The hero’s that inspire me

This week’s blog is going to be a little different.

 

The back story behind it is that I got a phone call from someone at the Gold Coast Marathon committee. They said that they are working with a photographer this year to do feature pieces on runners with inspirational reasons as to why they are doing the marathon; they asked if they could do one on me.

 

I calmly and professionally said yes that would be ok. Pretending like this wasn’t a huge deal and I get phone calls like this all the time.

 

Meanwhile I’m jumping for joy inside. So excited and so proud to be asked to do something like this.

 

I had my photo shoot on the weekend and part of it included doing a video recording of why I entered the marathon. And also what inspires me to keep going.

 

It was such an amazing and humbling experience and allowed me to really look deep inside myself as to what and who inspires me.

 

So today’s blog is all about those people who give me the strength and motivation to hit this goal.

 

Firstly, my beautiful daughter. Since before you were born I knew I wanted to be the best person I could be for you. I wanted to be the kind of Mum you could look up to and be proud of. A few weeks ago you saw some running shoes at the shops and said “Mumma J I want these so I can run fast like you.” It melted my heart and made me burst with pride. To know I’m influencing you in such a positive way brings me so much joy. And knowing that you will be there at the finish line with Ninny and Pop Pop, will help me push through the pain to see your face and make you proud.

 

To my family. You have seen me at my worst and at my best. We’ve been through some really difficult times and I’ve pushed you all away at times, but no matter what, I know that if I needed you, you’d all be there in a flash. I know you’ll all be so proud seeing me cross the line on race day and this gives me the strength to keep fighting another day. 

 

To my friend who is battling cancer again. You’re bravery, strength and never give up attitude inspires me to no end. Whenever I’m thinking of slowing down I think of you and what you’ve pushed through and it makes me go further than I thought I could.

 

To a past work colleague that opened up to me after my blog Perfectly Imperfect. Stating that you talk down to yourself the same way I used to. I always looked up to you and was actually intimidated by you as you always seemed so confident. I’m humbled you opened up to me and I hope you have managed to quiet that voice that puts you down. Thank you for making me feel like I wasn’t alone. Your bravery in opening up gives me strength to keep going. 

 

To an old friend that reconnected with me after reading my blogs to say you were inspired and lost weight and have started taking better care of yourself after struggling through the death of a family member; I’m touched that I could help and I keep pushing when I know you’re fighting through your journey too.

 

To the beautiful soul that suggested I look into Schema Therapy. I know it would have been difficult to do this as I was in such a bad place and could have reacted negatively. I’m so grateful you stepped up and made the suggestion. It has changed my life. I’m really sad that you’re no longer in my life, but please know that every day for the rest of my life I will be grateful to you for accepting me for who I am. For not judging me. For showing me such a beautiful light when all I could feel was darkness. When I look back on this journey you’re always a big part of it and I use that gratitude I feel towards you, as a force to push me through. 

 

To a work colleague that told me I’m a talented writer and should turn this blog into a book; then destroyed me by saying “who would have thought you would be talented at anything” no matter what is happening you always find a way to make me laugh. And I promise when I’m a famous author, you’re first in line to be my personal assistant.

 

To the random stranger that I saw running last Saturday. I hope this doesn’t come across as rude, but you are probably 3 times my weight so running must be incredibly difficult and painful for you right now; but the smile you wore as you were running overflowed me with inspiration. I could see the buzz you get from running and it reminded me why I do what I do. Thank you for grounding me. Your smile will keep me pounding the pavement through the pain.

 

To the countless online strangers that have messaged me on Social Media or email and have shared your stories with me of how something I wrote gave you the inspiration to start your journey or to start taking care of yourself; I can’t thank you enough for your amazing feedback. It truly means the world to me and I have saved every comment. You inspire me to keep going.

 

There are many others that have inspired me and I think of you during my runs and throughout this journey as well; I can never thank you all enough for the inspiration and motivation you have all given me. Please keep being brave and opening up and sharing your stories with me. I love sharing this journey with so many amazing people.

You’re my hero’s.

 

How running saved me

In 2013 I completed a half marathon and I was fitter and healthier than ever. I had just left working in the fitness industry and was in a new relationship. Within a few months of feeling on top of the world after reaching such a huge goal that meant the world to me, I was 10 kg heavier and wasn’t training at all. This carried on for the next 5 years. I had periods of really feeble attempts at getting back into training but always made excuses and would fall back into laziness again. 

It wasn’t until after my last surgery where I was laid up in bed and couldn’t move and I hated myself so much, that I finally got the burning urge to train again. It was actually killing me to not be able to do anything and as each day passed I got more and more frustrated. I was busting at the seams to get started but I knew that I would have to take it easy and start back very slowly or I would injure myself and end up giving up again. 

My very first ‘training’ session was literally a 10 minute walk. Not only was it painful and uncomfortable as I was 2 weeks post-surgery and I still had glue holding my belly button and 2 other cuts together, but it was also uncomfortable mentally. I was feeling so depressed and grieving from the miscarriage and didn’t want to leave the house. So getting outside was a real struggle and was totally overwhelming. But I did it!!!

It was hard to not put pressure on myself and push for more but I made sure to only focus on the positive. That I completed my first session and had taken a step forward. I had to keep reminding myself that it didn’t matter how slow I was going, but I was finally going. It was around this time I set myself the goal of completing another half marathon. I had 10 months before the Gold Coast Airport Marathon was happening. Game on. 

