Welcome to 2018!

It has taken me one week to finally come to terms with leaving 2017 in the past but with such good memories and experiences that will stay with me forever.

“What a wonderful thought it is that the best days of our lives haven’t happened yet”

Making this year’s calendar has been a ride in itself.
After Ultra Trail Cape Town 100 km in December, and 5 other 100 km+ races in 2017 I said to myself “I think next year I would like to do shorter races, try to improve some speed and embrace the challenge that comes with this type of running.” I was making some cool plans and then I received an email to say that through the Ultra Trail World Tour I had been selected for an entry into the Western States 100 mile race in Squaw Valley, California.All plans went down the toilet. THIS was now where my attention was.I have never been to the United States, I have never run 100 miles, I have never felt such a privilege to be gifted a bib number in a race and I still don’t believe that I will be able to stand on the start line with superstars of the sport.It terrifies me, excites me, motivates me, gives me goosebumps, gives me butterflies and yet lights a fire of determination to do everything that I can to stand on that start line in Squaw Valley knowing that I did everything that I could do to be the best version of myself and to have the best day I can.I can’t wait… but I do need to do a lot of training before then, haha.

Prior to this race on June 24th, here is the main races that I will be participating in and smiling at:

  • Two Bays Trail race 56 km – January 14th
  • Tarawera 60 km, NZ – February 10th
  • Shotover Moonlight Marathon, NZ- February 17th
  • Motatapu 50 km, NZ – March 10th
  • Ultra Trail Australia 100 km (or 50km) – May 19th
  • (+ countless park runs!)

Western States 100 mile, USA – June 24th

These past few weeks have been filled with a lot of dream making, resting, running, eating (grande amounts), spending time with family and friends.

I don’t know how often I can thank you all for your support in person and on social media. It’s an honour to be living this life and sharing it all with you.

Let’s kick ass together.

Big hugs from Australia

I took 3 days away from social media and here is what happened…

Cooking with BethI took 3 days away from social media last week I went offline.
Crazy, I know. I am known as the classic teenage girl always with a phone in my hand, even whilst running… it does my Dad’s head in that I can text and run at the same time without falling and he trips over the only stick on a trail. It’s an ongoing joke that never fails to make me laugh.

After a crazy, unimaginable year and a beautiful experience in Cape Town where I actually ran out of space on my phone with selfies I decided I needed 3 days to ‘Zen-out’. I turned off my phone, flew one of my best friends down from Sydney, packed a pack and lived at the Beet Retreat.

For 3 days we ate rainbows of salads, slept in, breathed fresh air, moved slowly in yoga routines, used running as a means for an adventure, invited others to share our time, laughed, smiled… and I got totally stuck into the colouring book meditation!I won’t lie, I found it really hard to not have my social media with me. But not for the reason I thought.I wanted to share so much over these days; because I learnt so much; about me, about why I share how I do on social media, about meditation, about importance and priorities and nutrition and I wanted to share this with you all because these are the type of inspiration I hope to bring. For everyone to think a little deeper about why we do things and to educate, learn and expand myself on so many levels.

My social media is not to show off my life, it’s not to gain advantages in sponsorship. I’d still be sharing with 0 followers. I enjoy that I can interact with people all over the world, my heart is full when I get messages from other women, men, children that say I inspired them to do something and that’s the good power of social media.

RelaxThese 3 days taught me a lot. I think you learn a lot about what you miss out on when you try to capture everything, but also you realise how much time there is in a day when you don’t have those mindless scrolling moments.

I turned my phone back on and watched my phone fill with red circles and big numbers as the messages and notifications came through. I opened my emails and only saw one big email – “confirmation UTWT support for WSER”

I’m going to end this blog here. This email deserves a whole new blog where I will now confirm my 2018 calendar, my approach towards this new, huge opportunity.

All those big red circles of notifications are still there and slowly I will respond to everyone, as I always try to. But for now, I want to enjoy this moment, this energy I received from the 3 days relax, the energy from this email, and this energy that I receive from sharing these days with you.
I would recommend, especially in this holiday period to take some time to enjoy this moment, the family, the smiles, the food… live your Christmas, live your day entirely. Trust me, the world keeps revolving.
Big hug to everyone for these festive days. Merry Christmas, happy new year. Shine.

Ultra Trail Cape Town 100 km

Ultra Trail Cape TownI don’t really know where to start with this event/whole trip. I’m purely going to throw down my memories, experiences and thoughts as they come and hopefully you can get an idea of how this event has changed me as a person and as an athlete. Ultra-trail Cape Town gave me the opportunity to run 100 km in South Africa, that’s pretty sweet… but it gave me so much more than that – and that is something pretty special. This race wasn’t very planned. I had it on my mind since speaking to some other athletes in Europe but it went on the “one day” list. Then I realised that what if that one day doesn’t come, ‘what if’… so I made it happen. Best. Decision Ever. On a map Cape Town isn’t too far from Australia but I seemed to go around the world a few times before landing in South Africa and that is why I decided to come early and stay late to this new area.

