Nagoya Marathon

Now back on the Sunshine Coast, reflecting on my two weeks in Japan, I am swamped with feelings of accomplishment, amazement, motivation and anticipation…

The first four days in Nagoya were quite uneventful, going on short runs, resting and carbo-loading, while getting used to the freezing weather conditions! Site-seeing was restricted to what ground I could cover on my training runs, and being a coeliac, I had to be careful with my nutrition and save the trial of amazing Japanese cuisine for post-race.

Initially I found the cold really difficult to train in, which made me slightly worried about how I’d go come race day. The week was colder than predicted, reaching only about 2-6 degrees most of the time.

But, when race morning finally arrived, I felt fresh, was able to warm up in my track suit and strip down on the start line shortly before the gun. It was definitely gloves and arm-warmer weather, and the temperature only reached a maximum of 5 degrees during the race. The first 10km I felt like I was flying along, setting a great pace and then we were hit by a head wind at 12km that seemed to stay right until the finish.

I was able to take on a couple of Shotz gels and some Shotz electrolytes, but not before dropping my first two bottles and a gel! Luckily, I had prepared spares and given the warm climate I’m use to, I didn’t need to take on much fluid. There are always things to learn in racing, and being only my second marathon I definitely learned few things along the way. I’m already excited for my next one!

When speaking with other elite runners, I soon realized that everyone found the conditions tough, most athletes running a few minutes slower than they’d hoped, and a PB was very rare. I suddenly felt even more pleased with my effort.

My goal was to run under 2 hours 40 minutes, so I was really happy to run a 2:38 marathon. This was more than 3 minutes quicker than my Melbourne Marathon time that was only 5 months ago. I know I can run another big PB in my next race, and I am crossing my fingers that I’ll be given the opportunity to do so at the Commonwealth Games in Glasgow.

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On Track

The past couple of months have been train, work, train, sleep… repeat. That might sound tedious to some, but I’ve been loving it.

A muscular injury slowed my preparations and threatened my ability to compete at the upcoming Nagoya Marathon. Some intensive and knowledgeable treatment along with cycling sessions helped to aid my recovery and maintain my fitness as well as my sanity! Although, I hope I don’t have to trade my laces for wheels again until after my big race.

Back on track, I was able to successfully test myself at the 15K BRRC race in Brisbane yesterday. I was surprised running a PB winning time, which was a real confidence boost. The race was a great opportunity to trial my new racing shoes, the On CloudRacers. I enjoyed every moment at the BRRC event which was organised to perfection with such a friendly and encouraging atmosphere.

I’m now less than 3 weeks away from my second big target, the Women’s Nagoya Marathon in Japan, where I hope to run a PB and go sub 2 hours 40 min. The course at Nagoya is flat and fast, and attracts an elite field of female marathoners from all over the world.

Still a novice at the marathon, there’s a lot for me to learn, so I’m really excited to test out everything that I’ve worked at with my coach. I will be using Shotz electrolytes and gels to keep me going, and I’ll be wearing my On CloudRacers, which I have no doubt will “fly me to the finish”.Thankfully Tom’s cycling schedule has allowed him to join me in Japan, and he’ll be tweeting updates on the marathon so get on Twitter and follow me @MelPanayiotou.

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Running on Clouds

I’m excited to announce my new partnership with On Running, and I’d like to say a big thank you to the team at On.

When I first tried on my new Cloudracers, I was immediately impressed. They are comfortable, lightweight, and look great!

On’s CloudTec system claims to provide a “cushioned landing with a barefoot takeoff”. Well, before trying them out I didn’t really know what to expect, but during my first run in these shoes I understood exactly what they meant. The landing is soft but they feel responsive at the same time. I can see why more and more runners are swapping their old shoes for On’s. All I can say is give them a try and see for yourself what it’s like to run on clouds!

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Socks, Shotz and a Coach!

The past few weeks have been a mix of recovery and introducing new elements into my running.  I finally feel like my body has recovered after the Melbourne Marathon and I’m looking forward to stepping up my training quality and quantity.

I’m very happy to be working with Richard (Dick) Telford, who has had an extremely successful career as both a coach and sports scientist. Having a coach is completely novel for me and I’m already enjoying the change of pace that has been included in my schedule. With so many improvements to make in my training, I’m excited to see what lies ahead for me.

My focus is now on the Nagoya Women’s Marathon in Japan in March 2014, where I hope to run a PB, and I am confident I can do this under Dick’s guidance.

I’ve been overwhelmed with support from so many people and would like to thank both Steigen and Shotz Nutrition. Steigen was started by the Australian athletic representative, Louis Rowan and focuses on performance athletic running socks that I can definitely say are the best running socks I’ve ever worn. Darryl Griffiths is the mastermind behind Shotz Nutrition. His products are unique and perfect for me, being gluten and fructose free; not to mention they taste great!

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A Bit About Me

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You only get one chance at life and the most important thing is for me to know that I have given it everything, fulfilled my potential and been the best that I can be.

2013 has been a whirlwind of accomplishments in my run training and racing. And with this, I’ve had more than a few people ask the question: where have you come from?

I started running in 2005. It wasn’t long before I was hooked, and since then I have been a dedicated runner throughout my university degree, post-graduate training, and while working full time. I am currently the Head Veterinarian at Australia Zoo and reside on the beautiful Sunshine Coast in QLD, which has been a perfect training ground.

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I get up at 4:45am each morning to train before work, and then head out for a second session on some evenings. I feel lucky to be able to dedicate myself to both running and my zoo veterinary career, while still having time to spend with my partner (who is an elite cyclist).

My most recent result was at the Medibank Melbourne Marathon on 13 Oct 2013. I surprised myself (as well as a lot of other people) with a 2:41:47 marathon to come in 3rd place behind Lisa Weightman and Eunice Kales. To say I’m stoked with this performance is an understatement, and I’m excited for what lies ahead of me!