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 I am going to start of by saying I am a little bit chuffed with myself as I have been working for less than 2 months, in my new job as a junior doctor, AND I managed to train and run a half marathon #yougogirl. At the start of my job, I was questioning myself as to whether it was a sensible idea doing a half marathon so early on. The last 2 months have been bloody stressful and exhausting, working long hours, doing on calls, coming home from work and just wanting to crash on the sofa. But instead I committed myself to my training and i did a bloody good job!

Training wise, I knew that I wasn’t as fit as I was when I was training in Australia. I can’t be too harsh on myself, as I was in a great form in Sydney, eating well, sleeping a decent amount of hours etc. Now I am lucky if i have time to pee during my day at work and eating lunch is pretty much a luxury. I know I could run the distance no problem but whether I could improve on my time, I highly doubted it. I decided that I wouldn’t put pressure on timings and entered it with pretty low expectations.

Two of my lovely doctor friends- Sina and Cathy- who I work with – came to support me. It makes SUCH a difference when you have some support. I wasn’t nervous at all really, just excited that they were coming to cheer me on. Also it really motivates you to keep running when you know at certain points you will see a familiar face

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How did training go?

My training plan was fairly similar to my Sydney one. I worked on a 6 week countdown with 3 runs a week, gradually increasing my distance up to max 18km than tapering off in the last 2 weeks. However, last time I was doing reg yoga x2-3 a week [this is something that has been lacking from my training- and i am paying for it now – incredibly tender muscles]. Also exciting . . . I treated myself to a gorgeous [notsocheap] road bike with my first pay check, so incorporated that in my training plan. I am based in a hospital, on the coast in Kent, and i am really enjoying exploring the coast line on my bike.

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[sunset cycle]

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My training plan

WEEK 1: 2 short runs [5,5km] and a cycle

WEEK 2: 2 mediums and 1 short runs [4, 8, 8] and a cycle

WEEK 3: 3 medium runs [8,10,12] and a cycle

WEEK 4: 2 medium and 1 long run [10,10,15] and a cycle

WEEK 5: one long run [18] . . . I was on call this week so working long days.

WEEK 6: 1 short, medium and long run [5,10,15]

WEEK 7: two medium runs [8,8] and a cycle

RACE end of week 7.

How did the race go?

The first 5km i ran with the lovely Lauren – I was running at quite a slow pace but I was enjoying running with someone. Lauren then needed a toilet break but I decided to carry on and pick up my pace. 3km later i hear someone shouting “CAZ” and it is Lauren behind! I was super impressed, as i was running quite fast but she caught up. We carried on the next 4km together, then i decided to pick up my pace again. Now this is properly where i ran too fast, too early. I had been sucking on an energy gel and it just kicked in so fast, i ran the next 3-4 km at 5”00, 5”10, 5”05. At around 14km the route re-enters back into Bristol so the crowd support was great. I was running really well at this point and then saw my GIRLS at the side line, shouting my name.

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I then sped up more [error] and didn’t realise until i looked at my watch and my heart rate was going at 187!! I dont like it to go above 170 as i find i will exhaust myself and begin to slow down considerably . . . this is what happened. The final bit of the route i really didn’t enjoy as it was over cobbled streets and you kept going back on yourself through the city centre. All that kept me going was seeing my girls again, near the finish line. I saw them just before the 12 mile mark which i didn’t expect and that really boosted me on. I then saw Lauren when i looped around on the last mile, she was doing amazingly and had really caught up a fair amount of distance. I sped up for the last mile but was beginning to feel rather light headed and my heart rate was now creeping up to 185. I was being stubborn and didn’t want to slow down . The last 300 metres i sprinted partly because I could see the time and realised how close i was to my last race! When i crossed the line my heart was thumping SO hard at 195. Woapsies.

My race time really surprised me – it was 1 min slower than my sydney speed. With my training, I was anticipating on being maybe borderline sub 2 hours.

Also my friend Lauren got her PB which she has been chasing for awhile. I was super proud that I could share it with her and especially since we had a run a section of it together!

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What I learnt?

I can REALLY push myself. I was running sub 5 mins in some segments. My max HR [sprint at the end] was 195! My pace was a bit all over the place, normally when i run i like to keep at a steady heart rate. That strategy just flew out the window after the 10km point, where it just exponentially increased.

Most importantly, the race made me realise I am a good runner and I have potential to run faster and better, if I really want to.

What is next?

My current thoughts switch between

1. Continue with halfs and run faster
2. Train for a marathon
3. Train for a triathlon

I have been seriously thinking about whether i want to do a marathon- ideally I want to do one next year or the following. The issue is do i really want to commit to the training? The idea of 26 miles, really does not appeal to me, but who does it appeal to? No one really runs a marathon for fun. It is a challenge and a bloody achievement. The Paris Marathon is on 3rd April next year, that is an ideal length of time to train for it and also it is in freaking Paris! Most runners i have spoken to have said you can train for a marathon in 20 weeks if you already run well. So 20 weeks would be mid November. . . on paper it is feasible. Am i crazy though??

BUT then since getting a road bike, I have played with the idea of entering a triathlon. The AJ Bell London Triathlon [Olympic distance] happens in early August every year. I am tempted, but the issue is i just dont do swimming. I would need to find a local group that i can train with.

Instead of thinking about it, being sensible and weighing up all options . . . what have i gone and done . . . ENTERED MYSELF INTO THE PARIS 2016 MARATHON #letsnotpanicnow

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My current thinking

1. Work on interval training [HIT]- to increase my speed

2. Join the Thanet running club [I need to train with other people, especially in the winter]

3. Enjoy my bike more

4. Convince my family and friends to come and cheer me on in Paris [#hinthintmajorhint]

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