I didn’t tell anyone for a few months that this was my goal. Fear of failure was making me keep it a secret and I didn’t want to add any pressure to what I was already feeling. My training was still going very slowly but I was loving it. I was finally feeling like me again. I was looking forward to training and would actually feel “itchy” when I had a rest day and normally ended up going for at least a walk. 

My first “run” was around the block when I was still living in Runaway Bay. 3.2 km that took me 34 minutes!!! I could have actually walked it quicker but I set myself a goal of running the whole way without stopping so I didn’t care how long it took me, I just couldn’t stop. The feeling I got when I arrived home was like euphoria. I was so proud of myself. And it really enforced the fact that you have to set little goals along the way and be proud of each of those steps you take. 

It was around this time the rest of my life started to fall apart and running has literally saved me and pulled me out of some seriously dark places. It felt like hitting this goal was the only thing I had to look forward to, the only thing I could control. Every other part of my life it felt like I was a puppet on a string, I was having to do what everyone else wanted. But running was my thing. No one could take that away from me, no one could control that part of my life. I was training every day without fail. I couldn’t stop. And I was loving every second of it. My body was starting to change. I was feeling so much fitter and stronger and was feeling a lot of pride in myself for sticking to it and staying focused. 

During all of this I was strict with taking care of my body, mainly out of fear of getting injured because I knew that running was the only thing keeping me going, but also because I wanted to get the best out of my body. I was stretching each night, using a foam roller, taking magnesium, eating good nutritious meals and I ending up adding yoga into my nightly stretching routine as well just recently which I actually really love doing and am seeing the benefits already. This doesn’t mean I didn’t treat myself. I’d started drinking alcohol again after 5 years of barely drinking at all, and I’ve had a few pretty big nights. Plus I was doing a bit of comfort eating too but I never allowed myself to feel guilty for it. I was training hard and as a whole was eating well so I definitely deserved some treats too. Taking the guilty thoughts away from treating myself made a huge difference. Normally I’d beat myself up thinking how I’ve ruined my progress, and would comfort eat even more. 

At this point in time I’m up to 16km runs. It’s still a pretty challenging time in my life, and I’m battling every day to keep my head above water. I’m also trying to find a way to manage the not so positive comments that always seem to follow when people step up and achieve something.

Don’t get me wrong I’ve had some amazing feedback and have been truly humbled by some of the comments of people reaching out and sharing their journey with me and saying that I am inspiring them to start training again. These comments have led me to actually start this blog and be more open about my journey and I’m doing my best to focus on them as I deeply appreciate them.

Unfortunately these days there is always negative comments thrown in as well and I do my best to not think about them but some days they get the best of you and bring you down. I don’t believe any of the comments are thrown at me to intentionally cause harm, but it’s just the usual of people not thinking before they speak and not realising how hurtful certain things are. Being called a skinny bitch by ‘friends’ because I’ve lost weight and being told I need to start eating KFC….. it hurts. Being told oh you have it so easy because you were born fit…. it takes away from the hard work I’ve put in. 

Maybe I’m just super sensitive at the moment, but I really believe if you see someone stepping up achieving something and you don’t have anything nice to say about it, then don’t say anything at all. I’ve even had someone tell me I won’t make my marathon goal by going vegan. Apparently eating meat is the only thing that lets you run these days?!?!?

I’ve lost weight because I’m training a lot which obviously naturally occurs. I’ve also not been able to stomach meat for the last 8 weeks or so after reading an article on live animal exports so I’ve completely changed my diet to almost Vegan (I still indulge in chocolate now and then). I’ve also been struggling to eat because my stomach is in knots from the stress I’m under. The last 2 weeks I’ve also spent 3 nights throwing up, again I think from stress. So calling me a skinny bitch and telling me to go and have a big feed, really doesn’t help people!!! It also doesn’t help by telling me you wish you had it ‘easy’ like me. Trust me, none of this journey has been easy. Every fucking day has been an absolute battle. Every step I’ve taken has been through enormous effort and willpower. I wasn’t born fit. I am fit now because I have shown up for myself every day without fail for the last 7 months and I have busted my fucking ass running and training. This is not fucking easy. 

And I know it appears I’m naturally motivated so it’s easier for me than most. But it’s come to a point where running is saving me from all the shit I’m dealing with. It’s the one thing I can control. The one thing that manages to shut up my inner critic for awhile. That’s where my motivation actually stems from. Which isn’t a very pretty place.

As of right now there is 109 days and 19 hours until the run starts. I’m so excited and keep wishing that I could do it now so I can achieve my goal now instead of waiting. But I know something like this is about the journey of getting there, not just the accomplishment at the end so I’ll be patient and keep working hard and keep showing up for myself. I also know that the struggles I face will make the finish line so much more meaningful. 

Just the thought of crossing that line makes me tear up already. It’s going to be one of my greatest achievements to pull myself out of the hardest and darkest place of my life and to turn it into something positive and life changing. 

To everyone that has passed on positive feedback, I thank you for your kind words and I love sharing this journey with you and knowing that you’re starting to change your life too. To the few that have been not so positive, I thank you for putting that fire in my belly to fight harder.