Living a healthy life is important to me, I like the way I feel when I’m able to move with ease and power. I like to be able to run or climb a flight of stairs without feeling winded. I like to be able to get up out of my chair without having to use my arms. I like being able to run and wrestle with my 18 year old son. I’m still able to finish in the front third of the field in any endurance event I enter. I’m still capable of racing a 500km adventure race over 7 days.
That’s my truth, and what I want to share with the world is how you can feel the same.
My journey began one day on the beach, we had recently relocated to the North Coast of Kwazulu Natal in South Africa. I was playing with my son who was 5 years old at the time. He wanted me to demonstrate a cartwheel. Now I was a gymnast in junior school and I’m proud of my cartwheeling skills. But what a shock, I ploughed face first into the sand, I thought my wrists were broken. The last time I’d tried to support my body weight with my hands I had been decidedly lighter.
At the age of 38 I stood 6 ft 4 in my socks and I weighed 118kg’s. I was able to rest my stomach on the table when I sat down to eat.
That cartwheel was my turning point. I wanted to be able to do a cartwheel with ease, I wanted to be able to climb a flight of stairs without being out of breath. I wanted to be able to show my grandchildren how to do cartwheels. Something had to change.
The very next day I started to walk, every morning, 6 days a week. My brother had given me a heart rate monitor for Christmas and instructions on how to use it. I had to keep my heart rate below 70%. It was so frustrating because I was in such bad shape that even the smallest incline pushed my heart rate above 70%. I was convince that the numbers didn’t apply to me but I kept at it. Every day for 20 minutes at 70% of my heart rate maximum. I had to stop a lot in the beginning to get my heart rate back under control but it gradually improved until I was only having to slow down on the steeper hills.
After 3 months of walking I was down to 104 kg’s and feeling so much better physically, I was sleeping better, making better eating choices and I’d cut down a lot on my beer intake. This all happened naturally without me specifically making adjustments. Slowly but surely my lifestyle was adjusting at what felt like a natural pace.
Flash forward 9 months and I was toeing the line for my first 21km road race. My weight was down to 98 kg’s and I was feeling good. I was playing squash for my local club, paddling my fishing kayak every weekend and I was finally able to take my shirt off on the beach without feeling self-conscious about my stomach. It all started by simply going for a walk.
It was then that I started to notice just how many people are overweight, unfit or just stressed out and a small spark was lit inside in me. I wanted to help other people to feel the difference that losing weight and feeling strong and vital can make to your life. The spark became a fire and the fire is ablaze in me. I want to take people by the hand and help them to live strong healthy lives. I will be a living example that getting older doesn’t mean you have to stop having a physical, active, healthy life.
That blaze inside me has finally found a home at Mindful Runner where we sell running and fitness. My focus has shifted from selling gear to training and coaching runners of all abilities.
The Mindful Runner will always be about the people we serve and trying to leave the world a little better each day.