Gold Coast Marathon – I Did It!

WOW words can’t describe how I felt when I crossed the finish line on Sunday.

I was pretty overcome…… just think of a runners high after a ‘normal’ run multiplied out, on top of that, was the journey of the last 9mths.

Training for the Melbourne Marathon, being 2 weeks out from it last October, and suffering a major migraine which resulted in numbness down the right hand side of my body, to be advised by doctors not to run as ‘you have an undiagnosed neurological condition’. This transpired a month later to hearing ‘you have 8 lesions on the brain….. it’s MS’

Hmm….. starting from scratch literally….. my diet, my health, my fitness, my thoughts, my world was turned on it’s head, and gradually taking baby steps it was all revised, piece by piece.

Wanting more then anything to run again, completely changing my diet, changing how I thought and how I trained etc etc to having the will and knowing deep down in my heart that I would cross the finish line when I set my sights on the Gold Coast Marathon.

web-GCCF1589So how did I do it….. well if you’ve been following this blog each week, you have a fair idea from a training point of view… and the rest, well that will be coming in ‘the book’ – EXCITING.

The day itself was glorious, amazing weather, great supportive crowds, awesome running community and the elite runners that just blew our minds with their speed. The winner, Kenneth Mungara finishing the marathon in 2:08:42.

Luckily I arrived at the start line with 5 minutes to spare. To be honest any longer, I think I would have been a basket case, as the emotions were running pretty high. I got choked up on the starting line, amongst 6,500 other runners, thinking about their own journeys of how they got to the start line, and what we were all about to embark on.

I salute you all.

The crowds were awesome, the support, signs, music, well wishers were incredible. Rob de Costella gave a rousing speech at the start…. I heard it on the PA as I was still in the portaloo – LOL

It was slow going for the 1st 3km as the pack was large, although there was space, and it was fairly relaxed and cruisy.

I soon slotted into the 4:30 pacer pack and was going well, loo break at 15km, and then lost the pack in the distance….

Had juice & water in my fuel belt till 21km, then was on gels & water. It was pretty warm as the sun started to heat up from 9am…. good job I’m a low sweater hey.

Started to feel the heat at 30km, and was picking out shady patches on the road to run in. Knew the most I’d run was 35km, so it would be interesting after that.

The course was fairly flat and went from Southport to Burleigh Heads before looping back to Southport and heading north out to Anglers Paradise before the turnaround point to Southport and finish line.

Heading north out past Southport was a bit tough going, as you could see the finishers coming into the finish and passing the crowds in marquees for the last 1km….. the support and cheers was incredible, and I had to look away, as I was really getting choked up and was finding it difficult to breathe and run.

To think that they were supporting loved ones and complete random strangers was incredible and I knew that they would be there for me too, and they’d carry me running to the finish line no matter how I felt.

I think I had a couple of walking stretches around 32-34km, I was getting tired and over it, although in my heart I knew that I was soo close ‘Just another 5km’ I kept telling myself, as my speed started to slow right back….. then you can walk again… and so it went on.

Reckon it was around this time, I started to feel a bit light headed, so I just walked it out and sipped water, and was good to go again back to the ‘Cliffy shuffle’ just keep putting one foot in front of the other and you’re make it, I kept telling myself.

Breaking it down to 5km stretches… and soon it moved on to 3km to go, and my spirits lifted ‘I have this’ I told myself. Yes the crowd were there for the last 3km, and started to get thicker for the final 1km, I thanked them as I went past and they clapped even more. It was hard to stay focussed, as tears were welling up in my eyes, and a lump in my throat.

web-DCDO2051So many times I’d been in the crowd cheering on my heroes as they went past, and now I was there. I really felt like a superstar, a gladiator, overcoming the odds to run a marathon, doing my training differently this time, listening to my body and doing what it needed most.

And as I saw the final arch before the finish line “250 metres to go” I smiled and picked up my pace. It felt as if I was sprinting after the last 10km effort, and hands in the air as I crossed the finish line.

Awesome so so happy, overcome with emotion of what I’d just achieved :)

And the time 4:55:45. For me it wasn’t about what time I completed it in, it was about enjoying the moment, and overcoming the odds to run long distance again.

People ask me, ‘How did you pull up?’ Pretty good really. I fuelled up on fruit immediately afterwards – bananas, orange segments, apple. As well as water and a banana, date soy milk smoothie (made the night before). Chicken, guacamole, salsa taco wrap. I changed into my SKINS Recovery pants which helped my legs. The next day I was a bit stiff, and head like mush….. feeling like a  vegetable/jet lag feeling not able to focus on much…. so a beach day was the go.

