Sunday, 22 September 2013

How I went from a Double G non runner to a half marathoner!

I mentioned that some friends and I had made a crazy dream to run a marathon?  Well, Greg, Ruth and I have a Facebook page so that people can follow our journey.  We're writing short ;) bios about ourselves and today was my turn, so I thought I'd share what I wrote on my blog.  If you read my blog you probably know my story anyway, but here it is.  This is my running bio, in brief. :)
Kate's running bio
How did I come about making this crazy dream? The girl who in June last year could only run for 200 metres? Who now talks about completed half marathons in plural?

In June last year I found myself at 141kg. To explain how I got to that weight would need a whole other long post - but we all have a history and mine saw me getting to that weight. Morbidly obese and essentially hiding from life. I decided to lose weight (for the 461st time) and joined Michelle Bridges 12WBT. That’s all I planned on doing – just losing weight. I didn’t realise how much of my life would change in the process.

I did my first fitness test where we had to do a 1km time trial. I waited till about 10pm when the streets were dark
How I went from a Double G non runner to a half marathoner!
and quiet so that no-one would see me, and I headed out. I managed to run 200m before feeling like my throat was going to seize up and I’d collapse.

A few days later, I sat in my car, in the rain, staring at the boot camp across the park – the boot camp I was trying to get the courage to join. I was petrified. I was not one who exercised. At all. I was in the ‘Under 13’s and Under 14’s Butterflies’ netball teams when I was a kid. Umm, and that was it. I had never really exercised before. I was the girl who would eat M&M’s while walking defiantly at the back of my schools cross country only because I was forced to participate. I didn’t do anything. wouldn’t (and couldn’t!) even run for a train.

I somehow made it out of the car that day and did my first boot camp. I cried a bit but I did it. And the next week, I went back, and I did it again. And again. I slowly started to introduce more exercise. I kept up my 1km time trials and within a couple of months, after losing some weight and increasing my fitness a little bit, I discovered I could run the whole 1km without stopping!

I signed up for my first official fun run, the 5km Bridge to Brisbane. My goal was to finish it, and if I felt ok, to try and run a little bit. If I could do this, it would be the first time I would be running in public. The day before, a friend, Wendy, said to me “if you can run 1km, you can run 2km”. I thought it was a sweet sentiment and that was it. But I remembered it.

At the Start line, I thought I’d just give it a go and try and run. I started, and I discovered I was ok. No-one was staring at me...I blended in as much as the other thousands of runners. As I approached the 1km mark, I remembered what Wendy had said. I started to think about testing her theory, and about how cool it would be, if I could tell her later that I did in fact run 2km without stopping? I was feeling I kept going. Already I had ‘beat’ my best distance, so I was on Cloud 9. But then the funniest thing happened. I was already approaching the 2km mark, and I was still feeling ok. I started dreaming bigger. What on, what if...if I can run 2km, maybe I could run 3km? I kept going.... You get the picture. That continued and I ended up running the entire 5km that day. I realised what incredible things your body can do, if you just start to imagine.

Soon after that, continuing to lose weight and increase my fitness, I imagined really big. I imagined running a half marathon. How amazing would that be? I settled on a goal of the Gold Coast Half Marathon 2013 and set out to make it a reality.

Then literally about 2 weeks later, I had an accident on the infamous princess bushwalk, and badly sprained my ankle. For the following two months, I was on crutches and in a moon boot. Not the best timing but I refused to let it stop my running goals. I couldn’t run, but I could do other stuff. I’d turn up to boot camp with crutches and just do upper body exercises. In those 2 months I increased my fitness so much, that a week after recovering, I went and ran 11km non stop, just like that. After not running in 2 months.

That was January – since then I just kept going. I increased my boot camps, I did a few triathlons, I tried pole dancing, climbed mountains, did Spartan, all different stuff – I did as much as I could. The other stuff helped my fitness but nothing gave me ‘that feeling’ like running did. Running made me feel alive. I entered every running event that I could – always with the half marathon goal in mind. In June I completed the 14km City 2 South. Around this point I delayed my half goal – I changed it to the Brisbane Marathon Festival in August. I felt I needed a bit more time, and the Gold Coast had a strict 3 hour cut off time that I was worrying about meeting. One thing I have learnt, is to be flexible with your goals. So I had 4 more weeks up my sleeve. I did the 10km Jetty 2 Jetty in July, got to the finish line and kept running through it for another 6km. Just because I wanted to let myself do a 16km run before tackling the half. I made it, and it gave me the confidence to know I would really be ok with the 21.1km.

Along came the 4th August, and, 14 months after I started running, and 40kg down, I went and I did it. I ran 21.1km without stopping. It is the biggest thing I have ever done in my life. I realised why I was doing it. Yeah, I loved running, the feeling it gave me and the fitness it allowed me to have. But the reason I did the half? It’s because I never imagined I could. When you’re 141kg you don’t imagine things like this. Not seriously, anyway. But this is a dream – a huge, scary, seemingly out of reach crazy goal I made myself. And I did it. I worked so hard for over a year and broke down my goal into achievable chunks. I allowed myself to keep going after stuffing up along the way. It wasn’t all smooth sailing. The sprained ankle was the very least of my worries at some points. Paralleled with this journey were many personal hurdles – some very dark. But you’ve just gotta keep going.

Since my first half marathon, I have completed 2 more. 3 halfs in 7 weeks – it’s craziness at its most rewarding. The marathon dream is something I dabbled with in my mind but wouldn’t allow myself to seriously consider until after my first half. Of course, as soon as I did it, running a full marathon became the new dream. I am so lucky I met Ruth and Greg along the way and that they have crazy dreams just like me. Both of them have been by my side through so much – I call them my sister and brother and I can’t imagine sharing the marathon dream with anyone else. And to top it off, to have so many of our friends pledging to run at the Gold Coast next year in all different distances too? This makes me even more excited about it. The Gold Coast is not going to know what hit it come July!

This is a video I made a couple of weeks ago that shows you my running story. It’s basically this bio, in pictures
I encourage each of you to aim – whether it be the Gold Coast, or your own personal running, walking, climbing etc. goal – whatever it is, aim big. You never know what you might be capable of, if you only let yourself imagine it. You can currently be at any point and still get to any point. That 141kg, out of breath girl from June last year, she never thought she’d be able to run a half...until she imagined it.

Love Kate xo

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