The Journey – Sarah Kelly

About 4 years ago as I was sitting on my lounge waiting to leave for my personal training session, I was thinking how unhappy I was about my body. I had never been comfortable with the way I looked so mid-session I decided to ask my trainer – how do I get rid of my “love handles”?? His answer was to start running!

So I did just that! I have a track near my house where there are some bridges which are great. At first I made myself run without stopping to each of them. I said to myself over and over if I stopped I would have to do it all over again until I could run the whole way. I look back now and I know I was probably a bit hard on myself but this mantra actually worked for me. It has built me up to become un-stoppable and helps to keep me focused 100% on whatever goal I am working towards.

It had been a good 6 months and I had started to love the post run feeling so I decided that I would train for our local fun run which is the City to Bay (12km). I joined a running group with one of my best friends. I was so afraid that I would be the last one and everyone would have to “wait” for me that I started training even before the group was meant to start.

I fell even more in love with running and I was so motivated. My body was changing, my confidence was growing and I could feel myself becoming fitter which is definitely one feeling that I totally recommend!! 😉 My training was going very well and I wasn’t the last person to finish, in fact to my surprise, I was near the front runners which gave me even more confidence and motivation.

 

The City to Bay was only about 2 months away when I got very bad shin splints in both legs, both were actually borderline stress fractures. I couldn’t run for 6 weeks. It was the LONGEST 6 weeks of my life! But I never gave up. I mixed up my training with my PT sessions and I got onto the bike for some cardio to help keep my fitness level up. I wish I could say the 6 weeks flew by but they definitely didn’t! However those 6 weeks did help me to realise that I need to listen to my body when it’s trying to tell me something… like resting! Who knew?! Lesson learnt.

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I finally recovered from my shin splints and ran in my first fun run. I managed to finish the 12km in under an hour (58mins) I was so stoked and it fueled me to want to run even more. I had caught the running bug! Now what was my next goal, I asked myself…

I went onto the SA road runner’s website and in no time at all, I saw it! A half marathon! It was about 7 months away. I knew deep down I had it in me so I registered. For the next 7 months I threw myself into training, loving the new challenge and realising that I was actually ok at running. Had I found my passion?? Most definitely!

It was the day of my very first half marathon, I was soooo nervous and I think I went to the toilet about 10 times. Standing at the start line with everyone else was one of those feelings that I will never forget, the atmosphere was like nothing I’d ever experienced. The gun sounded and off we went. I can remember actually seeing a couple of my friends on the side lines throughout the course, their support meant so much to me and this pumped me up even more. As I reached the 18km mark surprisingly, I still had some left in the tank so I just went for it. I finished with a time of 1:44:09. I was so proud of myself!!

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As a week went by I started to feel a little lost as I didn’t have another goal to train for. A friend had asked me if I thought I could run a marathon. “It’s only another half” she says 😉 At the time I said no way! But the more I thought about it, I thought why the hell not! You are the fittest you have ever been so why not try it while you’re at your peak. Yep, you guessed it, I did just that. I started marathon training! A few years ago I never would have thought I would say those words.

My training actually went really well, if it was bad weather I would get onto the treadmill. There were never any excuses for me. I once had a long run to do and the weather was terrible so I got onto the treadmill for 3 and a half hours (35km) I know call me crazy but I love running so much and will do anything to get it done.

Before I knew it my marathon day was here. I was even more nervous this time, I think I went to the toilet about 50 times! I started well but I went a little too fast too soon so by the time I got to the 30km mark I was slowing down. I kept saying to myself just keep running and you will be finished in no time. Just keep running. At the 40km mark I had the 4 hour pacer run up behind me and say “come on love, you are nearly there”.. and that’s all I needed for that last push! Thanks to that lovely man I finished in under 4 hours. It’s funny how even the smallest encouragement can make such a difference to your mindset in that state.

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From then on I have kept running all distances, even travelling interstate to complete half marathons and marathons. It’s been one hell of a ride but I have loved it and never regretted any of it even for a second.

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I have now taken my training up a notch by registering for a half Iron man and I’ve been working hard swimming, riding and running. Again I’m loving the challenge and I can’t wait to become a half iron man finisher!

All of this lead me into the health and fitness industry, and as I loved it so much I took the plunge and became a personal trainer 1.5 years ago. It’s been one of the best things I’ve ever done! I’ve met so many amazing people and have made some lifelong friends.

Set a goal, whatever it might be and do everything you can to achieve it – it’s honestly one of the best feelings in the world!

Sarah xx

@running_addict