Uphill battle for 'overweight mum-of-two'

JO MCKENZIE-MCLEAN
Last updated 05:04 09/05/2014
Johanna Mckenzie-Mclean with Travis and Morgan

BUSY: Jo Mckenzie-Mclean, with Travis and Morgan, says looking after herself 'dropped to the bottom of the priority list'.

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I am in a rut. I drink too much, eat too much and the only exercise I get, aside from playing with my two children when I'm not working fulltime, is running to the fridge for the wine bottle.

That is about to change. Dramatically.

I have accepted a challenge, that right now seems ludicrously impossible, to compete in the Northburn Station 50km mountain run in Central Otago in March next year.

A few weeks ago, event organiser Terry Davis, in cahoots with NRG's Chantel Knox, put this crazy idea to me.

The timing was serendipitous. I was feeling particularly low after having been at my cousin's wedding, and while getting dressed I was forced to lie flat on a bed, with my husband's knee in my back as he did up the zipper telling me to suck it in.

About a week prior I untagged myself from a Facebook photo an old university friend had posted of me with her and another uni friend. It's the first time I have ever done that. I was mortified I had let myself get so overweight and washed-out looking. I hardly recognised that person in the photo.

The reality is, as it is for many women I'm guessing, I have two young children (18 months and nearly 4) and about seven months ago I returned to work fulltime. It's a busy life being a mum, working long hours, cooking, cleaning...I won't carry on. I'm not trying to milk sympathy because I'm lucky I get a lot of help from my husband and family.

I'm just saying time for me to look after myself has dropped to the bottom of the priority list.

I haven't accepted this challenge just to lose weight though, (however, that's hopefully going to be a spinoff).

It's about getting back into a healthy, active lifestyle, gaining confidence and proving to myself, and to readers, that someone like me, of average (probably below average) ability, can set a tough goal and achieve it.

I basically need an energy kick, and Central Otago offers adventure opportunities on a platter to men, women and children of all abilities.

It's going to be an uphill battle (literally and metaphorically) but one that I'm excited about. I'll be writing about my journey in regular columns.

I would appreciate any feedback, tips or suggestions, to go alongside training I'll be doing with Terry and Chantel.

To be honest, I'm not sure who has the bigger challenge on their hands. Them or me.

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- The Southland Times

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