I am a runner. Yes folks, it’s true. I, Lillytootin Toots, has  learnt to love to run. To love the feeling of my chest wanting to explode in pain as I gasp for breath on a country road. To love  that the pain in my shoulder is actually my diaphragm cramping due to some jolly good  cardio work. To love the feeling of a summer rain on my face whilst splashing through muddy puddles,  listening to the leg pumping tunes of the Black Keys. I,  good people, am running proof that Miracles CAN happen.

To me long distance runners have always been an elite people.They are a people who do something I would LOVE to do and thought that I never could. To me they are the Super Human. They are a  show of phenomenal  endurance, discipline and will power. Did you know that  only 1% of the world can claim they have run a Marathon ? (well so says the Internets). Whilst I have always pish poshed  runners and called them crazy,I have secretly admired them as I’ve driven by them, scoffing down a pie  and spitting half  chewed pastry onto my generous thigh, guffawing at their obvious insanity.They are a  people whom I have viewed as having some kind of super power gene that I missed out on because my parents were hippies( bloody hippies).

Just over 2 1/2 yrs ago I was an epic size of Fatty McFat Fat. I had 2 young children and a New Born . I was in  constant conflict with my  ex husband due to his unfortunate disorder of  ‘Emotional Intelligence Amoebe-itis’. I was stuck in small town New Zealand when I desperately wanted be living in a city that could offer some decent opportunities. Life was feeling spack and I needed to make a change. I decided to haul my mega ass to some Les Mills classes and let the transformation begin.It was great and I quickly settled into a regular exercise routine that worked in well with my  parenting lifestyle.  About 3 months into it I woke up one morning and something very strange  inside me was  dying to get out. I donned my track pants and t-shirt, grabbed my rock laden  MP3 player and jumped into the car. I drove out towards the beach and found myself standing on a sand dusted road. I was about to do something CRAZY. Something sooo out of this world, I couldn’t even THINK about it in fear I would wake up heartbroken that this was not real. Like the time I woke up having dreamed I was married to Johnny Depp circa 21  Jump Street. A disappointment I have never fully recovered  from. After a brisk walk for a few hundred meters it happened. I picked up my pace and found myself going through the physiological motions of running. It was insane! I.  Was.  RUNNING!. Me. Fatty McFat Fat. Doing something that only amazing people could do. I could not believe it. I dared not make any sudden movements or even make eye contact with myself in fear I would break the spell. I just focussed on the gutsy voice of  Dan Auerbach  and pushed on. I had a plan in my head of where I might  run to before I quietly curled up and  died on the side of the road from a heart attack and/or just the  sheer shock of it all. I achieved my route and then some. That day I ran 3 km. I ran the whole way at a slow steady pace. Never in my life had I ran that far.  I was so stoked. I  had NEVER felt as good about myself as I did that day. And not again until I ran 5 km for the first time. Then the first time I ran 10 km. The runners high is a true story. A high like no other ( and I may…or may not have had a few highs in my life.It’s the Hippy Parent thing) A physical and emotional  high that pumps pure goodness and achievement through your  body. For 2 years I have loved running. I  particularly enjoy trail running as it engages my brain a bit  more than road running. You have to look at where you feet are going and think constantly about where they  are being placed. Using your whole body to balance. The terrain varies and the scenery offers a much-needed escape from the day-to-day drudgery of small town  Motherhood. Road running and trail running  are  definitely  different. It’s a bit like driving a manual compared to driving an automatic. I’ve always preferred a manual. There is nothing wrong with running on a road though. It’s all running and it’s allll good.  I am no longer fearful of people seeing me run. All my jiggly bits that I can’t strap down with multiple bras and tight lycra clothing. Who cares what they think.  There may be plenty of me but I’m running !!!That in itself is worth a good gawp.  So lap it up peoples! Now I am the proud owner of more cellulite accentuating shiny shiny running pants than Zsa Zsa Gabore has had husbands…and I LOVE them.

 Over time I made some running buddies. A couple of girlfriends whom were pretty fresh to this whole running thing. We are all music lovers and crank up our tunes and find a good trail to thrash out  our frustrations on.  I still enjoy a solo run too. I  find I am more competitive with myself than I am with other people. Strangely I push myself harder when I run solo. However I enjoy the company and camaraderie of having a running buddy.Setting goals and sharing the highs and lows of the whole running yolk. Sometimes one can make unexpected friends whilst out on a track. I had been running a fantastic mountain biking track and thought I was totally alone. So I just went for it. Singing  ‘ Barton Hollow’ by The Civil Wars like nobody was listening. As I took a hairpin bend with my arms stretched out like an Airplane , I saw him. A delicious looking mountain biker, unable to pass due to the narrow track ( and perhaps my abounding posterior) He was clearly  chuckling at my child like shenanigans. God only knows how long he had been on my ample tail. A small part of me died that day. I have no doubt however, that a small part of him fell in  love with  my singing, jiggling goodness .I could see it in his sniggering sunglass clad face.

My proudest achievement so far has been  running a 10 km event with my 2 running buddies.Wearing a  moustache. In doing this we raised $2330.00 for Prostate Cancer research.  It was a HOT day and most of it was uphill. In fact even the down hill was up hill. It was one of the hardest things I have ever done physically…perhaps even harder than natural childbirth…but I made it. Just. I came  in third to last for my age group and was possibly the proudest contestant there.  It was my first taste of event running and I was on a high for weeks afterwards. We had a ball and will certainly do it again.  The support we received blew us away. I think people pledged money because they didn’t actually think I would do it and therefore felt confidant they  would not actually have to part with their moneys. Huh! We showed them whilst cheating a slow painful death by a very fine line. I just couldn’t even believe I had dome something like this. It was an amazing moment to be pulled up in front of one thousand other runners and walkers  by the sponsors and be cheered on for our fundraising  running efforts. Shucks.Actual real live runners were clapping for ME and MY running efforts. A proud day for me and the girls. I would NEVER have dreamed this would be possible in a million years. I would LOVE to run a Marathon one day. Naturally one would start with a Half Marathon. It takes a lot of time in training. I have in the past attempted to train for one and found it hard being a Solo working Mum, to get the time in. I know that as the boys get older it will be easier to do. I have every intention of running the Jamaican ‘Reggae’ Marathon one day. If I don’t get enough training in beforehand… I will go anyway and just run the 5 km. Any excuse to go to Jamaica. I am confidant that if I ran directly behind a delightful 20 something year old Jamaican chap…I could probably achieve something akin to that of an Ultra Marathon.

All in all , running has changed my life.  My mind is more focussed and I am emotionally stronger. I am  more often than not  able to remain un-phased by trivial nonsense. I have  slowly lost 20 kgs for no other reason than  regular exercise. I eat what ever I like.. though with fitness I have found that I crave healthier foods. Don’t get me wrong. I still regularly enjoy a good hearty Mince and Cheese pie. I am , after all, a good kiwi lass.  My journey has inspired others around me to give running  a nudge. Not surprising. If I can do it….ANYONE can do it.  Apparently this running yolk is contagious and long may that last.. We just have to decide to do it.  The rest is easy.

For anyone that has thought about it and is not sure where to start…check out this website. It works.

And for those of you who would like to see our Mo-Vember charity run highlights…check this out. Was the best day ever!

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