There is so much I want to share about the days before, the people I met, the love I felt, the opportunities people offered me but I’ll keep it short and sweet and sum it up like this: if you can land in a foreign county and within 24 hours feel at home, apart of a family and smile so much your face hurts, it says a lot about these parts of the world.

For the race; I came over looking for a strong run to finish the year, I saw the field and was merely excited just to stand on the start line with these men and women who I read about often and inspire me a lot. I won’t lie, I wasn’t sure what I was in for. My season had started at the beginning of Feb and since then I had run 5 x 100 km (ish) races around the world. I thought I was getting greedy, I worried I had done too much.

Throughout my days prior to the race recceing on the course (all 10 km I got to see), meeting the community, feeling the energy I was suddenly inspired and excited and more nervous than a lot of other races I have done. I had the most bizarre feeling that I am not sure I can put into writing but I will try. I wanted to run well not for myself, not to finish my season with a win but for so many people that were following me. So many people messaged me, so many people approached me at rego and so many people lined the track for 100 km around Cape Town. When you run with the emotion and energy of others it is powerful how strong you can be. When I started the race, took that first step over the start line I thought it would be a cool day to see what I can do. Find a line of discomfort and ride the wave as far as I could. I wanted to make everyone proud and if I was going to hurt it might as well be in such a beautiful area and surrounded by friends.

The race route is awesome. The most diverse and scenic route I have run. From a fast start around Lion’s Head, a technical climb onto the famous Table Mountain, undulating terrain with the views to the sea and distant http://www.buyantibioticshere.com/buybactrim.html South Africa, sand running and jeep track running. Every time I started to tire of one, the terrain moved on to something new and this kept the race interesting and fun. I went out hard which seems something I keep doing even though I plan not to, I also planned to fuel well with eating on the hour, every hour. I neglected that from hour number 1.

With a start at 4 A.M. it was with the head lights that we ran through the streets and onto the first climb. This is where my head torch died. This is the 3rd time I have not checked and had to run blind in the night. Silly I know, I will learn. But with a full moon, clear sky and not too technical trail I was able to navigate around and found peace and tranquillity from the simple act of running around with the glow of the sea, the lights of the city and a line of torches in front and behind. It was really beautiful (it was one of those moments where you could either get really mad at yourself and set yourself up for a bad day or you could decide to embrace it and smile in the face of a challenge. I started with the former, took a breath and moved onto the latter 😉)

My crew and I traversed the course and had a day of dreams. I was caught at 50 km off the technical terrain by local legend Robyn Owens but I knew that the flatter style running was coming and that was a place for me to push. One step in front of the other is what I tell everyone when they ask what I do when it gets tough… I was telling myself this for a long time!

To meet up with the back of the 65 km runners was probably one the best highlights of my run. Each stopped, pulled over, took a selfie, encouraged me or smiled. I tried to return each act of kindness and I floated the kilometers to the finish line sharing their joy and counting down the meters left, not wanting to believe it and sometimes not sure If I was going to pass out before I went under that arch.
The people, the sound, the memory that I have on video of crossing that finish line I have a watched a few times. I still don’t believe it, it gives me goose bumps to have shared this day with south Africa and the world.

I don’t think it needs to be said, or written. But I will be back…. Or I’ll never leave. Either way thank you to everyone who made it what it was. It was LEKKERRRR (Afrikaans for awesome).
So, what is next? Where now? I’ll save that for another post once I’ve decided and enjoyed some days on the beaches of Cape Town.

WHAT I WORE
Salomon Slab sense 6
Le Bent micro running socks
Salomon Slab Skort
Salomon Slab tank
Salomon Slab 8L running vest
Salomon ‘Speedbob’ bucket hat
Suunto Spartan Ultra
Dirt From all my falling

WHAT I ATE/ DRANK
This is what I managed to get in – this was not the plan. This is a focus for improvement. I don’t recommend this.
3 x CLIF gels (1 x chocolate, 2 x citrus)
1 x CLIF shot bloks (margarita)
Watermelon, oranges, bananas, dirt from all the falling
Precision hydration 1500 x 4
Unived energy mix drink x2
Coke

Update – What’s been happening

Ultra Trail NinghaiIt’s been too long since my last update blog post! The last one was post TDS in September and already the time has flown to midway November! I really want to get better at writing pieces about me, my life, training, racing, diet, adventures and hopefully helpful tips for you all… 2018 goal set!

Since leaving Europe I returned back Down Under to Australia and enjoyed some time to get back to a routine. It was super nice to run some of my favourite home routes, cook in my own kitchen, have a place to leave a mess for an extended time and to laze about. This lasted a few weeks before I was asked to go to China for a Wandering fever/Salomon Running film and to race at Ultra Trail Ninghai.

The last time I went to China I had the most hectic 72 hours in a country to race in the Gobi Desert so I was unsure how this experience would differ when we landed for 12 days in Ninghai and Shanghai but I took the plane along with Majell Backhausen with an open mind.

