Race Recap: #BristolHalfMarathon

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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]

I am back and a doctor!

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It has been a while, almost three months. Wow, how time flies! And SO much has happened

  1. I had truly the most amazing time on my elective. Some of my favourite happy photos…

–> Fraser Island

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[Lake Mckenzie]

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–> Whitsundays

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–> Gt Ocean Road

[Grampians National Park]

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[The Twelve Apostles – actually there are only 8 left]

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…. and obviously a classic aussie photo of a koala! Not only in the wild but with a baby

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2. I graduated from my medical school  . . . and I am officially a DOCTOR. I still get goosebumps when i think about it  DR C A Z R.

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[My family – who i would not have survived medical school without. Their support, patience and love I am eternally grateful for.]

. . . My brother also graduated from Sheffield! Proud sister.

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3. I have survived my first 6 WEEKS as a FY1 DOCTOR.

I can’t quite believe how time has flown and we are half way through September. As a medical student, you spend so long studying and the journey seems never ending. When you finally reach the end, it feels SO surreal being “A DOCTOR”. You suddenly go from wandering aimlessly around the wards, feeling a waste of space, getting in the way . . . to being thrown onto the wards with a list of 60 patients who you are responsible for, a gaggle of relatives constantly thrusting questions at you, a bleep that you want to throw against the wall and then suddenly realising you havent been to the toilet all day. Basically, in summary, I feel like i am climbing Mount Everest and i am just about clinging on!

 I try to remain calm and collected …

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But in reality, I can relate to this 90% of the time

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But am i enjoying my job? Yes, I am. I might be terrified but I am panicking less and less now when a nurse comes up and asks me to review an unwell patient. I am becoming more confident in my clinical judgement and not needing constant reassurance. I try to cling onto the moments where I know I have helped make a patient better OR even simply when a patient says thank you.

I am also very lucky as have a great supportive network of FY1s, there are 21 of us in total. Most of us live together in one big block of flats in hospital accommodation [we simply roll out of bed and walk 200metres and we have arrived at the hospital!]. We moan, rant, laugh, cry and most importantly watch Great British Bake Off together.

4. I ran my second HALF marathon! 

Since starting work, I have been finding it difficult to switch off when I come back home. The first few weeks, I didn’t sleep well and constantly dreaming about my patients. I suppose living with other FY1s, it is natural to talk/rant/de-stress about your day. BUT I really want to be able to separate WORK and LIFE. I found running was the only time I could zone out. I entered myself into the Bristol Half, a fair while ago, as after really enjoying the Sydney Half, I got the race bug! I did have second thoughts when i started work in August, thinking maybe it was bit too much, trying to train for a half marathon and starting a new job. I have been quite relaxed with my training plan and it actually has been a great distraction and de-stressor for work.

I will write a separate post on how i found the race and my training!

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[I may have signed up to another race or two woapsies!]

Speak laters

East Coast #4weeks

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I am currently shooting my way up the East Coast! I have rather limited access to wifi with staying in hostels and being constantly on the move. So my posts are rather behind.  

I have just 4 weeks left in Australia and my plan is to travel up the East coast from Sydney to Cairns. Then I will fly down to Adelaide and make my around to Melbourne, along the coastline, so I can do the iconic Great Ocean Road! My plan is very optimistic as I am fitting in A LOT in a mere month. Some travellers spend 6 months doing the entire East Coast . . . I have 3 weeks!  

Also the sheer size of Australia, I am travelling just shy of 3000km [2700] between Sydney and Cairns! And I am doing it by coach . . . am I crazy!?! The ‘greyhound’ coach among backpackers is a the most popular way to travel with the east coast. Firstly it is a cheap way to do it and they stop at all the main cities and towns along the east coast. I got a ‘hop on and off’ pass from Sydney to Cairns, basically means i can get off wherever I want along the route.  

The ones I have taken so far I have been fairly impressed with-  all have been half empty so lots of room, they even have usb charges and wifi. I have met a lot of backpackers on it as you are all doing the same route!  O what has been super great is most of the hostels meet you at the bus stop with a shuttle bus so you don’t need to lug your one tonne bag around!  

My route: 

Sydney– overnight coach  

Yamba– not a popular stopover for backpackers but I read about it on a blog and some Aussies recommended stopping over. Even been told it is better than Byron . . .  

Byron Bay– hippie and surfer central!  

Brisbane– another main city. Only stopping over one night.  

Hervey Bay– pre tour stop 

Fraser Island- the largest sand island in the world…  miles of open beaches, freshwater lakes and rainforest. I have booked a 3 day trip [camping, 4×4 driving] 

Noosa– upmarket coastal town. A few days chilling here. 

Airlie beach- pre tour stop [currently here] 

Whitsundays – the iconic beauitful deserted tropical islands with the Great Barrier Reef on the doorstep. Some of the finest beaches in the world – I have been told. I have booked a 3 day Sailing trip on a catamaran #superexcited  

Magnetic island – 2 days relaxing with wallabies  

Cairns– “backpacker central”. They say there isn’t much to do in Cairns but a lot to do around Cairns. I have booked a 2 day diving trip to Great Barrier Reef and 1 day to Daintree rainforest. 

Adelaide– Barossa Valley -home to Jacobs Creek, I have organised a wine tour! Then I have a  3 day trip driving along the coast to Melborune- Grampians national park and Great Ocean road. It is meant to be  one of the best ever coastal roadtrips apparently with the magnificent Twelve Apostles  

Melbourne– arty haven, only have 2 days there sadly 

Fly to Hong Kong!  
Photos so far … 

First stop YAMBA:

I really loved this place, a ‘hidden gem’! A lot of backpackers and even Aussies havent heard of this place, but I am so glad I stopped over. It is a sleepy fishing town that has a bohemian chilled out vibe.  There is a big draw for experienced surfers as it has some of the best waves on the east coast. It is also the home to the founder of Billabong [a big surf brand]. It has 10 beaches all within 10 minute walk away! They are beauitful beaches that stretch for kms, completely deserted so feels like you have them all to yourself. I even saw dolphins and whales!

The hostel was so friendly, I had a dorm to myself which was pretty sweet, especially after my overnight coach from Sydney! I was only meant to stay here one night but ended up staying two. 

   

Pelicans chilling

 Morning run along the beach, all to myself! 

   

  
Cliff jumping- I look so elegant!  

Watching the sun disappear   

Next stop Byron Bay: sadly the weather wasn’t too great for me, a lot of rain. I did the walk along the beach around to the Lighthouse- the most Easterly point of Australia. The town itself is very hippie … full of rainbow coloured shops, organic stores and so many “alternative herb” places!
 

Go away grey sky 
  Such a yummy hip breakfast place ‘Bay Leaf Cafe’.   

 
Brisbane: I had less than 24 hours in this city. Stayed in a YHA very central and just spent the day wondering around, following the lonely planet city trail! I woke up pretty early @ 6.30am and went on a run along the river, there were so many other runners, kayakers, walkers, cyclists already out. It was quite foggy and it was slowly lifting above the river, it looked quite mystical. The rest of the day was such glorious weather, I was very lucky! They call Brisbane one of Australia’s underrated cities and I could appreciate why, i wish i had one more day there. 

Foggy early morning run along the river  Brunch @ a rather edgey  place, I liked how they used old gin/rum/whisky bottles as water jugs!   

   

  I came across these two historic churches located right in the center of the city- such a contrast with the backdrop of the skyscrapers!   

The Botanical gardens 

  

 South Banks, a big parkland running alongside the river. There is an artificial beach in the middle of it!

  

  

  

  


I need to head off now to board my sailing boat, heading to the whitsundays!