I Ran It Off!

A se­den­tary stu­dent be­comes a slim sénorita.

Runner's World South Africa - - Contents - AS TOLD TO LISA ABDELLAH

The Wake-Up

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!

The Shake-Up

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.

The Re­ward

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. –

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