I was never one of those people who took a liking to fitness at school. As a matter of fact I abhorred anything sporty. Even after finishing school and starting my own family, I still refused to do anything physical. As time went by, my lifestyle became more sedentary and coupled with bad eating habits, drinking and smoking, my weight fluctuated. I was terribly unhappy with my appearance, my lifestyle and the example I was setting for my children.
About four years ago, I decided to turn my life around, heading on the path of changing my eating habits, quitting drinking and smoking simultaneously. This complete overhaul was incredibly hard to incorporate all at once, but it was now or never and I took it ONE day at a time.
With all the newfound energy I felt, I resolved to start exercising. I joined the gym and started walking on the treadmill. I was fascinated by all those FIT people running effortlessly on a treadmill for minutes on end. I wanted to be exactly like them and set a goal to follow a 5km training plan. I started slowly, with just one minute of running followed by 3 minutes of walking. I struggled to even run for a minute – I was sooo unfit, my chest burnt, my legs felt like lead poles and thoughts clogged my mind I was wasting my time.
But I refused to give up! I went to gym three times a week and persevered until I was able to run 20 minutes non-stop! That’s when I when I fell in LOVE with running. I found I was looking forward to training more, pushing my body to limits it couldn’t conceive. An incentive was that I was losing weight and getting fitter and stronger.
I joined Run Walk for Life Milnerton in February 2011 and it was where my running took off. I learnt how to breathe properly, how to pace myself to run longer and not feel intimidated by the faster runners. Being part of a club instils comradery and affords one the motivation to train and compete in races.
My first race was the 10 km Gun Run in 2011. It was FANTASTIC!!! Although I didn’t run the entire distance, took plenty of walk breaks, I still managed to finish in a good time. Receiving my first medal is a moment I’ll never forget. That’s when the RUNNING BUG bit! Finally I’d found a hobby I was proud of. I continued to set goals, was disciplined in training, followed a balanced diet and didn’t allow fear to control my destination.
Running outdoors is a delight! Yes one has to deal with inclement weather at times, but the mere fact you’re in nature soothes the soul. I get to witness the most breath-taking sunrises and sunsets, run along the shore as the waves lick the sand. I’m blessed with the company of singing birds when I don’t feel like talking and want to zone out. Running is my solace, my escape from reality, my ME time to find peace in a stressful world. The endorphins released is an amazing feeling and a runners high at the end of a run is always GUARANTEED 🙂
Races get me EXCITED. Those pre-race jitters of getting up at the crack of dawn, donning your gear, butterflies floating inside, praying you’ll do well. Huddled together with other runners at the start, the shot goes off, the frenzy to break free from the herd. Then adrenalin sets in and steely determination takes over and you know you’re going to finish because you trained for it and you want it badly. As you approach the finish, you find a fresh wind, power in your legs and you run like your life depends on it. A moment of sheer glory!
I strive to encourage others to exercise and follow a healthy lifestyle. The benefits are ENORMOUS and SATISFYING in the busy lives we lead. Running, of course is my favoured choice, but it can be any form of exercise that gets you moving, jolts your heart and makes you HAPPY. When you find a sport you LOVE, it ceases to be work, you become PASSIONATE and it makes you smile. If I can do it, ANYONE can!!!
Always remember… a journey of a thousand miles begins with ONE STEP ~ Lau Tzo