Liz is a marathon runner who has a goal of running 30 marathons before she turns 30. She talks to Sundried about interesting international marathons and her training mindset.
Have you always been into sport?
Being constantly active has always been my source of energy and drive. I grew up playing squash pretty competitively up until college, but experienced a bit of a burnout. I decided to sign up for my first marathon in 2013 and it only made me want to keep pushing my physical boundaries. From that point onward, I became completely addicted to running, mostly for the powerful meditative effect it had on me. My long early morning runs became such a sacred part of my day. And signing up to run marathons in different countries felt like such a natural marriage between this new passion for running and my insatiable curiosity to explore the world.
What made you decide to enter the world of marathon running?
For me, running marathons is synonymous with being alive. To run is to be part of a larger global, interconnected community. Training to run in marathons is not just any past time, it is something you eat, sleep, and live. It is also how I now experience other cultures, how I am able to constantly transform the lens through which I see the world.
What’s been your favourite race to date and why?
I think the Bagan, Myanmar marathon is still one of my favourites! It felt surreal running a route scattered with thousand-year-old pagodas. Although there weren't thousands of people cheering along the way like a big city marathon, it was most memorable coming into contact with the local villagers, who had the biggest smile on their faces when running past them.
And your proudest achievement?
Completing my 10th marathon in Qatar! It felt like such a milestone with my physical training and the impetus to allow me to keep come up with the crazy idea of running 30 marathons before I turn 30.
Have you ever had any racing disasters/your toughest race yet?
Big time yes! I got food poisoning two days before the Paris marathon, which was pretty brutal. I couldn't keep any food or liquid down for almost 24 hours. But I still couldn't let myself give up. On the morning of the marathon, I forced myself to get out of bed, eat a kilo of pasta, and walk over to the starting point. Seeing the thousands of runners getting lined up immediately gave me the boost of adrenaline and nerves I needed...and so I managed to push through and finish!
How do you overcome setbacks?
I always remind myself that any challenge faced will only make me stronger afterwards.
What advice do you wish you'd been given before you started competing?
To be more process-oriented during training. Don't just focus on the numbers - your pace, your goal time for the marathon, how many miles you clock in per week. But instead, zeroing in on the immeasurable components of how my body is responding to running, such as my daily energy levels and mood. During each of my training runs, instead of focusing on the distance ahead of me, I strive to achieve a certain level of meditative ‘flow’ - where I forget that I am even running at all. I think this new ‘mindful mindset’ towards running has allowed me to no longer fear the crazy big physical goals I have set for myself over the next year and a half.
What are your goals for 2019?
Completing the 15 marathons I have ahead of me this year without injury! But above all, I also hope to inspire and evoke change through running and to show other runners that, in their own capacity as one individual, they too have the ability to change the world through running.
Who do you take your inspiration from?
Hmm so many women! Currently, I'm going through a strong Michelle Obama phase. Her definition of strength involves an incredible amount of tenacity, compassion, conviction, security, self worth, empathy for others - all qualities I think every human/woman/athlete should aspire to have.
What do you like about Sundried and what’s your favourite bit of our kit?
I am hugely inspired by Sundried’s ability to use all recycled materials in their activewear, especially coffee grounds of all things! On top of this, I love how durable the clothing is - everything lasts for ages! I am a huge fan of Sundried leggings & sports bras.