Well, where do I begin?
Like most, the last couple of years has been an absolute rollercoaster – a quick snapshot – working full time, pregnancy, two young children, a pandemic, Melbourne lockdown, remote learning, a husband working full time/new business/run coaching AND full time training himself, my breast cancer diagnosis (chemo, reaction to chemo resulting in hospitalisation, surgery, shingles, radiation therapy and immunotherapy), the birth of our daughter AND the death of my father, oh and a stress fracture… It’s A LOT!
A huge part of finding balance with three young kids, a high stress/high-pressure job and a busy family schedule, is the ability to get out and run.
I set weekly goals or sessions with flexibility around when and where I train. The best thing about running is that I can put my gear on first thing in the morning, push through my to-do list, step out the door and get the run done before or after work.
This might mean getting it done in the dark or rain, but each run that I thought would be ‘too hard to fit in’ makes me stronger. Having a supportive husband that encourages and prioritises my training helps, and so do our daily planning skills of breaking the day down to the hour or minute if we have to!
Getting the run done helps me feel like out of the many things I can’t control in life, I can get my run done and know I’m one step (or many steps!) closer to my goal. It is towards being healthier and fitter and more prepared to take on whatever comes next, whether a hectic shift at work or a house full of laundry, dishes and toys! I feel like I’m a better wife, mum, leader and friend.
While I had a little setback of a stress fracture in my lower leg, likely attributed to my medication and recovery from cancer treatment, I still looked for ways to maintain my fitness – I got on a bike for the first time in years! I started commuting to work and cycled in the house with the kids playing nearby. I wanted to have a challenge that was separate from motherhood and work. It also made me feel great, escape by tuning into an audiobook or podcast, takes in nature by the local trails, and help my body confidence after my third pregnancy and recovery from treatment.
I always reflect back on my relationship with running as a child. I’m sure I had some ability, but not the heart or drive. I would run as well as I could at school athletics or cross country to qualify for the next round, which often involved a day off from school with my friends. Sport for me wasn’t encouraged by my family, I was very invested in singing and dancing, so if you had told me I would enjoy running as much as I do now, I wouldn’t believe you!
If I could give my younger self any advice, it would be to be confident in yourself and not worry about what others think; you do you! You can and will achieve great things!
Running has introduced me to a community that has brought more to my life than I could imagine. It had improved my health and mental well being when I was in some very dark places. I now realise that there is more to life than a short emotional struggle or challenging phase.
The world keeps turning, and there is so much to live for, to strive for. There’s always another race, another parkrun, another great human to connect with, another experience waiting to become a joyful memory.
This empowers me to do better, be healthier and be kinder in all areas of my life, especially to my family.