It’s nearly a year ago now since I’ve started running.
First, in February 2014 Mum & Dad came to visit Australia (and us!) Then I worked on an onion farm and then I crossed the Nullarbor with German Jenny.
Which is where I first kept to my running schedule on a bare AFL-field in a town where the local pub kept a stash of dollars for travellers who wanted a shower ($1 buys you 5 minutes of hot water bliss).
I’d had a go at it before, but was always too self-conscious or insecure or it wasn’t important enough to make time for or I had some kind of “valid excuse”. Whatever it was, I never stuck to it.
Why this time was different, you wonder. Because of this:
Let me start at the beginning. It was May 2012, and we had been in Australia for a month and had hit rock bottom when our newly purchased van was declared wrecker material. That is how we ended up in Harrietville – a bit like our Australian home away from home – at the foot of Mt. Hotham. Our relatives, who were so incredible to take us in and let us stay for four months or so, loaned us ski gear as well.
I am not going to beat around the bush: I was skeptical. Here’s why: skiing equals snow equals winter equals cold equals I want to stay inside and drink hot cocao!
It took two hours on skis to turn my world upsidedown forever. Skiing is the best thing I have ever done. It is hard, challenging, cold (oh yes!), adventurous, exciting, challenging (yes, twice), testing and just so much fun! It was like nothing I had ever done before and what’s more it came fairly easily to me.
In my opinion you don’t need to be very fit to enjoy skiing. What you do need however is trust in your own body. You need to believe that it can do what you need/want it to do. If you don’t, you’ll still wind up at the bottom of the hill. Just in the form of a snowball, not a kool-looking dude/chick on skis.
So you need to take a deep breath and think of how to place your feet and to bend your knees and to poleplant and to just not panic. No matter how fast you’re going or how steep the hill is. Once you have started there is no turning back. Deep breath!
Fast forward to March 2014: I needed to become fitter and strengthen my legs in order to be able to enjoy a season on the mountain as a lodge manager to the fullest.
Enter running: I downloaded a schedule called something along the lines of ‘From couch potato to 5km in 8 weeks’. Its completion I celebrated by joining the Mother’s Day Classic, a 5km fun run in Ararat.
It was an amazing milestone. It is when I started to realize how amazing a tool my body is, what it is capable of provided you take care of it and use it in the right way. The security I now feel in my body is unreal, but what saddens me just a bit is that I never realised it before. There are so many things I would have done if only I had known my body could. It needed some training sure, and I needed that mental push over the edge that I got when I first pointed my skis downhill.
What also saddens me a bit is that there currently are so many people out there who don’t get to use their bodies’ full potentials. Obesity is so much more than being fat. It is being tired and having no energy (which is not quite the same as being tired) and it can become as much mental as it is physical. That is why it is so hard to “snap out of”. It is a lifestyle, something a diet won’t fix. You need to put your mind to it, as I have discovered.
Because running isn’t easy either. It is bloody hard, and exhausting and testing, but also challenging, exciting and adventurous. Most importantly though, it’s addictive and as much as I hate doing it sometimes, I am doing it. I now know how it makes me feel. I know all the things I now trust myself to do. I now know how unhappy I felt without knowing why. Because our bodies are tools, they are ours to use to take on life’s adventures and challenges. It needs to be a certain kind of fit for that though. And you need to trust it, because it is a pretty nifty design.
The reason why I am sharing this with you today is because I completed another milestone: my first double digit run – 12km in 1hr 28 min.