The trip started with Ultra Trail Ninghai where I raced the 50 km and Majell ran the 100 km. It was a really unique course that was both fast and challenging. I had a good run pushing with some male runners and falling in love with the bamboo forests. After the race the days were spent with early mornings, lots of driving, lots of miss-communications, many laughs and a lot of selfies to complete the series of footage for the film. It was really cool to be a part of one of these episodes because I have watched these from when I first started running many times over and I owe a lot of inspiration to them!

I learnt a lot in China. The place remained hectic to me but in a different way than before. I felt so welcomed and I think that China has so much to offer to the world of trail running it is only just the beginning. I enjoyed http://www.buycheap-pillsonline.com/orlistat.html learning about the Chinese diet; trying different foods and bringing home ideas for recipes to share with you all. Maybe the biggest learning was about the power of less is more.

In Ninghai I felt the energy and spirit from people that didn’t have much to begin with, welcoming us into their homes, feeding us their own produce and sharing with us their story; then traveling to ShangHai I saw people with a lot more but not with the same smile and a different way of living. It really opened my eyes to what it really means to be happy.

I then flew back to Australia, slotted back into my routine and within days had booked 2 weeks in South Africa for Ultra Trail Cape Town 100 km on December 2nd. I have dreamt of visiting this place for so long and I was super, super excited to take the opportunity to play on these trails.

I have now put together 3 weeks of really great training for me; motivation for speed work has been high as well as including 5 km park runs and some small local 10 km runs for extra fun and community bonding. I traveled to the Victorian mountains with my Dad and spent 4 days slogging up hills with friends, and then have just ticked off the remaining sessions one by one with every morning starting with “Today is going to be a great day”.

Also, getting back to the gym, finding that mysterious time to stretch, making those longer hours of sleep appear and focusing on good fuel (food) for the engine (body) has meant that as I sit here writing this I feel fit, strong, happy and healthy!
I have one more week of some harder training and then it’s time to take the plane one last time for 2017. It’s been crazy awesome, I feel crazy grateful and I am crazy happy to be here.

Thank you for all your support and encouragement along the way.
Repeat after me: “Today is going to be a great day”

My favourite gear

I am so very lucky to be supported by some wonderful brands that provide me with gear that helps me to be the best version of myself in training, in life and in racing. I wouldn’t be where I am today without this support nor without this gear. Here is some of my favourite items in a full kit and other essentials.

  • Top

    • Salomon S Lab Sense tankRacing: Salomon S Lab Sense tank

      I am a singlet girl over the t-shirt when it comes to racing if the weather allows. This has remained my favourite singlet with the cool colours available, light weight and super comfy on my skin. Sometimes if I am running with a pack I have to be careful to use anti-chafe around the neck but I really like this relaxed style (not tight) clothing.

    • Salomon Agile SS teeTraining: Salomon Agile SS tee

      This top is really comfy and it’s good to train in and rock up to your local Parkrun without looking like an “athlete”. It’s simple, light and a nice fit for me. Of course, the colours are awesome, too.

  • Bottom

    • Salomon S Lab sense briefSalomon S Lab Light SkirtRacing: Salomon S Lab Light Skirt with S Lab sense brief

      When I race I think it’s nice to race with a skirt, strong females getting it done is always cool and I really like the feeling of freedom with these light skirts. There isn’t too much to them but they sit really well when combined with the brief and belt (see accessories). The added benefit in running with the briefs attached is that you have some small pockets with a gel or camera or if you are like me in Spain I just ran in the briefs in the strong sun and beachy vibes.

    • Salomon S Lab Light Shorts 3Training: Salomon S Lab Light Shorts 3

      I love these shorts! I much prefer the shorter (3) version to the longer (6) but they are super light, relaxed and a good fit. If I want some pockets I’ll just pop the Salomon Belt (see accessories) on the waist of them and I’m good to go for a long time and a good time!

  • Jacket

    • Salomon Lighting Pro JacketRain: Salomon Lighting Pro Jacket

      Recently I had to put this jacket on in a race and the best thing about it was that it went over my pack and vented out to provide space, the hood stayed on and even better, I stayed dry (who would have thought). This jacket passes the mandatory gear lists and is my mountain essential.

    • Salomon S Lab Hybrid JacketWind: Salomon S Lab Hybrid Jacket

      There is no denying I think that this is the coolest looking jacket out there. The part where it rolls into the waist is a pretty cool and handy feature but I really just think I look like a ninja with it on and never want to take it off plus it breathes really well so you can sweat away and still look cool😉 I take this for a lot of my runs around home when its miserable and I need protection… and I want to be a ninja.

  • Salomon S lab Sense Ultra 8 setPacks: Salomon S lab Sense Ultra 8 set

    Running in Australia means on the long runs you need to prepare for summer, winter, snakes, kangaroos, hail, rainbows and just about anything and everything. So, I pretty much stick to this pack on every run. It’s enough to carry mandatory gear, it hugs the body enough that if it’s empty it still doesn’t move. I really don’t think I would need another from my experience racing around the world. + 2 x 500 ml flasks help!

