longer/slow interval session with short recoveries
Wednesday AM: Longer run – [75-85mins] Wednesday PM: Gym
Thursday AM: 40mins easy
Thursday PM: shorter/faster interval session with longer recoveries (my LEAST favourite type of sessions!)
Friday: either rest or 30mins really easy + gym
Saturday AM: a combination of hills/threshold/tempo type session – it is always interesting!Saturday PM: 30 mins easy – depending on the morning session or “social” events
Sunday AM: Long run
Can you talk us through one of your toughest/favourite workouts?
Here in Sydney we have a trail called the “Brickpit” which is just a 1200m loop on a gravel kind of surface – 600m out and 600m back. Every time training is scheduled there I literally jump out of bed to get there because for some reason I just love running around there. One of my favourite sessions I do there my coach calls a “Hollywood” (which I STILL do not know why) but its basically 1200m hard, 600m float, five times over. It is a continuous session, but challenging because my heart rate is kept constant and I try to make each set of 1200-600 faster than the last one. Its 9km of hard running, but it goes by surprisingly fast!
Favourite TV show you’re currently watching?
Oh man, I am an absolute TV show junkie. I will literally watch ANY TV show under the sun and probably have. At the moment though, I am really into “Gotham” – it has Ryan from the OC as the main character (yes please). Its cool to see him out of his wife beaters and actually play a really interesting character – I highly recommend it!