Run convert Luisa tackles marathon
Flat Coke, jet planes and sheer pig-headed self-belief are probably the three things that got Kaikoura mother Luisa Coyle over the finish line in her first marathon earlier this month.
And although she got cramp which she had to suffer through, Luisa never once thought she wouldn't make it to the end.
It was December 1, the first day of summer, and a blistering 29 degrees Celsius before the runners set off for this year's New World Marlborough Marathon.
But Luisa says she felt surprisingly good around the 42km course.
She said she did run the first half too quickly as she had only run half-marathons previously.
From the 21km point she could have a rider with her, so her friend's former personal trainer boyfriend acted as support crew for the second half, which was brilliant for her motivation.
But when she got cramp at around the 32km mark, things were looking a little shaky.
"First my knee muscle popped out, then my calf muscle went . . . I ran to the point where it was unbearable and I had to walk it out. That was really hard, really frustrating because I felt fine and my breathing was good, my head was clear."
But she soon got herself back on track, and ran the rest of the course, completing her first marathon in a very respectable 4:40.40. Strangely Luisa doesn't feel as excited as she thought she would, perhaps because she knew that even if she had had to crawl, she would have finished the race.
Partly it is also because she sees this as the first in a series of hurdles, a time to beat next time.
"I will definitely do it again because I know how far it is now. It was the same when I did my first half - I had a wee tantrum at 10km and didn't want to go on, because that's all you know. Now I know I can do it."
Despite her passion for running now, Luisa has not always been a fan. She took up running in 2010 and ran her first 10km that December.
At the time she promised she would go on to run the half-marathon at the same event the following year.
"Then the email came round to remind me and I hadn't run for ages . . . it was absolutely gruelling!"
So in January this year Luisa decided to get serious. She found an online nutritionist and set out on a 24-week plan. In that time she ran two half marathons and lost 25 kilograms.
She went on to run the half-marathon at Suburban School in Kaikoura later in the year, culminating in the full marathon two weeks ago.
Now she is organising her plan for next year, setting more goals and keeping on running.
Luisa's marathon efforts were not only for herself, but also for a charity with which she has a personal connection.
Her father was diagnosed with stomach cancer in July. She does not know how much time he has left and she wanted to do something to help the wider cause. So far she has raised $4500 for the New Zealand Cancer Society.
To support Luisa in her fundraising efforts, visit fundraiseonline. co.nz/luisacoyle.