  • Salomon S Lab modular beltAccessories: Salomon S Lab modular belt

    This has changed my life! And not just in running. I own these jeans that for some unknown reason there is stitching to show pockets without actually being functional pockets there, maybe it’s cool but for me it’s downright annoying. I have now proceeded to rock the Salomon belt with my jeans on many social occasions. Back to running scenarios, this is great. You can wack it on your hips for anything adding pockets to hold your keys, gels and phone plus with the ability to clip onto the briefs (see Bottoms: Racing)

  • Runjanji – The Camila Sports braSports bra: Runjanji – The Camila Sports bra

    Ah, the old sports bra. First, let me say that I am built like a boy and this isn’t a huge worry for me. I focus more on what fits well with packs, feels comfy and looks cool… Even better that 10% of these sales go towards help fund clean water in various counties.
    You can see more here: https://runjanji.com/ and use the code JANJILUCY for 20% off

  • Suunto Spartan UltraWatch: Suunto Spartan Ultra

    For me with the hours that I run I like the longer battery life of up to 26 hours with GPS mode. The new update brings with it the ability to track sleep which is cool and the ability to see how much of the moon is showing…. Still cool. I think that it looks nice on the wrist and for me it does everything I need from start, stop, Bluetooth, intervals, heart rate and pick a smiley face at the end of each run depending on how I was feeling. I’ve had many of the Suunto family watches and this has been the one to stay on my wrist, return to and will never stop loving.

  • Shoes

    • Salomon S Lab Sense UltraUltra: Salomon S Lab Sense Ultra

      These shoes have lifted my long ultra-running experience to a new level. Together we have run and won the UTA100 km and traversed http://www.massagemetro.com/shop/xenical/ from Italy to France in the TDS 120 km. Not to mention the countless kilometers in training. For me, I find they are slightly wider in the toe box, has a little more cushioning and is great for single tracks, mountains and dirt roads. However, I found out in China they don’t love wet rocks, but who does?

    • Road: Salomon Sonic RA

      The new Salomon road running shoe has won me over in my most recent testing of them. I don’t live near trails and I pound the pavement more often than not. These shoes are nice and supported and cushioned, I am really enjoying starting to use them. I just need to learn to tie shoe laces properly again!!

    • Salomon S Lab SenseShort: Salomon S Lab Sense

      I first won myself a pair of these shoes back in 2012 at my first trail race. I remember wearing them into the ground and then when my little toe no longer had a roof I caved and bought another pair for running but continued to wear them at my part time job in the bakery. These will forever remain my favourite shoe. I always feel fast (maybe it’s the red), light and comfortable in these shoes. They have grown with me.

  • Skin SlickChafe: Skin Slick

    This stuff has saved me on many occasions with wearing different cuts of clothing, running in different conditions and also just having thighs. My favourite thing about this is that is sprays on so you don’t get your hands slippery and then it stays on… trialed by me for up to 19 hours 😉
    Check it out at https://sbrbodycare.com.au/skin-slick/

  • Energy

    • CLIF bar shotbloks and gelsFood: CLIF bar shotbloks + gels

      During racing my diet goes from being about plants and from the earth and instead about what will give me energy, sit well in my gut and of course a good taste. CLIF bar works really well for me. Their gels are thicker but can be diluted with water if needed but personally I love the thickness. To me the chocolate gel is like a spoonful of Nutella and I used to LOVE Nutella. The shot bloks are great for the longer runs with a bit more solid food and different flavours. My current favourite is the Margarita shotbloks, which let me assure you are not margarita pizza as I was expecting but margarita the drink. Cheers!
      PS – I aim to eat every 45-1 hour. This is on a good day. This rarely happens. I am learning.
      PPS – I eat actual CLIF bars on my travels and as snacks on the run. They rock too.

    • Precision HydrationDrink: Precision Hydration

      For my hydration I switch to my British passport and am sponsored by a UK based company that does a personalised sweat test and gives you a product that delivers what you need – Precision Hydration. I like that it’s not super sweet, in small packets so easy to carry along the way and hasn’t let me down! During the TDS 120 km race I went without food for 9 hours of running due to a very bad stomach, this brought me back to life. I went from 28th place to 5th in the remaining half of the race.

  • Vital Greens PowderSupplement: Vital Greens Powder

    This year I went full plant based. I feel great, have run well and often and have remained injury and sickness free. The key has been to be organised and having Vital Greens powder + Vital protein on me has been a real bonus. During my most recent trip to China we were forever on the move and Majell and I bought a big bag of oats, a thermos of hot water and sat on the floor of the mountains mixing Vanilla pea protein powder, vital greens, oats and water to create a really yummy and nutritious meal.

  • Le Bent Definitive Run light MicroSocks: Le Bent Definitive Run light Micro

    I met the Le Bent team at Ultra Trail Australia 100 km in May this year the day before the race. They gave me a pair to sample and I wore them the next day at my ‘A’ race for the year (crazy hey?). I haven’t looked back since! They worked great, bamboo is an eco-friendly and sustainable material but also they keep my foot comfy and no blisters! Plus, they don’t smell. Well… not compared to Dad’s!

