I feel Pleasure when I run. I feel the warmth of the sun. I feel like refreshing of the rain. I feel the cool of the breeze. I love the feeling of my heart pumping and blood flowing. I have a love-hate relationship with the burning in the legs. I love getting to the top of a hill. I love to be victorious and accomplish that which I set out to do.
I was a happy little soul in my childhood – and as stuff happens, I found I lost some of my joy along the way. I was never seriously overweight, but was definitely ‘thicker set’ and gained the nickname ‘tank’ in primary school. When I got to high-school (an all-girls private school), I found people weren’t so friendly all the time, and girls could be quite nasty, and I lost more joy.
I had been squad swimming at this stage, but became an insecure teenager and didn’t want to wear a swimsuit anymore so I stopped. A shame really cause I was quite good at it. I began to dabble in running and netball, but would get a dreadful ‘stitch’ in my right shoulder whenever I ran. I gave in after a while.
At the age of 16, I went through a traumatic experience and developed anorexia nervosa. At this stage, I was running – but killing myself with it. I eventually had to give it up as I could barely make the stairs at school to get to my classes let alone run. I got to a BMI of 16 and nearly landed myself in hospital. I made a slow but steady recovery, and at the age of 20 was swimming daily and running more with my then fiance. I never felt like I was a good runner, I just managed to keep up with Dave.
We got married and I did a little more running and tae-bo, and then fell pregnant with our first child at the age of 22. After having J we travelled, and then I delved into working 3days a week in an office and 2 from home. I didn’t priorities running, but walked a fair amount. Children 2 & 3 were born in fairly timely succession (now they are 8,6 & 4) and I discovered that I had put on and wasn’t shifting 7-9kg extra than I would have liked. So I joined one of the very early rounds of Michelle Bridges’ 12WBT. I loved it, and became addicted to exercise, and running.
It was also at this point that Dave’s car died – like really died and went to car heaven (aka the wreckers!). We felt that we weren’t to purchase a new car at this point and so I ended up walking/running everywhere – like EVERYWHERE! School twice a day (8km round trip), kinder a couple of times a week, the shops, work, to visit friends…. I found myself walking/running upwards of 16-20km a day. And that was pushing a double pram and my eldest boy on a bike. It was one of those things that whilst dreadfully inconvenient in so many ways, I found ways to be thankful for. It slowed me down as I simply couldn’t fit as much into a day. It got me outdoors all the time, and I actually enjoyed the space it provided in my world.
A year to the day from leaving hospital after baby#3 (born via c-section) I ran my first half marathon. I was ecstatic to complete it in a time of 1:54:57 – my goal had been 2hours.
Fast forward 10months and I found myself pregnant with a surprise baby#4. I couldn’t walk for exercise let alone run – I was exhausted and surviving on maxalon (anti-nausea drug). I missed my running so much.
Baby#4 was born in April of 2013 (a 3rd c-section) and after lots of infections and a long recovery, I finally started really running again at the beginning of this year. I run with a double pram most of the time, with only one run a week child free.
I have been aiming at running a half-marathon in July, and thought I would set a goal of 1.45-1.40. I found a Melbourne based coach and began following his plans for me. I have been astounded at how I have managed to increase my pace and strength and am wondering if I shift my goal to 1.40-1.35…
With that being the ‘factual’ side of my story – what is it about running that I really love? What does it do for me and why do I do it… a question I get asked regularly as I’m sure you all would as well.
Relaxation – an odd thing to equate with running, but there is a certain meditative quality to simply ‘pounding the pavement’ and putting one foot in front of the other. It relaxes my brain and my heart can let go of anything it’s holding onto that it shouldn’t be!
Understanding – understanding and listening to my body, my mind and my spirit. There is something about making it up a horrendously tough hill that sheds light on so much more than what’s on the other side. It creates a clarity of thought and understanding of life circumstances.
Nature – There is something about nature that fills me with awe and wonder. As adults I think we lose the art of being in awe of what is around us. It becomes so normal. Getting out there reminds of just how amazing the world we live in is.
Nurture – We have been gifted with one body in life – I cannot swap it, so I need to nurture it.
Inspiration – I run to inspire my family and my friends to live their best life possible. If I can do you it, you can do it. I am not superwoman, I am simply a woman who has made a choice to do something and has committed to it. You can do that to.
Nutrition – Running helps me to feed my body well. It feeds my mind and my spirit. It spurs me on to research and explore good nutrition.
Good example – I have four beautiful children who I want to set an example for. Both of a healthy lifestyle and of pursuing dreams regardless of circumstances and what others might say.
My running story is one of a girl rediscovering and reclaiming the joy that she was born with. Joy gives me strength to push on. Joy gives me strength to be who I am called to be. Joy gives me strength to make tough decisions and go through tough situations. I feel joy when I run. Therefore I run.
If I can offer one encouragement to you – don’t let fear hold you back. Don’t be afraid of failing, neither be afraid of succeeding. Be all that you have been created to be because I need you to be. My world is a lesser place if you hold back. It is a better place when you come forward. You are awesome. You are amazing. You are an inspiration to those around you. Thank you.