IMG_3232A dip in the ocean and daily walks on the beach has been the best recovery for my legs.

I still pinch myself that I did it, as well as knowing deep down that I would do it. I visualised the finish line and how I’d feel when I crossed it, months before, during my training.

I just had to make it happen.

Wish It … Dream It …. Do It!

Anything is possible, just keep putting one foot in front of the other.

Sue xo

Gold Coast Marathon – Wk 18

So so close…. I can feel it, I can smell it.

I can’t believe that I’m days away from taking part in my 1st marathon, and my 1st interstate race in Queensland too.

So no matter what happens on the day, I’m going to get a PB – because it’s my 1st one…. great way to look at things don’t you think.

Last week I relaxed my eating regime a bit, as well as eased right back on my running too, so the taper is happening.

I always wonder about the ‘taper effect’. I absolutely know the benefits of it, in order to have fresh legs on the day…. totally get it, although in your mind you’re left thinking, is there more I can do right now.

Absolutely not, and to be honest my body and mind are glad of the break, and be ready to hit the bitumin come Sunday.

Right now, I’m pretty calm, I’ve gone through the race in my mind, I’ve done the best prep I could have done and on the day I’m just going to enjoy it and have a ball.



Gold Coast Marathon – Wk 17 – Smoke On The Water

Well with only 2 weeks to go, I’ve done as much as I can in my training and now it’s time to taper.

After last week 35km, it was time to start pulling it back. So this week involved a hilly 3.5km, 7km and a 21.5km.

Back in Melbourne briefly for a few days, found me running my long run back along the Barwon River, on probably one of the coldest winter mornings I’ve experienced in a long time.

Wow did nature put on an amazing show though with ‘smoke on the water’, morning mist and the most amazing reflections on the water as the sun broke through the clouds.

It was probably one of the most enjoyable free flowing runs I’ve had in a while, so I was grateful.

Only 13 days to go !!!!!



Gold Coast Marathon – Wk 16 – The Last Big Hit Out

WOW the countdown is definitely on now, in fact just three weeks to go to the Gold Coast Marathon.

So this week how did I prep for my last ‘big hit out’ before the big one.

A lot of daily walking, one thing I’ve noticed about myself being in a new place, I love to explore and most of it is usually on foot. So this week was a combination of exploring my local surrounds in addition to daily walking a friends dog about 3km.

I’ve noticed over the last few weeks, how lean I’m looking, in fact bordering on skinny. It could be the very ‘clean food’ I’m eating combined with the extra weekly running mileage, in addition to the stress of moving interstate.

That said I decided to include more sweet potato and brown rice for dinner and quinoa porridge into my diet…. I was gearing up for my last long run of my training this week and I wanted to sustain the distance and recover well.

IMG_3171Running wise this week, saw me with 2 short local runs of 4km and 7km followed by a 34km run along my now favourite running route – Noosaville – Tewantin – Noosa River – Noosa Spit and Noosa National Park return. The views as always were spectacular and it certainly lifted the spirits and soul, listening to the crashing ocean waves, watching the many paddle boarders and surfers. Pure Bliss.

And best of all, where I’m staying at the moment has a swimming pool. So wading waist high in the cold water was the perfect recovery for my aching limbs. I’ve done this for the past two weeks now after my long runs, followed by wearing my SKINS recovery pants and getting a good nights sleep. As a result I find that I don’t get any general soreness or stiffness at all.

Emotionally it was a challenging week, letting go of the old and welcoming in the new, letting go of ‘wanting to figure it all out’ and bringing myself back to the present, just being and enjoying the moment.

Gold Coast Marathon – Wk 13 & 14

It’s been a crazy couple of weeks with a lot of change, upheaval and turmoil, as I found myself leaving my job, putting our home on the market, packing boxes, saying goodbye to loved ones and friends and moving to Queensland. First stop a house sit in Noosa, looking after a german sheppard and a husky. Something I’ve noticed about myself is that when my life gets turned upside down, and I feel stressed and emotional, it takes every ounce of me to find the energy for a long run.

So combined over the last 2 weeks I did a total of 60 km, one week of 11km and the second week of 49km. 2 runs each week, no strength training or yoga, as I cut right back on my training as I listened to my body as I found a way through all the stress bringing me back to balance again.

Nossa River SunsetMy last long run in cold Victoria before heading to Queensland, found me on my favourite running route around the Barwon River. It felt good to tap out a 20km run and I recovered well from it too.

