PBs and Safety Pins: The SMH Half Marathon

Getting the raceday outfit sorted the night before the race was more challenging than anticipated.


I charged manically around the apartment pulling boxes from shelves, routing through drawers and emptying out handbags and backpacks. “WHO DOESN’T PROVIDE SAFETY PINS?!” I yelled in Dan’s general direction, not expecting an answer.

Safety pin number 1 located in my makeup drawer. Probably shoved in there having removed it from a Reiss or Whistles purchase, or another shop thoughtful enough to use safety pins instead of those horrible plastic things I always worry about breaking my teeth on.

Safety pin 2 located in the top drawer of my bedside table, hiding under a receipt-mountain and a collection of completely useless loyalty cards for shops on the other side of the planet.

Dan gets all the credit for locating safety pin 3. It had been hiding in the bottom of his man-drawer.

Three safety pins for two race bibs, at 9PM on a Saturday night. I was freaking out.

I did what every good runner does and took to social media to find out whether the Sydney Morning Herald had screwed over anyone else with a safety-pin-less-race-pack. Yes, it seems they had; apparently there was some kind of safety pin drought.

I donned my nike frees and legged it down to Woolies to continue the safety pin search. Ten dollars and ten minutes later, I was the relieved owner of a mini-sewing kit containing an extra two pins. I could make this work.

IMG_1912 IMG_1911

Raceday morning. Dan, five safety pins and I, jogged the five minutes from our home in Woolloomooloo up to the SMH Half Marathon start line. It was a beautiful autumn morning; the air was cool and the sun was coming up but it was overcast. Perfect half marathon conditions. We warmed up in our starting pen with a friendly Scot who kindly donated an extra safety pin to me, having heard my tale of haberdashery-woe.

At the start line I knew the spin and body pump classes had been working; I felt stronger than ever and so ready to race. I was going to stick to my plan of running around a 5:30 pace, which would result in a new PB of sub 1:58.

I crossed the start with first-time-half-marathoner and first-time-pacer Dan. 4:42 flashed up on my Garmin after the first KM. Bugger. My Garmin was clearly broken or had failed to pick up the satellite properly. Dan confirmed that his Garmin was showing a crazy-fast time; we must have dropped GPS and would be forced to recalculate our splits for the rest of the race. Not ideal.

2KM: 4:30

3KM: 5:02

4KM: 5:21

5KM: 5:13

“Slow down”. This was Dan’s mantra from 5K to 15KM. It turns out the Garmin was right and we were stupid so full of adrenaline that we flew through the first 5KM. I had broken the golden rule of racing by going out way too fast. Dan pulled back and ran behind me, trying to slow me down.

6KM: 5:22

7KM: 5:09

8KM: 5:16

9KM: 5:27

10KM: 5:10

11KM 5:32

12KM: 5:17

13KM: 5:13

14KM: 5:15

Whoever said the course was flat or undulating lied. The middle section of the course left Darling Harbour and headed up into Pyrmont where I tackled hill after hill before turning back towards the city and up towards the Harbour Bridge, ready for another climb up the Cahill Expressway.

This is where the work starts.

15KM: 5:24

16KM: 5:30

17KM: 4:59

18KM: 5:11

3KM to go. The Garmin gods confirmed what I woke up knowing – it was a PB-setting day. The big question was how much I could smash it by. Somewhere around here, Dan asked what I had left in the tank. 1:50, it seemed, was not beyond the realms of possibility.

We approached Hyde Park and turned onto the Domain, overtaking runner after runner as we reach Mrs Macquarie’s Point. Our apartment was on one side, the botanic gardens on the other. This was my daily route; the section I returned to day after day; the final hill that I dreaded but knew well. Dan was ahead of me now, pulling me forward and urging me to give everything I had.

19KM: 4:49

20KM: 5:05

21KM: 5:17

I kept picking runners to overtake; willing myself on towards the finish. I thought I had nothing left in the tank, but as I turned back towards Hyde Park, I found another gear; sprinting with Dan to the finish.



There was only one refuelling option.


As I sunk into the sofa in a state of post-run-champagne-drinking-bliss, I started dreaming of a 1:45



Time To Pick Up The (Figurative) Pen…

I started this as a running blog several years ago, but like many blogs, it died a sudden death in 2013.

Two years later, I have the urge to write again. This time, I’m typing from sunny Sydney with my beautiful puppy Lucy for company.


