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I was at a teammate’s wedding in October of last year when the prospect of running a marathon in April started to gain momentum. I was seated beside my friend Tom Middleton with a 6-week-old Ellie in my arms and we were discussing our future Marathon goals. He enthusiastically offered his support as a pacer if I were to target an April race…. 5 months later we were boarding a plane together, bound for Seoul along with Ellie and her Uncle Sam!

Ready to board a flight to Sydney where we spent one night before flying to Seoul on Thursday April 4th

This is a snapshot of our time in South Korea, where we were looked after very well by the race organisers and locals. The support and affection shown towards Ellie by everyone was beyond what I could have imagined and I look forward to sharing stories with her over a bibimbap one day (one of my new favourite dishes!) 

Preparing for a Marathon with a young baby started with not only the keenness to give it a go but also belief that it was possible. I always knew that if I was not enjoying the process or progressing as hoped, I could shift the goalposts. It involved trusting my instincts as well as the return-to-training plan that my coach Adam carefully put together - he presented it to me in small chunks & adapted it as we went. Given that I would be travelling with Ellie, we sought out a reputable Marathon in a similar time-zone that would require as little time away from home as possible. Fuelling & sleep are two factors that I consider very important for recovery & performance. I could control my nutrition but had to maintain an open-mind about sleep. This was my first time on a long flight whilst breastfeeding and it impacted my hydration status more than I anticipated. Rehydrating was a strong focus of mine in the days leading up to the race. I also noticed that I had a bigger appetite than I usually would during my two day carbohydrate load so added a few extra diner rolls and cups of steamed rice to my typical pre-Marathon nutrition plan.

Race bottle decorating with Billy and Ellie
Ellie looking very relaxed on our way to the race : )

On Marathon morning I was able to bring Ellie on the official race bus with me and gave her a feed 20 minutes before the Marathon started (running Mums will appreciate the value of having this opportunity!) I had expressed a bottle for her to have while I was on the road and knew she was in great hands with Sam. Surprisingly it is the most relaxed I have felt before a race, which I put down to being satisfied with the training I had completed in the lead up, the perspective I have gained in recent years from parenthood and other experiences, trust in the team around me and a general sense of happiness to be racing again. I saw Ellie and Sam twice in the first 3kms which was special and spent some time reflecting on Ellie's birth during the race. I also enjoyed soaking in the sights around me of big city buildings, cherry blossom trees in full bloom and locals out cheering. Every time I took a drink from one of the bottles that my four-year-old Billy had helped me to decorate before leaving home I gained a bit of extra motivation and strength. I was able to take on all of the carbohydrates and fluids that I had planned to, which I hoped would help me over the hills in the closing kilometres of the race.

As soon as I crossed the line, Sam handed Ellie to me for a big squeeze and told me that my family had been following along from home via the livestream and results feed. I felt elated, exhausted and relieved to have achieved a goal that my family, my team and I had worked so hard for. The stadium was buzzing as I started guzzling water ahead of my drug test - producing 90mls straight after racing 42.195km is tough - I managed to produce 91mls : ).

Arriving at a starting line feeling healthy and ready to explore my potential is something that I will never take for granted. A whole lot of people helped to make this possible on Sunday - thank you once again!! XOXO


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