My Fitness Journey [Part 1]

My name is Kathy. I am a 37-year-old working mum of 2 beautiful girls, Zoe 6 and Jemma 3, and a big kid (husband) Heath. We have been married for ten years. My family is my world. But my other world and something I have been passionate about (properly and way too late in life) is fitness.

Growing up in the UK was amazing. I was always brought up to be fit and healthy and my mum would always be at the gym promoting a healthy lifestyle but let’s just say we were blessed with the ‘Apple shaped gene’ – skinny legs and any weight would go straight on the belly. I started to notice this happen when I was about 18; I broke my leg and could not put weight on my foot for 8 weeks and this was when I had my first noticeable weight gain (looking back it was nothing!!). I think you always a remember a time when you become more self-conscious and luckily for us back then there were no perfect bodies on Instagram and Facebook shoved in your face all the time, but it was always still there – that need to look a certain way.

Fast-forward to 2004, I started to take a real interest in serious fitness and prioritise it in my life and I really enjoyed it as it made me feel good and kept me out of trouble! My dream was to move to Australia and be a personal trainer and run bootcamps on the beach – it was my vision.
It was in 2006 that I made the huge decision to move halfway across the world to Australia – I could now realise my dream! Throughout this transition, I managed to maintain and heighten my fitness without lots of other distractions and some big life changes.
Working in the city and living in the hills I would get up at 5am and drive down to make the 6am gym before work. I think everyone thought I was crazy! Looking back I don’t think I really know what the hell I was doing. I was mainly running on the treadmill 8-10 kmto set myself a fitness goal of running the City to Bay (2009). I had met my future husband, Heath, earlier that year and his brother Brad joined me on the run. It was amazing, the atmosphere, the endorphins and the nipple chaff ha-ha! Running down Jetty road towards the finish line in the sunshine – I remember now I looked at my shadow and took a moment to appreciate the fact that I was young fit and my body was able to do this! I am running to a finish line where my new boyfriend and my family were waiting, and we are going to have a good breakfast and a coffee, and all will be good with the world. That made me a little emotional and to be honest, from that moment on….I was hooked!
Later that year my brother, John, met his new girlfriend and they decided to join a boot camp in the city together. Knowing my love of fitness, John got me to come along and try it out, which I did. This opened my eyes to a whole new world! Group fitness OMG how wonderful. And not only that but an amazing group of like-minded, motivating and best of all competitive people. Not only was there running but military style exercises, group and team activities (oh and they knew how to party) and best of all I got to hang out with my brother.

John and I realised then that we were super competitive not only with each other but with everyone. I realised shit, I am bloody good at this! I’ve always prided myself on getting the fastest benchmark time out of the girls and most of the boys and we attended ‘specops’ which ranged from 3 hours to 6 hours to Hell Week, a navy seals inspired training program that was not for the faint-hearted but John and I did it together and being super-competitive, one could not be seen to be doing less than the other. If he did a 10km run on a Tuesday, then so did I! In be tween all of this John and I had now become thick as thieves, fitness buddies. It was a huge part of our lives I don’t think we realised at the time but it consumed us, and we would do everything thrown at us by urban soldier, OBC, SA running club, marathon carnivals etc. We were, looking back at the top of our game. We were running, half marathons, 25km runs, the hills to Henley 30km, 20km runs on a Sunday morning. We were training for a marathon.

Nutrition
This was really a phase in my life when we COULD train out a bad diet. I would eat so much because all the training was counteracting this plus I was in my mid 20’s and metabolism was running fast.
I have always been all or nothing and if I am going to do something I will smash it. So my theory was I would eat what I call ‘dust’ clean all week and then chocolate and pizza on the weekend and it worked for me really well. I felt great and looked great but I still thought I was overweight and not as fit as I should be. Looking back, I’m not sure what I was really aiming for. It was an amazing time however. A time in my life I am so glad I did and was really only changed by getting pregnant with my first child.

The Marathon
The marathon was really ONE of the peaks in my fitness journey. John and I were super fit and ready and nervous and scared, but I knew that feeling at the end was going to be all worth it. It was August 2011 and just before the revamp of the Adelaide Oval. The marathon started there and ended there and I knew that 4 years later, after that first City to Bay, my (now husband) and parents would be there waiting for us.
We ran and ran and ran and had many trials and tribulations along the way. Feeling like you were flying, your body tingling, the endorphins racing, but also the wall, so hard mentally you have to just put one foot in front of the other until the good part comes again. John was always my rock he would encourage me with one word for us to keep going and I would do it for him also. We were such a team, but the underlying competitiveness was always there and made us NEVER be the one to give up or stop!! Your emotions on the last couple of kms are crazy, you’re not quite ready to celebrate but In your mind you are, you have your music going and your thinking of the pride you will feel, the people supporting you, the fact you did this with your brother and that your body is so amazing to do this and how lucky you are. You don’t get better than that. I guess to conclude part 1 of this blog the mental side of doing this far outweighed the physical stuff and it was awesome.
The hot bath, the pizza and family sized chocolate never tasted soooooogooooood😊