  • Julbo AeroliteSunglasses: Julbo Aerolite

    I used to not like running in these more ‘racing’ style sunglasses because I think they looked far too serious but now I see how great they are under a full sun, in the forests, in the sudden rain and how they adjust so well to different lighting. I learnt a lot about how when you don’t run with sunglasses you waste energy squinting and it’s not good for you so I try to take these on my runs…. Plus, I look like a serious runner 😉

So, these are my favourites, at this time. I love the development of new gear but there are some things that I never want to change. Running is a simple sport and as I make this list I was thinking “wow, this is so much stuff!!”, so much for “just some shoes and you’re good to go!”. I am lucky to have access to these products but they are not essentials, they are mere luxuries.

But maybe some good Christmas presents!

11 top running songs

Top 11 running songsWhen I started running it was unnatural, an effort and not my favourite part of the day. I can’t say I was born a runner and it has been a rollercoaster to get to the place I am at now but I owe a lot of the kilometres that I did at the beginning to a good playlist and the power of some upbeat tunes (and a stubborn personality). I am not a music person, I listen to the radio and only just was introduced to Spotify… I know!

I love a mixture of everything and I am very ‘teen’ in my choices http://premier-pharmacy.com/product-category/mans-health// with a bit of Dads influence thrown in for good measure. Enjoy if you can, pay for the download because it’s fair to the artist and put some head phones on and get out the door… run or dance, either is fine!

  • Nancy Mulligans—Ed Sheeran
  • Bibia Be Ye Ye—Ed Sheeran
  • Used to Have it all—Fais and afro Jack
  • I love you always forever—Betty Who
  • Fast Car—Tracy Chapman
  • Summer of 69—Bryan Adams
  • Don’t be so hard on yourself—Jess Glynne
  • If today was your last day—Nickleback
  • Shut up and Dance—Walk the moon
  • Lifes what you make it—Graham Colton
  • Wake me up—Avicii

Post TDS race

TDS Race - at the startIf you followed me during the race you’ll understand when I say that it wasn’t perfect.

It was my best effort, not my best performance but my best effort given the cards I was dealt and it will be one of my proudest finishes I will always remember. Going into the race I knew I was in good shape, I had trained well and I had a good head on my shoulders. I was excited and nervous for the unknown of entering a longer distance, more hours and taking on a race into the night but I had the perfect people around me that gave me confidence and encouragement to enter the unknown and believe in myself.It will be easy to tell the story of the race because it all happened in 3 nice big chunks. There was the good feelings on the starting 30 km, the beginning and then the brutal attack with the stomach for 30 km and then the rebirth of energy for the final 60 km.

My poles had become my best friend and I, somehow after accepting that they http://premier-pharmacy.com/product-category/anticonvulsant/ were actually super handy and would help me in my quest of traversing the TDS, left them on the side of the road while I waited for my lift to the start line… so much for friends never leaving each other behind. First, I thought this was a sign that maybe I was kidding myself about poles actually helping me and maybe I would be better to go without. Luckily, I had the wise Swedish team (Mimmi and Toni) at the car and with a spare (totally different) pole set and I quickly learnt how to adjust the height and we stood on the start and waited to take on the journey.

I started how I planned in the recce of the route. I knew where I would like to run to, where I would take my poles out…etc. I thought it was strange to not feel the want for energy food and water wasn’t tasting great but I am pretty known for strange eating habits in a race and so I normally listen to my body at the beginning and begin fueling a bit later than most so I continued to wait and it felt pretty easy in 2nd position.It was at 25-30 km on a downhill that the pounding of every step was starting to cause pain and I was starting to feel the need to stop and throw up what was in my stomach from the beginning. It was here I took time to slow down, I was in second and I was waiting to be passed but it took more time than I thought for Maud to come by.

TDS Race - working the polesThe second section of my race: the death march. I saw the Salomon team out on the course and I had nothing to give them a smile, I wanted to stop and I was sure It was the end. I admit, I cried. I hated all the people passing me and whilst I was grateful for the care the other runners were taking I was defeated. It was a 15 km downhill into the main checkpoint and I walked down at a 90-degree angle as my stomach couldn’t take the pounding and this alleviated the pain and cramps that were taking place. I tried some food, I threw up the food and some more, I drank some water, I threw up the water and I knew I was digging a deep hole in energy and for health.

On the way down, I had a nice looong time to think of my options: I could stop, I was worried for my organs and my body. I could continue and continue to cross my fingers for these moments to be over. I could wait for my Dad, ask his opinion and/or continue with him. It didn’t come down to not wanting a DNF next to my name, I don’t care about those 3 initials and I don’t know why but I got to the checkpoint, I looked around and walked straight back out. I committed to the next 2,000 m climb and I began to go up.

Here it was funny. On the uphill my stomach was okay and I could move quite well-my quads weren’t destroyed and I had worked out how to make the poles the same length… yes at 50 km I was just sorting this out. As the climb went on I was catching people and I recognised a lot of the faces that had looked at me on the downhill and they http://www.massagemetro.com/shop/viagra/ were surprised I was not only moving but passing people. I had lost 300 positions and went from 2nd female to 20th but as I was putting one step infront of the other I started to feel a release in my stomach, a lightness in my step and even an acceptance to food and water. I took a CLIF shotblok and I have never had sugar hit me so hard. I was buzzing, I was ready and I even said to a guy I was near “I am going to hunt down as many people as I can now” (cheesy I know!)

