From Couch Potato to Ironman
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If you had told me 11 years ago I would be coaching runners to achieve long distance goals I would have guffawed.
Back then I was pushing 100kg, I was sluggish, ate terribly and had no desire to even contemplate a marathon. And then I moved to New Zealand.
I've now run 10 marathons and four Ironman races. I have numerous half ironman and other triathlon finishes to my name as well as half marathons and other running races. It's fair to say I am hooked.
But that wasn't always the case. I can easily remember how hard I found those first runs, where the distances between power poles seemed to lengthen when it was time to run and a walking minute seemed to fly by compared to a running minute.
I am no longer quite so weighty, I no longer struggle to get out of the door to run and I am now working towards a personal goal of 26 marathons (and who knows, I may increase that!).
So what happened? Moving to New Zealand saved my life. I came from the UK where I had never been sporty, where I had always considered myself a spectator, rather than a participant.
I saw pictures of larger women getting out and being active at events and thought I could do it too. I was right. In the space of 18 months I went from someone whose only exercise was walking to the car to get drive-thru McDonald's (even though it was only 500m away) to an Ironman - that's a 3.8kmm swim, 180km bike and 42km run all in one day!
I got my money's worth from the race, finishing in 16hrs and 38 minutes (the cut-off is 17 hours), but it spurred me on to do more.
So I've now notched up four Ironman finishes and 10 marathons. I've run (I think) 14 half marathons and I've a couple more this year for fun.
I had to lose weight a second time, after I gained 30kg when pregnant with my son (who is now 3) and I completed my first event when he was 10 weeks old - a 5km at the Rotorua Marathon (I ran the marathon the following year).
It was hard, it was definitely challenging, but I know it was worth it - for my health and for other people's.
I now love to help other people get the same joy I feel every time I run. I'm a 261 Fearless Ambassador and an accredited running coach - I coach women all over the world!
If you have ever watched a race and thought about one day doing it, make one day now. Life is too short to sit on the sidelines.
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