I DID IT!!!  I actually freaking did it!  I ran 42km last Saturday for the first time in my entire  life!  My legs ran me all that distance, all the way!  I still cannot believe I actually did it.  I remember when I was a little girl, watching a marathon thinking OMG how could people actually run that distance.  Never in a million years would I have believed that I could have done that too.

 

The mind is a very powerful thing.  

Let me take you back to what I was like over a  decade ago.  I did not like myself a great deal.  I had developed a very poor body image when I was  younger.  You know what it’s like comparing yourself to all the other girls at school and usually really unfavourably too?   Well that was me!  And my eating disorder crept up on me, and at one point in my life I was throwing up 20 times a day.  Not the nicest way to treat yourself.   I guess I didn’t know any other way of being after a while.  Of course it had a huge impact on my mental health, and as much as I put a  smile on my face,  inside I felt heavy and a lot of the time sad.  I hated my body, I hated me.  I just felt like I wasn’t good enough.   So I guess I found a good way to punish myself. As you can imagine my energy levels were pretty low a lot of the time so exercise was pretty non existent in my life.

Then I discovered Powerhoop a few years ago.  My counsellor at the time had suggested that I try some exercise.  He said it would make me feel good. I had no idea the link between mental health and exercise at that point.  So I tried it, and fell in love with this particular form of exercise.  So much so I became an instructor.  Then I brought this to New Zealand!

Starting with an exercise I loved meant I would keep doing it and the more I did it, the more my confidence grew.  My body became stronger and so did my mind.  I started to feel better about myself and I guess I stopped hating myself as much.  My eating gradually improved and I started to eat for health and wellbeing as opposed to punishment.

The years since I have been Powerhooping, and have grown my business meant I have done a lot of Personal Development too.  I have had to grow myself in order to grow my business. I really began to start believing in myself and I would take lots of little steps out of my comfort zone.  Each time I stepped out my comfort zone, I would feel a little more confident.  So I would start to set myself little challenges along the way.

Earlier this year I started a Happy 100 list.  I decided this year would be the year where I would try new things and bring more joy into my life.  And I wrote a list of 100 things I wanted to do.  There were lots of little things in there like having a massage, coffee with a friend, in there but there were some bigger challenges.  One of them was a marathon.  As soon as I wrote it down I knew I had committed to it.  Making the decision to run was the hard bit. Then I just needed to come up with a plan.

A couple of years ago I started running in 10kms and then half marathons.  Powerhooping had given me the fitness, core strength and confidence to take it to the next level.  I just wanted to feel what it would be like to set such a huge goal and achieve it.  I must let you know that as much as I love exercise, I am hopeless training on my own.  I NEED a buddy.  So I had to make sure that hubby was available for some of the training runs and then I had a few friends who I would train with.  Thank God for them.

I think over the past few years it has been the little steps out my comfort zone that has allowed me to believe in myself and this was no different.  Probably emigrating was the first major one.  With every training I did, my confidence would grow.  I would really start to believe I could really do this.  Physically I was going to be strong enough, but it was whether I could rise to the mental challenge.  

One of the last trainings I did I ran the last 10km, like a turtle in marmite,  and just wondered how the heck I was going to be able to add 10km on to that run.  They told me that the adrenaline would get me through.

On race day, there were some amazing friends supporting us and that really kept me going,  and I was running with my incredibly supportive husband.  He ran with me to make sure I would complete it.  I think he added about an hour onto his usual time, but he insisted he wanted to be there to run it with me.  Bless him.

So we ran, and ran, and ran, and ran.  Five hours later…   that feeling I had as we went through the finishing line.  I was overcome by emotion.  I had tears of pride that here I was, a marathon runner.  Amy, little old Amy.  Amy who, years ago, would not have been able to run 1 kilometre let alone 42.  For me, that moment was so transformational.  There was no way I could go back to my old ways.  How could I say anything bad to myself now ?  My incredible body, my incredible legs ( which I used to call tree trunks) did something amazing.  How could I ever hate my body again?  How could I ever doubt myself again? How could I NOT believe anything is possible now ?

There has been a shift for me.  A shift which feels pretty permanent.  I set myself a lofty goal and I freaking did it.  And if I can do it.  YOU can do it.

I also managed to raise over $1,300 for The Mental Health Foundation, so thank YOU for sponsoring me if you did!

Maybe it’s not a marathon for you.  But from my experience of this whole thing I have learnt that if you set your mind to it, YOU can do it.

For more info on My Happy 100 go to

www.myhappy100.club

 

I would LOVE to have you in my growing group of peeps getting out there and challenging themselves.