One of the newer runners to our team, Jo has developed her love of running thick and fast. With huge improvements in her fitness and the determination needed to hit self-imposed goals, she is well on her way to her first City2Surf! Meet Jo…
Tell us a bit about yourself.
An avid animal lover and mother of 3 fur kids (1 horse – Rambo, 2 Cats – Cosmo and Tiger), and also a lover of the great outdoors, you will normally find me at the horse paddock either riding or spending time with my big baby (Rambo) or out exploring somewhere. Over the years I’ve done the yo-yo weight loss/gain and a couple of years ago decided to go and join the local gym and boot camp to get back where I was previously. Whilst I lost a few kilos I soon came to realise that spending all of my spare time inside a gym was not what I wanted, especially when I spend my days working in an office and so I started looking for different things to do. I tried indoor rock climbing and grass hockey but circumstances meant neither were right for me.
Tell us a bit about you and running – how, when, why.
As a child and teenager I hated running and would do anything to avoid it (brings back memories of jumping fences and cutting through school grounds to avoid the PE long runs around the block). I liked the school cross country and athletics carnival days only because it meant I got a day off school (I’d always pull a sickie and it was the only days my parents would allow it). I was even kicked out of a school gym sports program due to not showing enthusiasm or effort (little did I care as I got to go home early from sport).
In 2015 I signed up for the Michelle Bridges 12WBT program and didn’t really follow it, but I joined the Facebook groups including the running one that popped up. On these pages I would see people talking about this parkrun thing and how fun it was, so curiosity got the better of me and I had to check it out. I started asking questions about when, where and how, etc and was trying to convince myself to go to my local parkrun at Menai and was asking about times, speed, etc . That is when I got a message from Rachel, telling me about her running group. So in January this year I turned up to the Rachel’s Runners Milperra group thinking “okay I’ll give this a go and I might just lose a few kilos and get a bit fitter”, but at the same time thinking “I’ll never do 5km non-stop”. Week by week I stuck to the plan and yes, after 12 weeks I managed to run 5km non-stop! That was in April and since then I have completed the 7km leg of the SMH Half Marathon Relay with new friends made from this group. As well as entering a few local fun runs in the near future, I am currently training towards both City 2 Surf and the Blackmores Sydney Bridge Run a bit later in the year .
What’s the best thing about running for you?
What I love about running is that I dont need a set plan. I can run anywhere, anytime and it fits in with my horse sports and work, plus it’s a good way to explore new places. Everyone I have met has been supportive and friendly; whether they be complete beginners or seasoned race runners, the support and encouragement is always there. In training or in a fun run event you will always hear someone saying “Don’t stop! Keep going!” and sometimes that makes the difference.
What’s your favourite running gear or equipment?
My favourite running gear would have to be my shoes. Having started out with old runners I’d been wearing for a few years I quickly wound up with sore ankles and calves, which was making me think maybe running wasn’t such a great idea. I took Rachel’s advice and headed down to Southside Runners to get properly fitted for shoes and as it turned out I was wearing completely wrong shoes for my feet. Since getting new shoes I’ve had no more issues with rolling my ankles (which was a common occurence for me), and my running improved instantly .
Secondly, I love my iPhone with the Runkeeper app and I never go for a run without it. I love keeping track of my runs and comparing them week by week over time to see the improvement.
What’s your biggest challenge with running?
My biggest challenge is speed. I’m a slow runner, gradually getting faster but I’m not a natural born speedster, thats for sure. I often get frustrated with myself and think that I’m not improving fast enough and I also give in to my mind saying “No”.
If you could invent a running or fitness tool or toy what would it be?
Something to switch off the part of my mind that says “No” and that says “Stop”.
Any tips for fellow runners?
Keep going! Don’t give up! When it seems hard just keep going because it does get easier. Celebrate the small achievements (e.g. getting up the hill, 1st km non-stop,etc), and stick to the plan because it works.