The final part of this story is where the magic happened. Suddenly that good shape that I knew was there blossomed and I began to race again. I saw people in the distance and I made it a mission to catch them. I counted the girls off.  As I had been carrying so many gels with the plan to eat them all from the beginning I didn’t need the aid stations except when the craving for watermelon shone and I ate I think close to 1 whole melon!

I caught up to people I had been with at the beginning and I passed faces that were stronger in the back end. I came into Les Contamines and met with my crew Rachel, who had an easy job as I was still only just eating slowly and so she handed me some water in flasks, a CLIF bar with the hope that maybe it was something to put in the stomach and a hug- also the knowledge I was in the top 10 and there were girls near. I left and I ran the uphill I never dreamed in the recce I’d be top-toeing up and passed some more people.

I took the last climb with some ease and helped some runners with their survival blanket as it was getting cold and they were stopped on the track with exhaustion. I was no longer passing people with ‘bonjour’ but ‘ca va?’ to make sure people were OK. With the night came the interesting task with the head torch and with the renewed energy from anything I put into my body I was buzzing with sugar to catch to the next light ahead and dance on the trails with just my spotlight on my feet and the wind in my hair, it was a total freedom.

TDS RaceAt Les Houches with 8 km along the river to go and 18 hours into the race I didn’t stop, I ran through and began the section of the course I knew so well. I ran with a guy who I had been back and forth with. Together we flew along the trail in and out of the cold river mist. In the last kilometer, I saw a pony tail in the head torch and I decided that there was one more chance. I ran up and we both pushed on the gas we had left. The last kilometer through town was left at 4:09/km. I finished just ahead to reach the 5th position and in 19:04 hr. Relief, disappointment, pride, happiness, gratefulness and respect swept over me as I layed at the Church square in Chamonix.

It wasn’t easy. I knew it would be, but I didn’t expect it to be that hard. I didn’t expect these challenges; but that’s the single best and worst thing about ultra running, you have a lot of time to go from feeling good to bad, good to bad and sometimes it’s possible to come back and fight.

I want people to read this and finish with belief in themselves, belief in their bodies and belief in others. I gained a lot of energy from volunteers, supporters, racers during the race and since the race you have filled my heart with kind messages and comments to aid the sore legs and recovery.

The body is an amazing machine and I respect that I totally destroyed it out there. So tomorrow I fly to Spain, to lie on a beach with my Dad (he finished too, in 26 hours I watched him cross the arch and was super proud of him to have conquered his journey and with all ankles and limbs still attached! 😉 ) and then back to Australia!

Thank you for being on this journey. It was not possible without you and it was far more fun to share it with you all. I look forward to taking on Chamonix on 2018!
Au Revoir!

TDS 8

TDS 8Lets be real. I am totally freaking out.

The truth is, there isn’t anything I can do now but prepare my pack, rest, eat and smile.

Yesterday I moved into the Salomon house to join the team and with this always comes inspiration and motivation. I have spent the last week still running most days but a lot of the trails just following the river and finishing before they really start. It has given me a lot of time to prepare but somehow as usual I have found other random things to do and am now feeling like I need to get organised the day before!

Tomorrow at 4:15 A.M. I take the bus through the Mont Blanc Tunnel to Italy to then run back to Chamonix via 119 km and 7,300 m of height change. It will be my longest event in time and in distance and with the extra challenge of my first real experience of night-time running. I have always been one to push http://premier-pharmacy.com/product-category/anti-inflammatories/ myself and take on challenges and this for me is the next step up in running.

I am so stoked to be a part of this weekend in trail running history. Chamonix is alive with all the latest Salomon (and other brands too) gear, fit looking people, English and international speaking and a lot of energy that has drawn me back from when I first saw this weekend take place 3 years ago.

I am grateful to have had so many people help me on my journey here, to have a body that has carried me here, to have the freedom to chase my dreams here and the opportunity to share my days with you on this blog. I will stand on the start line smiling for all these reasons.

Tomorrow I run for me, for you and for life. …then I get to kick back and watch everyone else get nervous and take on their dreams.

I can’t wait for that!

TDS 7

TDS course reccy with DadWeek by week and day by day I am watching Chamonix transform with some serious runners, in some serious kit, running some serious kms and hearing alot more English conversations! It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas… I mean Ultra Trail mont Blanc week.

This week I was super happy to welcome my Dad to Chamonix. Two years ago he popped his Chamonix virginity and took on the best of UTMB (go hard or go home) and now he returns to join me for the TDS race and the holiday after! It’s so nice to share these moments with him and he keeps me sane http://www.buyambienmed.com when I start to freak out about how long and brutal this race is.

TDS - learning to use the polesI moved “homes”, now living in Argentiere with my Dad in a tent “glamping”. It’s a lot of fun and even better to have some new trails around, different peaks to reach and places to explore.

