So why did I decide to enter the 102km Ultramarathon at Tarawera?
I have been asked this a few times, especially given where I have come from over the last 11 months losing over 38kgs.
For me it’s a challenge. I liken it to the lolly jar on top of the fridge. I can’t reach it normally, but if I’m determined and put my mind to it, I can find a way to achieve what I want. I was taught by my parents that you need to work for what you want and never expect to receive a handout. That has stayed with me my whole life.
Life is full of challenges, some easier to overcome than others and over time, without realising it you fall into your comfort zone and drift through life, slowly adding kilo after kilo. That was where I was at the end of last year.
So change was needed and that’s exactly what, as a family we did. Doing it together made a real difference and we encouraged and supported each other at every stage.
The overall weight loss was life changing, but so too was my mental health. Never underestimate how one thing can truly impact another and the significant changes that can be made by working hard.
Still plenty to do but I now have a body that wants more and a mind that needs to be challenged. While running wasn’t a natural progression for me, it was something that has grown on me and the more I do, the more I enjoy.
Stepping up to a start line always gives me butterfly’s, it’s the unknown that makes me nervous but in the same breath, it’s the challenge that awaits which gets me pumped. Crossing the finishing line is a buzz. It is what encourages me to step up to the next one, challenging myself to different and sometimes longer runs. This is how I have arrived at Tarawera, it’s my ultimate challenge I need to work towards.
Running 100kms feels to me like I’m venturing into the unknown. I have never run more than 30km before entering this race so I’m questioning how my body will cope and of course, what will be going through my head.
I’m a back of the pack runner at this stage in my running career so only have the one expectation and that’s to finish, so in preparation I have signed up for a couple of marathon trail distances between now and Christmas to put my body through its paces and make sure my training is on track.
I decided early on I need to engage with the experts so signed up to the SquadRun program which is giving me a great training structure.
I have also teamed up with an old friend, Heidi Fromm nee Alexander, a former world junior duathlon champion and now personal trainer, to help me with strength and conditioning for the race. Heidi has also completed the Tawawera Ultra twice in recent years so giving me some great guidance on nutrition for training and on the day.
I am confident I have the right people in my corner so it’s all up to me to make sure I reach my goals.