I Ran It Off!
A sedentary student becomes a slim sénorita.
I hated the thought of getting healthy when I was growing up. I enjoyed swimming, but I ate whatever I wanted. When I moved to South Africa from Zimbabwe to study, I lived a typical student life: parties, late-night pies from the petrol station, and burger specials.
My sister invited me to swim the Midmar Mile with her, and because I’d enjoyed swimming at school I agreed. But I was in for a shock: that evening when I went to the pool to do my first training session, even two lengths left me feeling exhausted. My chest was on fire!
I persevered, and after a few weeks I felt comfortable in the water again. I had also lost 5kg. Motivated, I decided to take up running, thinking it would help me shed extra weight. At first I could barely jog 200 metres before my heart rate became elevated, and I felt nauseous. Again, I decided not to give up. I’ll never forget the sense of achievement I felt the day I ran around the block without stopping.
It wasn’t easy at first. My family all thought I’d give up and go back to my unhealthy lifestyle. The fact that I would decline social invitations because I had to be up early the next morning for a race irritated my friends. Healthy eating didn’t feel natural, and I had to make a point of avoiding the tempting aisles at the supermarket.
When I started running, I lost 3kg per month; later, a few more hundred grams would drop off every few weeks. Even though I didn’t have the initial support I wanted from friends and family, that didn’t stop me from achieving my goals, because I did it for me. I have pushed myself to achieve things I never thought possible. My proudest achievements are my first marathon and half Ironman triathlon. –