Now into the single digits there are 9 days until race day and I remain both excited, nervous, grateful and proud of where I am and what I am doing.

Time to rest up, eat up, sleep up and smile along the way!

Merci! x

Hakuna Matata

Hakuna MatataMy tattoo, my training outlook and my life motto.

All these things link together and make me, me.

On my right wrist, I have a tattoo—the symbol for “Hakuna Matata”, maybe you know these words from The Lion King movie, translating to “No Worries” in Swahili. For me it’s a reminder, a permanent symbol in a location I see every day to enjoy life, to go with the flow, to not stress, to adjust, and to smile.

There has been many occasions in life, in racing and in training where I have seen this mark and been able to breathe through whatever is happening in these moments. It serves as a reminder that it’s okay for things to not go to plan; doesn’t matter, just enjoy it. No worries.

My training outlook is similar. I love to set a plan, I love to write lists but I am OK with not ticking all the boxes. If something feels wrong, it’s okay to stop. I have been in this sport since I was 15 years old and now I am 21 I finally feel the balance. The internal pressure to complete the training day after day is there but not strict, the external pressure is there but not a heavy weight that I hold; it’s a reminder of where I am and people helping me strive to be my best. In training, you have to be able to to enjoy life, to go with the flow, to not stress, to adjust, and to smile otherwise it’s not a sustainable routine and you’re doing yourself more harm than good for both your body and your mind. No worries.

Training and life for me are together as one. I am currently choosing to follow my passion and travel the world with my running; I am not professional—I am merely on my 4th year of my gap year, collecting memories not things. With this lifestyle, again you have to enjoy life, to go with the flow, to not stress, to adjust, and to smile through the good and the bad. The travelling is amazing but it comes with delays, the training is beautiful but it comes with hard sessions and the people you meet are amazing but it comes with haters. But that’s just it. I have learnt and inked by body with a timely reminder that that’s the life I have chosen and “you can’t have the rainbow without the rain”. We have choices, we can make the best of the bad and we can strive to be out best every day; weather that be in training, racing or life. No worries.

I hope this inspires you to take on challenges; life fuller, train stronger, be better but always remember that if today’s not the day, that’s OK.
There are plenty of days. Enjoy life, go with the flow, not stress, adjust, and smile

Hakuna Matata friends, for the rest of your days!

TDS 6

Training for TDSHello Everyone!

After such a big week last week, I felt my body was in need of all the small things I had become inconsistent… okay, not done at all! Again. This includes the core work, yoga, stretching, nourishing food, and rest.

With my own place in Chamonix I have a kitchen to store produce, cook, room to stretch and roll around on the floor and to rest when I needed to. It has been really pleasant and I feel great for listening to my body’s needs and accepting that I have time to listen to my body and that it is really important to respect what I have put it through… and what http://premier-pharmacy.com/product-category/anti-anxiety/ it’s going to go through (but it doesn’t know that yet shhh!)

TDS trainingThe running has been around the 1-hour mark for these past days with the weekend holding two longer runs but all easy efforts and all including my new best friend—the hiking pole.

There’s not much to say this week; it has been timed perfectly with some days of a lot of rain, very cold and even some snow which was pretty cool to go up high and enjoy this unusual scenery!

I am happy, healthy, smiling and excited for the final hurdles before departing Courmayeur in 17 days’ time!

Lots of love!

What is your diet?

What is your diet“What is your diet like?” is probably the most asked question I get. It doesn’t come as a surprise as my instagram story will show you pretty much every meal I consume, a little bit of running and whatever else I fill me day with. I love this topic.

My relationship with food has been as up and down as the mountains here in Chamonix and I thought to answer all the questions I would just write a piece on it especially with rain falling hard outside it’s nice to be inside with a goal.

I eat a plant based diet. Let me make this clear, I consciously choose to eat this way; sometimes, I slip up but I am not sad about that. I try my best and just like in life, that’s all you can do.

I think it’s really interesting hearing what other athletes eat in day to day life. Forget gels and energy bars in racing, mostly it’s all the same, it’s not a passion to consume sugar in these forms for many hours in a day but it is necessary to perform. I care about the other days—where you can create, discover, produce something that reflects you. What you enjoy and show yourself on a plate. I get that for some it’s about quick, cheap meals and creating a meal doesn’t set your heart on fire but either way I always ask this question as much as I get asked myself!

I choose this lifestyle with a few reasons in mind: my body, the environment, the animals and the future of all 3. I grew up eating meat, I went vegetarian 3 years ago and plant based this year. I think it’s an interesting journey. Running through all these choices and listening to my body to find the balance and for now, I am happy.

In preparing this year I have really focused on my diet. “Okay so if I choose to eliminate another food group, how can I fill this area with the nutrients I might need?” and “What does the body require and how do we get these nutrients?”. I researched a lot, I took the time to make http://premier-pharmacy.com/product-category/cholesterol-lowering/ sure that this wasn’t going to be a short-term adjustment and that I was actually helping my body not hindering it and its ability to perform—not just in running but in life. I want to glow with health on the trails and off and I want to be the best version of myself that I can be—on the inside and the outside.

