My 11.78km Journey

Its not often I blog about my personal battles, in fact other than taking the piss out of the Australian Embassy, I don’t think I’ve ever blogged about a personal battle so please indulge me.

On the 12th October 2013 I ran my first 10km race (which isn’t 10kms by the by, it was 11.78kms) It took me 1h34m – not the fastest time in the world, but I was under strict instructions to take it easy! I still can’t believe I did it… This is my 11.78km journey.

In 2005 I injured my back really badly by kicking out a tree in the garden – the logic at the time was that it was safer to sit down and kick it out the ground than it was to pull it out the ground, because pulling it would mean that I’d injure my back… Go figure! My L4 and L5 vertebrate were injured, so badly that when I stood up straight my right shoulder was in line with my left hip! If you tried to “straighten” me, my legs would give way underneath me and I would come tumbling down. I was booked off work for 2 weeks and told not to drive for 6 weeks (the longest 6 weeks of my life). My routine for 2 weeks was a staple diet of painkillers and anti-inflammatories and physio every 2 days for a minimum of 45 mins, sometimes 1h30m at a time… I have never in my life experienced such pain (I would take child birth over that pain ANY DAY), the constant pain was unbearable.

Thousands of hard earn rands was spent at the physio, the biokenetisist and the pharmacy. Endless hours half-heartedly doing the exercises shown to me. It took 5 years before I actually started having pain free days, which turned into weeks and later turned into months (and now years)

During this time the thought of doing exercises of any kind was unthinkable, I mean I had a back injury how could I do anything right? And so started the vicious circle, the weight started piling on, this added strain to my lower back, which resulted in pain and more physio. I know most of the physios that have been through the practice. I turned to food as my comfort, and drink (it helped numb the pain). I was never an alcoholic, but I could almost drink a sailor under the table. At my heaviest, or close to it, I hit the 140kg mark (I stopped weighing myself after I saw that figure). I could only shop in stores like Donna Claire, and even then size 46 was sometimes not fitting well and I refused to go bigger! I got a nickname in our family of Hippo, one I laugh at now, especially when I get a hippo fluffy or something hippo related, but at the time it was an apt nickname.

In 2010 I decided to go Bikram Yoga, it was the only form of exercise I could do at my weight and that didn’t hurt my back. Suddenly I started having pain free days it was awesome, I could move. I could do the simplest of things like putting on a pair of pants without having to do a skilful juggling act and sit down. I also started losing weight, not a lot but it started. In 2011 when I fell pregnant with Ladybug, my biggest concern was that I wasn’t going to be able to carry her because of my back so I stopped yoga and did nothing, but my back behaved during my pregnancy, and I continued to lose weight. Infact at 42 1/2 weeks pregnant, I was 2kgs lighter than I was when I fell pregnant!

May this year, something kicked me up the ass and I decided that I wanted to get serious about this weight loss thing, and actually be fit enough to run around the garden with Ladybug without dying and grabbing my chest in pain. So I joined a gym – not a really gym gym, but it was more exercise than I had done since 2011. I then started walking with Ladybug in her Pram, and suddenly it was gym 3 times a week for 30mins at a time and 5km walk on a weekend, and we both enjoyed it. My times started at 2hours, then slowly they came down. My turning point was when I pushed Ladybug through the streets of Hillbrow on a Saturday morning in our first #movejozi experience. I discovered why Hillbrow was called HILLbrow. It was insane. I hit a wall; I thought I was going to die! But I pushed through it and I’m glad I did, because that was when everything changed!

The next #movejozi was a night run, I decided to leave Ladybug at home. I also decided to run this leg. I did well, 7km in 46mins, don’t ask me how I did that, I just did. I felt good, it felt so easy and it was only then that I realised just how heavy pushing 11kgs of Ladybug (plus a few extra kgs for the pram) was…. Then, I did something insane and entered the 10km run, I entered before doing anything more than 5kms of walking. I then started running in the evenings from home in order to train for the 10km, and I started enjoying it. Each run got a little quicker and I ran a little further. Then it was 7,5kms in under an hour with the start of shin splints, as a result of doing too much too soon – but a pain I am proud of. Today, I have run 71,2km in a little over a month… yes RUN that!

On Saturday the 12th October 2013 I ran the 11,78km a different person. I ran it over 50kgs lighter than I was at my heaviest (that’s a WHOLE person). I ran it in a large t-shirt, not an XL or XXXL, it was an L. I ran it without my lungs burning. I ran it without dying. I ran it with my legs paining from shin splints. I ran it grimacing through the tough parts. I walked allot and got passed by thousands of people, but I didn’t come last! The toughest part of the run? It was leaving Ladybug at home knowing she wasn’t 100% well!

This is only the start of my journey, there is still far more to come, far more waiting out there for me to achieve. Now my insane bucket list doesn’t seem so insane, it seems do-able and Im starting to put deadlines to the list!



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