I arrived in Queensland last week, and it’s been soooo great to thaw out, and to feel the sun on my body again. Check out this amazing sunset I was blessed with seeing on my first night here.

Being thrown completely out of my comfort zone, staying in a new environment – someone else’s home looking after their dogs, I had to adapt fast, finding a new equilibrium again for sleep, nutrition, exercise, environment and change.

To be honest it’s taken me about 4 days to settle in, adapting and being flexible to my new surroundings and location – finding out where everything is etc. I found a local juice bar to get a freshly squeezed apple, carrot and beetroot juice on the Saturday, to stick in the fridge ready for Sunday’s run.

For this weeks long run I chose an amazing route that took me from Tewantin – Noosaville along the river to Noosa Heads and up into the Noosa National Park. There were many photo stops along the way, as the scenery was so stunning. I was also grateful I did a reckie the day before to suss out where the toilets and drink stops would be on route. I was aiming for 32km on this route, although I was happy with 29km.

Lazy recovery by the pool afterwards, I think my legs were definitely grateful for the cold water immersion.

Noosa Spit Overlooking Alexandria Bay Sue on Coastal Walk Noosa National Park

Gold Coast Marathon – Wk12 – A New Milestone

So with a week of rest and foam rolling, my achilles seemed ready to hit the bitumen again for a long run on Sunday.

Hmm, things started off a bit slowly, to be honest I was really questioning the whole running in winter thing. Although for me the countdown’s on for moving to Queensland, so YAY :)

My aim was 32km – 35km for this run, and I ran 33km with 3 loo/walk breaks. This was my longest to date for this training so happy and pleased to notch that one up.

Oh its a constant listening to your body…. is that really a pulled muscle or is it just my ‘monkey mind’ telling me to stop.

I changed my brekkie around this time too, and instead of a banana and juice, I had 2 fried eggs on a bed of kale which fuelled me a bit more on this run. At about 15km I had this burning desire to fall asleep, have a little nanna nap, not a good thing when you’re out running and have another 18km to go. I felt all my energy seems to go towards just keeping warm when I run on cold days, that I have less in the tank. Lucky I bought extra gels for this run, which did the trick and pepped me back up.

Onwards and upwards.

And even though I was walking around like John Wayne for the rest of the day, I felt proud and glad that I ran 33km, considering back in October 2014, 5 months ago, I couldn’t even feel my right foot. Sometimes I have to pinch myself how far I’ve actually come.

Better still, I recover really well after a long run, and the next day as long as I eat every 2-3 hours, walk, stretch and foam roller, my legs are fine.

Happy Days :)

Gold Coast Marathon – Wk11 – A World Of Pain

As you know being a runner, getting to the start of a race you’ve been training for is a huge achievement in itself, as being plagued by injuries is a runners nightmare.

So today on my long run, a niggly achilles pain came back to haunt me. It was feeling a bit tight on Friday’s run, although today the pain felt as if someone was jabbing me with a knife.

I did the best I could to stretch it on route and run through it, thinking it would pass. Not to be this time.

There’s a fine line of continuing to run when you have acute muscle pain or stopping, resting and listening to your body. I chose the later, 7 weeks out to the marathon, I certainly didn’t want this to progress, as I’ve known that pain before and being out of action for over 3 months, not again.

So my aim of a 34km run this morning, ended up to be a 22km. I’m glad I stopped as the pain was starting to effect the rest of my leg and my running style was completely out of whack.

To be honest I’m a bit concerned that to date, I’ve only done one 30km run, although I’ve done 3 other long runs of 25-28km. I was further ahead by now when I was training for the Melbourne Marathon last year, although it is what it is and I have to accept where I am right now.

Rest and injury prevention is the key for me now ….. reckon its a week of foam rolling and massage.

Then for the next 4 weeks my aim is 2-3 runs of 32km – 35km, depending how my achilles pulls up this week.

Gold Coast Marathon – Wk10 Rain Rain And More Rain

After the excitement of last Sunday’s night Wings For Life Run I was still buzzing by Monday afternoon, although I soon crashed in the evening as a result of running through the night, minimum sleep followed by work the next day. 

You can check out all the amazing action from around the world below.

So that said, I listened to my body this week and had a break. My nutrition felt that it had seen better days too, perhaps being hard on myself. Just wanted to eat like crazy this week….. coming into winter….. just going with it though.

