I was never one of the sporty girls in High School. I was known for ice cream eating, not sports participation. So much so, that I was given a voucher to the school canteen for my birthday one year.
I played Hockey in the B team and was the twelfth man the Cricket Team.
Envious of all those tall slim netball girls throughout high school I never thought I would become one of ‘those’ fit people later in life.
I would have laughed in disbelief if the future me, had appeared in a dream and told me what I was going to achieve ten years on.
I thought that fit people had to look a certain way. I was sure I didn’t look like that.
A few friends and I had lots of fat jokes between us. None of us had actual weight problems but the name and self belief in what I thought I could and could not do stuck with me for a few years on.
I never took exercise seriously apart from the odd game of hockey until I was told pretty much that I was fatty and to go to the gym by one of my first boyfriends. However degrading his comments were to get me going at the time, I do thank him for this day to bringing fitness into my life.
After a few years of being a gym and aerobics junkie, at twenty seven, I ran my first half marathon in south London. Inspired by my flatmate to get rid of the ‘heathrow injection’ I joined weight watchers and started to run to help me get rid of my extra kilos.
It was a VERY slow process to start with.
I plodded, walked and sweated the streets of London for twelve weeks.
I was by no means fast, running at seven minutes per km.
The weight dropped off, my speed increased and my confidence grew.
Inside my head I found a peace and solace in running that I had never found before.
Since then, training has been my rock. Running has helped me survive hideous break ups, anger, anxiety and work frustrations.
I had my half marathon training plan. I rugged up, stuck to it, put my ear muffs on and spent my weekends running through Regents Park, Hyde Park, Hampstead Health and along the Thames.
I fell in love with London in a way that I had never had before.
I finished my first half marathon in 2 hours and 24 minutes, smiling all the way despite the pouring rain.
A few years on and three more half marathons later, I convinced myself to take on full marathon, which I survived in 34 degree heat. Along this journey I met another inspiring lady. She convinced me to give triathlon a go. I was highly intimidated by the bikes and the fancy lycra. But I decided to give it a bash.
After crying for most of the first six months and being petrified at the start of my cycling career, I have completed three Sprint Triathlons and an Olympic Distance Triathlon and I am well on the way to becoming a half ironman in September.
I am not the fastest person in the land. But I am proud as punch.
I am so chuffed to be doing things that I never thought were possible.
And I have made some amazing lifelong friendships on the journey.
I am challenged each day.
I love the way my body changes each week.
I love that my body is fitter, stronger and healthier each week that passes, as is my mind.
*I completed the Sunshine Coast half ironman! A 1.9km swim, 90km bike and a half marathon (21.1km run) on September 15th 2013 in 6 hours 43 minutes. As my friend just exclaimed I exercised for ALMOST A WHOLE WORKING DAY.
During the race, I lost a contact lens and cycled like a one eyed bandit for a while, peed on the bike and vomited behind a tree. But I have realised it is how we face these challenges and move forward that matters. Despite being in the last 100 people to finish. I felt like I was the winner.
It goes down in history as one of the greatest days of my life.