After taking out first female in just over 73mins at the Sydney Morning Half Marathon, I chat to 32yo Eloise ‘Elzy’ Wellings on how she manages training for the upcoming World Champs in Beijing (5000m track) supporting the Love Mercy Foundation of which she is a founding Director, Ambassador for Run Lab and above all, being a mum to two year old India!
Were you born to run….fast? Or was it something you had to work at?
“I started running when I was 5 years old and use to love running with my mum on the trails in the national park, she was a good distance runner and so was my uncle Harry. I always ran with other kids and played other sports like soccer and dancing, I think it’s important for kids to play a wide range of sport whilst they’re growing up.
I didn’t show potential until I was around 12 when I started with a run coach and my training became more formal”.
What is your greatest career highlight?
“Running at the London Olympics. It’s funny, because I didn’t actually have a great race there, I actually underperformed but because it had been a dream since I was ten years old, having missed out on three previous Olympics after coming so close! With the the heart ache and struggle through injury I felt like I had already won just by standing on the starting line.
It was a very emotional moment for me, my family and the people who had supported me through what I call the wilderness years”
How do you fit it all in – what does your day look like?
“It’s a juggling act but I have a lot of support. I have the most supportive husband in the world ‘Jony’, who owns Bird and Bee Studio– a wedding photography and portrait business, which means he can be flexible with his hours.
My alarm goes off at about 5:30am and I train for 2-3 hours. I then make it home for breakfast with Indi and Jony before he goes to work. I do a gym/core session in my home gym when Indi is asleep during the day and I usually meet with Caitlin (CEO) to work on Love Mercy Foundation matters.
Indi wakes up and we’ll go do something fun for the afternoon (or do some boring housework) and then I’ll be back out training again for an hour or so when Jony arrives home”.
What takes the biggest toll or backseat in your life? Do you ever feel guilty?
“Lack of sleep, but it’s a sacrifice I have to make to get everything done as an athlete and as a wife/mother. I do sometimes dream of ‘running retirement’ though – lazy sleep ins, a cup of tea in bed…
I feel guilty ALL THE TIME! Especially since becoming a mum, my girlfriends and I have coined it the “mum guilt’s”. I don’t think it matters if you’re with your baby 7 days a week, 24 hours a day or if you’re back at work full time and your baby is in day care, most mums go through that vulnerable feeling of “am I doing the right things by my child?”, “am I being a good enough mum?”. I think it’s so important for any mums- working or not, to have a good support network around them, even just reassurance that you’re doing the right thing when you do get the “mum guilt’s!”.
I love the idea of community, which is why I’m so passionate about one of our projects in Uganda called Cents for Seeds
“I started the Love Mercy Foundation with Ugandan Olympic runner Julius Achon. We met on a training camp in the US in 2008 and immediately became great friends; he is like a brother to me now.
He told me his harrowing story about is upbringing through the civil war in Uganda, he was forced to be a child soldier, he escaped from the rebel camp, he ran 300km home to his family and he went back to school and started running at school carnivals. …. He went onto run in two Olympic Games and when I met Julius he was sending his entire wage home to care for 11 orphans he found living underneath a bus whilst he on a visit back in Uganda.
Julius invited my husband and I to Uganda and we flew there a few months after meeting him and his now wife Grace. We met his family and the orphans and saw the poverty and the destruction that had remained after the war. Flying home, we talked about starting some community development projects in Uganda to help the people back their feet after the war. We thought we could start something in Australia to raise the funds and it would make a huge difference to this area of Uganda. I met Caitlin shortly after arriving home from Uganda and she was studying development at university (which is basically a bachelor in poverty relief for underdeveloped countries). She was on board straight away and we have been working at it ever since”
What’s your long-term goal and next in your career?
“My long-term goal for running is to move up to the marathon distance. But for now, I want to stick to track racing. I’ve been selected for the world championships in Beijing in August this year and then the ultimate goal is to qualify for the Olympics in Rio next year for the 5,000m and 10,000m events”
What does your training regime look like and do you have a strict diet?
“I train 6 days a week with 1 day of rest. I’ll train up to three times most of those 6 days with two running sessions and a gym/core session.
I don’t have a strict diet as such but I eat for training, I eat foods that are going to give me the most energy and recovery post training. I eat a lot of a product called ‘the muesli’ which is my go to food everyday for breakfast and for snacks. It’s sugar free and loaded with nuts and seeds for all the energy I need to get me through training”.
What is your yummy ‘sometimes’ food?
“Usually pizza. I do allow myself 24 hours after every race to eat whatever I want. That usually includes any or all of the following: pizza, messina ice-cream, Lindt chocolate and Nutella crepes. I have a massive sweet tooth”
How do you relax?
“Usually a massage but every now and then I’ll crank up a few classic songs and have a sing off/dance off whilst doing the housework when Indi is asleep… Not exactly zenning out but it keeps things light if I’ve been stressed.
My husband and I also play Take Two after dinner some nights that’s pretty relaxing, especially if I’m winning”
Connect with El at www.eloisewellings.com.au