…since I first started running in 2017.
At that point of my life, I was finally having the head space to think about my health and fitness after having two kids, pretty close to each other and settling back into work. I was at a low point, wracked with insecurities and doubts in so many aspects of my life. I was in a very dark place mentally. I won’t lie…I believe running saved me.
I have always been an active person in general and when I lost that somehow, in the midst of having my little girls, I lost a big part of who I was. Setting fitness goals helped me find myself. I had put on 22kgs (3.5 stones) and 26kgs (4 stones) respectively with each of my pregnancies – yes the 22kgs came off easily the first time around but the second time around with V2, it was much harder to lose. There were days when I looked into the mirror, I barely recognised myself. On top of that I felt sluggish and ‘heavy’ and just not myself.
Everyone will tell you that in order to lose weight, you have to tackle your nutrition first. They are not wrong! However, I am a terrible dieter. I hate counting calories, I am an emotional eater – the stress of restricting calories just makes me eat more, and I dislike feeling restricted as I love my food way too much. I could make certain tweaks in my nutrition but I know, the biggest motivation for me had to come through my fitness. i.e. the ability to physically do something that I couldn’t do before.
Running was great at the beginning, it got me moving and being more disciplined again. But I didn’t enjoy running long distances as much as I wanted to. My friend and I walked 26 miles but the thought of running (well training!) that distance filled me with dread. My brother-in-law giving me and my husband two free race entries to a Spartan Sprint in October 2018 and that initiated my Spartan journey. After successfully completing the first sprint, my husband and I signed up for the Spartan Trifecta: three races, a Sprint, Super and Beast for 2019. I remember having a distinct sinking feeling a couple of weeks after signing up…what were we really getting ourselves into??? It was then too late!!
It was tricky finding the time to train (both running and strength training) when you have a full time job and kids but when you’ve committed to a race, you have very little choice. It was either that or show up on race day completely unprepared and suffer throughout! With each race throughout the year that we did, I felt myself getting stronger, slowly but surely. Certain obstacles that I had initially struggled with became easier with each race. The additional strength training helped my running as well, I used to get knee pains after 6 miles but less so these days. Granted there is much I still need to work on, especially my upper body strength – I am still unable to do the monkey bars or the multi-rigs, I could only get halfway up the rope climb and I’m still shit at the spear throw. But there are a little victories! I still freeze in fear over any obstacle with heights above 6 feet involved but I always attempted these and 9/10 times, I usually survived them. I sandbag carry like a champion, the barbed wire crawl is child’s play now and i actually managed the hercules hoist on my own (damnnnnnn!!).
Throughout the past two years, whenever I felt down (which was unfortunately, more often than I’d like to admit), whenever there was change at work, whenever there were any challenges mentally, my fitness goals kept me focused and calm. I am not sure how I would have coped without it.
Today, I feel a renewed sense of purpose, enthusiasm and excitement for life. Life is imperfect as always but I stand before it with hope, faith and gratitude. I am truly fortunate to feel this way.
I want to say a special thank you to my husband, V0, for being the most supportive human being on this planet. You are always so keen to encourage me, no matter how crazy my ideas sound. Thank you for signing up to the Spartans with me and supporting my journey wholeheartedly. I hope I can return the favour one day.
To my kids, V1 and V2, I love you both very much and I know in my heart, you will both grow up to be strong and resilient souls. Mummy promises she won’t take any unnecessary risks.
To the running group, Rotherhithe Runners, thank you for always being there. The founders of the running group are fitness role models of mine. I might not love running as much as you two do but you both inspire me with your relentless passion for running. I will always remember running behind you during our Sunday runs and thinking to myself, I can’t stop now, look at them go!!!
To all my family (especially my baby sister) and friends who thought I was extreme, crazy but supported me anyway, thank you. You know you love me exactly the way I am. Hehe.
To my ma, little do you know but your disability has always spurred me on – what you can’t do physically, I will never take for granted. Thank you.
To my late dad, don’t worry Pa, a triathlon is next on my list. Yasssss!!!!