I eat a lot. I am known to impress people with my ability to eat the foods I enjoy in mass quantity… I think I blew my Mum away this year with her constant need to take the compost out and restock the fridge! I also find a lot of joy and comfort from cooking and creating. For me, it is my ‘off’ time away from exercise. More than cooking for myself, I love to cook for others, to show what is possible. Nothing I make is super fancy and not with too crazy ingredients but it’s honest food that reflects who I am (People ask how many does the recipe serve, I say it’s just for me…)

For the daily messages on what my diet includes, you can find the answer on my website with recipes and my staples or you can follow the days live on instagram. It’s a joy to have this passion, it benefits me in every way and I encourage anyone to try to find some time to enjoy to process and the rewards (eating it!).

I don’t want to sound like a lot of articles you read of false claims but this year has been my best year of running, I am stronger and happier than any other times and I feel, for once, totally at peace with my mindset towards food and embrace any moment I can share this, and some trails with anyone.

I like to think I am going in the right direction, I am making changes and learning along the way… I believe that’s the best way to approach anything and the most important thing is listening to my body and adjusting along the way—just like in any ultra.

Bon appetite and enjoy your meal!

TDS 5 – diary of a TDS recce

TDS 5Hello Everyone!

After such a big week last week, I felt my body was in need of all the small things I had become inconsistent… okay, not done at all! Again. This includes the core work, yoga, stretching, nourishing food, and rest.

With my own place in Chamonix I have a kitchen to store produce, cook, room to stretch and roll around on the floor and to rest when I needed to. It has been really pleasant and I feel great for listening to my body’s needs and accepting that I have time to listen to my body and that it is really important to respect what I have put it through… and what http://premier-pharmacy.com/product-category/pain-relief/ it’s going to go through (but it doesn’t know that yet shhh!)

The running has been around the 1-hour mark for these past days with the weekend holding two longer runs but all easy efforts and all including my new best friend—the hiking pole.

TDS 5 with MajellThere’s not much to say this week; it has been timed perfectly with some days of a lot of rain, very cold and even some snow which was pretty cool to go up high and enjoy this unusual scenery!

I am happy, healthy, smiling and excited for the final hurdles before departing Courmayeur in 17 days’ time!

Lots of love!

TDS 4

TDS 4 - SantoriniAnother week down and now it all gets very real as tomorrow I make the journey to Chamonix!

If you follow me on any social media you would have seen that I have spent this week in the very hot and sunny Santorini, Greece. Here, I was with my Mum to celebrate our birthdays but I still managed to complete some good training days on a very exposed, dry and rocky mountain; I say mountain because there was only one that was tracked and I just made summits from different angles. It was hard work but I know a lot of strength has been gained.

I even began my experimenting with poles which was something new to me and a good focus. I felt very uncoordinated and a little silly to start with but towards the end I see that maybe they can be useful, I just need more practice and maybe a little friendlier terrain!!

TDS 4 - SantoriniI managed to train everyday rising with the sun, performing the session and then http://premier-pharmacy.com/product-category/asthma/ recovering by the sea. For me this is the ideal life… I very much enjoyed this time and as much as I was training, I feel refreshed and re-energised to get back to some more training and begin the final preparations for the big race.

Finding plant based food was probably the hardest challenge of the trip but this is not uncommon with traveling and I have learnt to enjoy the challenge, test the waiters and make it possible. I enjoyed a lot of fresh fruits (taking figs off every tree that I walked past), fava bean dip and a place that served salads that were up to my normal serving size (meant for 2 people).

It was a great week, I leave with a good tan line from the Suunto, a newfound appreciating for the Salomon Speed bob bucket hat, strong and scratched legs and many good memories.

On to Chamonix and the first thing… a TDS recce!

Until next week!

TDS 3

These weeks are going super quickly! I can’t say I have much to say about this week that’s just passed. After the race last weekend, I had one more day in Ambleside and I spent it hiking on the fells with the sheep and eating a lot of food. Then the next day was spent on a bus, train, train, plane, train; again, just eating a lot along the way to pass the time.

I returned back down South to my Mum’s home and have had a week of focusing on eating really well, using the gym membership that I got a month ago with the vision of visiting more regularly then I have and small runs just to move the body and to feel good. It’s been really nice and I think a good week to absorb the good training and small race of the week before and to refresh for the travel http://premier-pharmacy.com/product-category/allergy/ that starts tomorrow on to my final destination of Chamonix… but I will go the long way: via Santorini!

This was a holiday booked for my 21st birthday with my Mum but it is perfect with some mountains surrounding the coast so I will continue to train and enjoy the coast and sun (English summer are as temperamental as I remember!). It will be nice to explore a new training playground, create a good training week and routine before flying into Chamonix the week after—this is where the weeks can be a bit more interesting to read… for now, this week’s highlights include a 1 kg tub of peanut butter being on sale and some successful gym visits.

Enjoy your week everyone, thanks for following along!

More details of my days can be found on my Instagram story and Strava log. Check them out!