RUNNING MUMS GO INTERNATIONAL – RACHEL’S RUNNING THE PRAGUE HALF MARATHON…..

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Here at Running Mums Australia we have many members who are going all out and running international events. Today we meet one of them, Rachel who lives in Central Australia. She is going far far away to run her second half marathon in the lovely old city of Prague. In this interview you will hear about what inspires her and how she started out on her running journey. Prague in April, I wonder where to next!?!…….enjoy……

Who are you and when did you start running?

Hi I’m Rachel, a 37year old mum of three precious crazies and a wife to an equally crazy guy living in Alice Springs in central Australia 🙂  I have a 6year old daughter (going on 16), and 3 year old boy/girl twins.  I am currently a stay at home mum volunteering at school and now pre-school but in a previous life I was an Environmental/Public Health Officer and worked out and about in the remote indigenous communities of Central Australia.  Life was pretty insane when the twins came along, well actually ever since I found out I was having them at 20weeks pregnant!  But 2012, when twins turned 2 I decided things needed to change.  I had just finished breastfeeding them and decided I needed to start losing the baby weight and claim back some “me-time”.  I started Michelle Bridges 12wbt and over that year lost around 20kg and was jogging a couple of km.  so then started one of her running programs to learn to run 10k thinking that even if I got to 5k that would be awesome.  I have never been a runner.  I was always active loved camping, hiking, played various social team sports over the years but was terrible at running and hated it.  I have tried couch to 5k programs a couple of times but always got stuck about week4 and thought running mustn’t be for me.  But last year I did my first fun run…and now look where I am :

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What or who inspires you the most in your running?

Such a big question…my family inspire me everyday to get out there and be a better and happier person, my fellow running mums/running buddy who we push and encourage each other and achieve so much despite sleep deprivation, heat, bad days and being new runners…

And the amazing stories of people who despite terrible disability or old age have started and just got out there and done amazing things.

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 What do you think is the most important thing to remember when training for a half marathon?

I’m training for my second official half and the most important thing for me especially when I have to get up early to beat the heat and the start of the days craziness is to make sure I am still having fun. Whenever I return my kids ask me how far I went or how long I went and I don’t want them to think this is a chore for me but a chance to “breathe”, to refresh, to push boundaries, challenge myself but still enjoy myself.

What has been your biggest running goal to date?

My biggest running goal was my first half last year.  I got to 10k at the Mothers Day run which was a huge achievement for me and a lifelong distant dream. I thought wow…I did it and it seems such a waste to let it go so what next.  Here in Alice Springs they were doing the first ever Running Festival in August 2013 with Steve Monegetti as the Ambassador and so with a couple of friends thought…well let’s do it or at least try.  And now my biggest goal is Prague 🙂

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What was your most memorable run?

There is probably two (if I can 🙂 )…

1st was my first ever fun run in January last year.  It was the Bells Beach Cliff Run with the Jan Juc Surf Club in Victoria and was only 4k.  We were down visiting family and I saw it in my father-in-laws runners world mag and thought maybe I could do it.  I made my hubby take me to the surf club a couple of days before so I could try the course and see if I could actually run 4k 🙂  the event is in the evening along the cliffs an d very windy but such a beautiful spot for my first run.

The second would be my first half marathon just cause what the hell…I just ran a half marathon!!  I was quite sick in the two weeks leading up the event with sinus issues but so didn’t want to throw all that training out the window.  Although I didn’t do it in the time I knew I could, with my running buddy by my side most of the way and my hubby and kids pulling up along the way to help me along I ran the whole way in around 2:12.  For someone who was never a runner, I did it…now my hubby won’t believe me if I ever say I’m not going to run a marathon 🙂

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Why get up and run? what motivates you? especially as a running mum?

It’s my time out, my refresh/reboot time, catchup and chat with my running buddy time, time for pushing and challenging myself…though to be honest there’s plenty of mornings hubby has to push me to get me out of bed and out the door as I could so easily talk myself out of it…but always glad I went.

What is your favourite distance? 

Hmmm hard to say… I don’t honestly like really long runs but I like the feeling of accomplishment afterwards so in that regard the half marathon wins.  However a comfortable distance to push myself at and also fit in around being a mum would be 10/12k events.

 Why are you running Prague?