I don’t think this will be much of a running blog due to ongoing ITB issues / knee pain, but it seems like a good place to record my other fitness ventures and to upload an inappropriate number of cute puppy pictures and poor quality phone snaps taken during puppy walks. Since leaving my (incredible) job in August 2015, my friends keep asking WHY?! They knew I loved my job and the fantastic company I worked for. They also wanted to know HOW a former workaholic would survive as a full-time puppy-mum on Sydney’s lower north shore. The ‘why’ is complicated and best explained over a bottle of wine, but I hope the ‘how’ will be demonstrated here. I assure you, it’s surprisingly easy to fill your days in Sydney!


Here We Go

Hey hey!!

Very quick phone update from me. I need to finalise my bits for tomorrow, relax in the tub and then do my best to sleep. I’ve been a terrible blogger recently but I promise you all a full race recap in the very near future!

Today involved shoe shopping (yaaaaay!), resting and preparing for tomorrow. I have an amazing GBK naked avocado chicken burger for lunch and a big pasta dinner. Love GBK as it stocks authentic NZ stuff like L&P, I haven’t had this in years!



I’ve set out my kit and everything is ready for the morning:



The weather is looking perfect for running, and not too bad for spectators either:


I hope everyone racing tomorrow has a fantastic time. I can’t wait to report back!


Running For Breast Cancer Care

Hey everyone!

I cannot tell you how excited I’ve been today. I was bouncing off the walls this afternoon at work….I cannot believe the race is just a few days away!

Training/tapering this week has looked like this:

Monday: 2 miles easy on the tread

Tuesday: 2.2 miles race pace outside
It was a glorious sunny evening. Spent some time thinking and praying about events from the past week whilst running through the park. Pleased to hear that there will be a period of silence before the race and we will all wear black ribbons to show our respect/support.

Wednesday: Pilates and stretching

Tomorrow: EXPO!!!
I’ll update you on the expo…really looking forward to it!

The events earlier in the week have left me thinking a lot about what I can do to help. I appreciate that there is not much I can do to help Boston from here in London, but I can definitely use the race to do something positive for others. SO… I’ve decided to use the last few days of taper to raise money for Breast Cancer Care. If you want more info or you would like to make a donation to this great cause, just go to: www.virginmoneygiving.com/jodielondonmarathon


Enjoy the rest of your week! I’ll be back before the race….


Thinking of Boston

Runners are independent but inclusive. It’s a solo sport, but the running community is so close-knit and supportive, or at least that’s how it feels here in the blogosphere. It feels like we are a team.

Runners are motivated and hard-working. They set themselves goals and work hard to achieve them.

Runners are inspiring. I love reading about the extraordinary accomplishments of otherwise ‘ordinary’ people.

Runners think about the bigger picture; often combining months of training with months of fundraising. They think about others and will not be beaten by violence and tragedy. I’ve just seen this Tweet. It’s stories like this that make me love the running community:


I cannot get my head around what is unfolding in Boston this evening, but my thoughts and prayers are with all of those impacted by the tragic event. Why anyone would target an event which to me symbolises so many positive attributes, I will never know. To me, the marathon is about dedication, commitment, growth, discipline, learning, passion and strength. For many people, it’s also about charity and doing something outside yourself. It can be a symbol of hope and healing. Why would anyone want to make a stand against it?


Marathon Week

Marathon week is here!!

I can’t believe that it’s here. Marathon week. I’m blogging on my phone so won’t keep you all long, but I wanted to check in and let you know that I’m still here and running. Just.

I couldn’t bring myself to post recently because I thought it was game-over for my marathon. The bronchitis was not shifting and whilst I felt ok in myself, my chest wasn’t clear. The rule for running is that if it’s in your chest, REST.

I decided that Saturday was the final chance for me to make up my mind about the race. I had two zero mile weeks due to my chest but I was feeling much better. I figured that if I could run around 8/10 miles easily, I would not withdraw from the marathon. SO I headed out yesterday morning and managed a very comfortable 9 miles. I felt fine, hooray!! So it’s ON!

I’ve spent this evening reading all my pre-race paperwork, checking transport (my tube line is closed on race day. Whaaaaat?!?) and planning for the week ahead.



And…showing off my new nail varnish…icy!

Must go do some stretching and rolling now. I know there have been some HUGE races this weekend; I can’t wait to read the recaps!! Hope everyone had a great weekend.