And on that note, as now I do eat 90% ‘clean food’, when I did have a red wine Thursday night, followed by a meat pie and more red wine on Friday night, man oh man, did my body let me know about it…. sluggish, struggling to balance in my PT strength training session on Friday morning, then just craving sugar and comfort food on Saturday. As well as triggering off my ‘heat sensations’ in my body. Hmmmm. On the plus side of it though, I DID enjoy the wine, as it’s now very rarely that I drink.

Sunday came around, and it was time for my long run, although the heavens had another idea, and I was playing dodgem with the torrential rain most of the morning, so I decided to switch my food around and my long run, and go after lunch, when the weather forecast was better. Yay for flexible training!!!!

I felt like a race horse, chomping at the bit, all day long…. WOW I didn’t realise how much my long runs meant to me. The sun eventually appeared and out I went – perfect 27.95km straight with no stops, another corner turned with 8 weeks to go – HAPPY.

Gold Coast Marathon Wk9 – Full Moon Running And Being Chased Down By A Car

Do you ever feel that your running training has flatlined a little and you need to mix it up a bit?
With the usual 3 runs per week planned for me – sprints/hills; tempo run and long run in my Marathon Plan it’s great sometimes to through in something completely left of centre…….
I don’t know about you, but I thrive on adventure and excitement, so when I heard of Wings For Life World Run – where over 70,000 runners all over the world run simultaneously, I was in.
You might have heard me mention in in earlier emails. The concept of the race is you are given a 30mins start before the ‘chaser’ car starts. You keep running until the ‘chaser car’ passes you, and thats when your race is over. COOL !!!! Love a challenge….. Click here for more info about the race around the world
The tricky thing was the Australian leg started at 9pm last Sunday night. Yuk I thought, that’s completely outside my comfort zone, as I’m a ‘morning runner’.
Questions whizzing around my head like…..
- What do I eat throughout the day
- What evening meal do I prepare based on running throughout the night
- Do I have ‘extra’ sleep the night before
- Will I be able to stay awake
- What speed shall I run at
- And so on
Hmmm well I just decided to have a cruisy day and eat/drink as I normally would. Take the stress out of it and enjoy the night. Perfect. What would be would be.
WingsFor Life2 WingsFor Life3 So Sunday night came, and it ended up to be the most bizarre surreal night.
Think full moon dance party crossed with 3000 people dressed in reflective workmen vests, miners headlamps and Lycra running throughout the night, being cheered on by well wishers and kids dressed in pyjamas, all runners being chased down by the ‘catcher car’.
It was a great night and I lasted 14.7km before the catcher car got me. Happy, 1st night run, a new PB, (that’s the beauty of running a new race). AND it was a lot of fun :)
Are you up for the challenge for the global race next year – May 8th 2016. You can pre register and find out more here.
What I learnt about this experience most were:-
- Great to step out of comfort zone and experience a new adventure
- Stay relaxed and ‘in flow’ with your running
- Build on previous running and race experience and ‘run your own race’
So if you want to put the ‘mo-jo’ back in your running, do something differently:-
- Mix up your runs
- Run a new route
- Run at a different time of day
- Check out your local or overseas running calendar and select a new race to aim for
- Tackle hill running
- Run cross country
And most of all HAVE FUN

Gold Coast Marathon Wk8 – Step Outside Your Comfort Zone!

Another big week on the kms, especially Sunday’s long run. This week turned into one of the weeks of really starting to ramp things up, stepping outside my comfort zone as well as still listening to my body with rest and recovery being critical.

One thing for sure I knew more than anything this week, was I NEEDED TO PUT IN MORE KMS no matter what.

Tuesday morning was back to the hills, this time 3 reps up a massive hill, and again pleased that I pushed through and increasing a rep more than last week. I was definitely in the zone, pumping my arms for momentum, saying my positive running affirmations.

Bliss - Out running in the country!!

Bliss – Out running in the country!!

Rod and I went away for a couple of nights, and I had scheduled a run the morning after a night out with amazing food and wine. It was a total indulgent dinner and I paid for it on the next day’s run, feeling very lethargic.

However the scenery was stunning and it was perfect to run somewhere new. I’m an explorer at heart, so I love checking out new places by foot whenever I travel to new places.

I read about Rebekah Gregory‘s  journey this week, crossing the Boston Marathon after having her leg amputated last November, a year and a half after the Boston Marathon bombings. A truly inspiring story of what’s possible and to keep following your dreams no matter what.

It certainly helped me clock up 30km on this Sunday’s long run. Yes there were toilet stops and walk breaks along the way. Although I loved it, happy and glad I’ve got my first 30km under my belt, 10 weeks out from the Gold Coast marathon.

Now to rest and recover :)