My hubby surprised me at Christmas with a trip to Europe without kids.  He travels a lot for work and has to go to some meetings in Germany.  So he presented me with a lonely planet guide to Europe, his phone with my plane ticket on it and my phone with a list of running events in Europe at that time.  Prague half marathon was on the list but when I looked it up it had reached maximum capacity 4months in advance even though it had been increased on previous year.  Oh well it wasn’t to be.  I had also wondered whether a half marathon was such a good idea yet as I hadn’t really got into training properly and summer here is ridiculously hot and did I really want to be worrying about that distance while enjoying an amazing holiday. So while planning the rest of our itinerary I looked into some other events namely 10k and had almost settled on cityrun in Zurich but for all sorts of reasons none of them were really locked in.  Lucky cause about a month ago at a preschool parent meeting I received a message from RunCzech stating they were opening up 100 more spots worldwide in 2hours.  Agh!  When the meeting finished I rushed home and contacted my running buddy and another good friend and asked them what they thought…of course they said hell yes!  But it was only about 6 weeks till the event… Anyhow as the time drew closer i was constantly checking online and refreshing the website waiting for it to open, shaking the whole time…of course when I went through the process the computer crashed when doing the payment… Finally I received the confirmation email…I was in!!  I have never been to Prague, or Europe, but Prague was always one of those cities I wanted to see and what a way to see it.  Was freaking outa little about how I would get the training in, but my awesome running buddy said “don’t worry we will get you there!  Just bring me back t-shirt so i can say I did it to :)” 

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What are you looking forward to most about Prague?

Just being in Prague is enough but my last half was here in Alice with a goal of about 150 people in the whole half-ultra event.  So just the size of the event…the biggest and fastest in Europe is going to blow me away.  I get to go to my first pasta party 😉  I think my hubbyi so looking forward to a couple of hours to himself drinking coffee and reading/taking in all the history as much as he likes.

But I am looking forward to “soaking” it all up… The sights, sounds, tastes and I guess the history too;)

What have been the highlights in your training?

The training has been a little sped up due to the closeness of the event.  It has also been very different to last time as last year most of the training was through winter whereas this time it has been through our crazy hot summer.  I wasn’t expecting to run a half until June/July and here over summer there are very few running events to help with training.  But there have been a few 4k events and triathlons where my kids could be involved.  Cross training days have often involved exercise DVDs with the kids with my 3 year old daughter pushing me to go harder and faster and my son sitting on the couch telling us what we are doing wrong :). I love that my kids want to be involved and only a few weeks ago got to take my daughter to one of the 4k events where she ran her first 1k straight…such a proud mummy moment.

But every kilometre never reached before is a highlight for me it was always such an amazing achievement

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 What have been the struggles?

The heat!  This  is not the time of year to be doing long runs.  Desert in summer = hot at night, hot in the day and lots of flies.  As an added bonus we have had extra humidity too.

I also got a compound dislocation and fracture in my middle finger on my lefthand in November last year with severe soft tissue damaged my ring finger and am currently still wearing casts on my fingers.  This has meant all sort of messing around with what I can and can’t do with training and non-run days.  It has also meant trying to control swollen fingers that are always a by-product of running and heat anyway.  On the upside I do get amazed looks as I run past people with two blue casts 🙂

Also trying to workout training around all my hubby’s work trips. 

As a mum how do you find time to run?

I have no Idea :). My husband travels a lot so I have to be pretty organised the weeks he isn’t around whether it is running on treadmills at the gym, getting babysitters or calling in favors from friends.  Otherwise it is early morning runs and doing exercise DVDs at home with the kids.

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 What is the best advice you have had from anyone to do with running?

“You don’t have to be better than anyone else, just get out there and have fun!

“No matter how slow you go, you ares till lapping everyone on the couch”

If you could sum up running in one word what would it be?

How do you describe a love/hate relationship in one word?! Ummm…

“Challenging” in a good and bad way.  Good = it pushes me to try new things and better myself

Bad = some days I just don’t want to get out of bed but I know I will be thankful after

What do you love about Running Mums Australia?

I love that there is a whole community of mums out there of all backgrounds, ages and abilities encouraging and supporting one another and sharing tips and ideas.

What are your goals for the future with running?

To keep enjoying it, run a whole 4k event with my eldest as she is always asking to go for a run.  Break 2hours in the half marathon…whether that is in Prague or here at home…this year!

Thanks for your awesome interview Rachel. We wish you a wonderful experience in Prague! We can’t wait to hear all about it!!

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