Erika Geraerts, 25, is one smart cookie. A budding entrepreneur, she boasts a pretty impressive career juggling her wildly popular skin-scrub line Frank Body, acting as one third of Melbourne-based content agency Willow & Blake, and being co-owner of LBSS, her café in Abbotsford.
Self-dubbed “the most boring 25-year-old you’ll ever meet”, Erika balances out her hectic work life with weekly personal training sessions, and outdoor classes with her yoga-teacher sister. Unlike most of her peers who spend the weekend hitting the bars, Erika enjoys browsing furniture stores, reading, writing and spending time in her Collingwood loft with boyfriend, Charl.
Quiet but determined, Erika thinks the challenge will be a satisfying achievement – and another feather to add to her (already full) cap.
We know that you already dabble in a bit of sport here and there, but what motivated you to take on a huge challenge like a half marathon?
I’ve always enjoyed running and find it comes pretty naturally to me. Excuses, however, also come quite naturally to me when it comes to exercise – and I’ve found myself making lots of them in an attempt to avoid running. But I’m also one to stick to my word, and when I agreed to do the half marathon, there was no turning back.
What music will you be listening to on race day?
So far I’ve been training sans music, giving me plenty of time to think about other things, like all the songs I should have on my iPhone.
Talk us through some of the changes you will be making for the month leading into the race.
I lead a pretty healthy life as is, but will try to decrease my consumption of grapes (read: wine) in the week or two prior to the race. I’ve upped my cardio training a lot, from once a week to at least five times a week, which means earlier mornings, lots of foam rolling and cool band aids designed for blisters, and my co-workers putting up with me squealing/moaning as I try and walk up our office stairs.
What’s the first thing you’re going to do once the race is over?
I was going to get on a plane and go to Japan for 9 days. That plan fell through, so I think the next best bet is breakfast. And bed.
CHECK IN: WEEK 2
It takes a fair bit to ruffle the feathers of mini-mogul Erika. But it seems juggling three busy businesses and marathon training is starting to exhaust our youngest runner. Will she be able to keep up the pace?
Erika’s week saw her step up the training with some outside PT sessions on Tuesday (who knew children’s playground equipment could double as a gym?) paired with a couple of long runs. Determined not to let training turn into a chore, however, Erika joined her pals for a weekend on the slopes at Mt Buller. And trust us when we say – skiing is some pretty intense leg training.
Um, did someone say biceps?
Training hard or hardly training? Erika at Mt Buller over the weekend.
The true sign of hard work: band aid wrappers everywhere.
So, with a big week of work, training and travel, it’s little wonder that Erika has begun to feel the strain. Proving to us all that even the most proficient multi-taskers can’t take on too much, she tweeted a few times this week about how tired she was.
She needed some rest. A day working from her home office (ahem, bed), a home-cooked pizza, loads of veggies and some healthy meals at her café, LBSS was just what the doctor ordered.
The perks of being your own boss: sending yourself to bed for the day.
Can’t hold her down: Erika and her workmates training in their office.
Time to refuel with a hit of veggies.
Because, as week two ends, Erika and her all-woman power team at Willow + Blake have transformed their office into a gym. Taking the old ‘Got a door? Got a gym’ mentality to the next level, Erika and the girls lifted, lunged and pushed their way to some hard-core training.
Our prediction? It’s going to take more than a few sleepy mornings and yawning nights to keep this girl down.
CHECK IN: WEEK 3
It’s amazing what the human body can achieve: just three short weeks into her training, Erika has hit the goal she has been working so hard towards, the 22km mark. Almost scraping through with a very close 21.04km last week, hard work and her long hours of training have shown to pay off.
Erika reaches her goal of 22km.
Erika’s dramatically increased exercise routine saw a rapid spike in her appetite. Showing off her newly-taught diet skills from trainer Jeremy, the foodie and café-owner has been starting her day the right way with meals like potassium-rich avocado on toast. And with all those veggies been chopped, we can understand the temptation of her second dinner earlier in the week…
You can get away with feta when this comes after a two hour run.
Second dinner is fine when it involves your boyfriend as the chef, right?
The temptation of an extravagant dinner party last weekend was no match for super focused Erika, who was back on track the very next day smashing her personal best records and reaping the rewards. With just a week to go Erika, has realised just how different her life has become.
Dinner parties – home to good wine, good food, good company: aka. kryptonite to marathon training.
“Ask me a month ago if my Friday night would start with a 15km run, and I would have laughed. Thanks, #genbetter #thefirsttime”
The big question remains: can she keep pushing forward with her great results in order to achieve her time goal this Sunday?
CHECK IN: WEEK 4
Week four was all about rest and rejuvenation for busy businesswoman Erika. After struggling with a frantic schedule over the recent weeks, week four was about slowing down and giving her body a break before Sunday’s race and that killer time goal she has given herself!
Last week’s enormous 22km training runs were replaced with some peaceful yoga classes (taught by her sister, no less!), some time out in her café, and pottering around her house…literally, with a spot of home gardening.
Not many people can boast a yoga class in their office, with their sister as the teacher!
Some zen gardening time for Erika to look after her busy mind as well as her body before Sunday’s race.
The days before a marathon are crucial in regards to diet, and Erika kept to her trainer Jeremy’s instructions with big healthy meals, full of fresh fish, veggies and other protein. Keeping it low-fuss, Erika whipped up a salmon, asparagus and hommus salad mid week that looked delicious! Training was decidedly more relaxed, too, with a quirky office-turned-gym session to keep Erika building her muscles.
Super food salad giving Erika the nutritious prep she needs.
How to fit in a workout with work? Bring the gym to you!
So, after a week of rest and restoring some energy, concerns of exhaustion seem to have been abated for stressed out Erika. But even at the top of her game, will she be able to achieve the 2hr 15min time goal for the 21km race or Sunday – or is competitive Erika in for more than she’s expected?
Erika Geraerts finished the race in 2 hours, 12 minutes. She placed at #6027, beating her time goal (but will not quite forgive being bested by her boyfriend.)