Sally-Anne Blan­shard, 38

Sunday Territorian - - SUNDAY -

N ine months af­ter hav­ing my first baby, I was still feel­ing blurgh, so I pulled on my big­gest pants and went along to a boot camp at my lo­cal oval. I got chat­ting to an­other mum, Rachael Tay­lor, and we had such fun, I kept go­ing.

I won­dered why Rachael was there as she seemed so fit, then she in­vited me to her home on a play date for our kids and I dis­cov­ered why: she was an elite rower and had won sil­ver at the Syd­ney Olympics.

I’m a real mum with a real body, but when Rachael sug­gested com­ing over to her place to do train­ing cir­cuits to­gether I agreed. I was in it for the ocean views from her gar­den as much as any­thing!

She’d pre­pared a list: we did 20 burpees, straight into 20 moun­tain climbers, then 20 push-ups into 20 some­thing-elses. It made boot camp look easy! I was nearly sick.

How­ever, I’m a busi­ness coach and I know that you get back what you put in, so I kept train­ing with her. We even went hill-run­ning, al­though Rachael al­ways in­sisted on bolt­ing up them while I’d have pre­ferred to sprint in the other di­rec­tion.

As I got to know Rachael, I dis­cov­ered her fo­cus and de­ter­mi­na­tion and it rubbed off on me. I’d al­ways been on some diet and made ex­cuses, but she taught me about be­ing com­mit­ted and con­sis­tent. “I don’t feel like train­ing,” I’d say, and she’d re­ply, “Nei­ther do I, but let’s do it any­way.”

When I moved to Bris­bane and Rachael moved to WA, I had to look for new in­spi­ra­tion. “Why don’t you do a marathon?” Rachael said, but that looked too hard, so I set a goal of com­plet­ing 40 fun runs by the time I turned 40. Rachael en­cour­aged me along the way, cel­e­brat­ing each new per­sonal best. I’m now down to 36 min­utes for 5km, and I’m go­ing to smash my goal a year ahead of sched­ule.

It’s re­ally nice to have Rachael al­ways en­cour­ag­ing me and say­ing things like, “I reckon your next run will be a half marathon”, and you know what? I’m go­ing to run a half marathon.

I now have two chil­dren and I’ve never been fit­ter, faster, leaner or stronger. Rachael has taught me that all we can be is the best ver­sion of our­selves and that’s what I am. Best of all, it’s rubbed off on my kids, too.

Olympian Rachael Tay­lor (left) turned Sally-Anne Blan­shard (right) from ex­er­cise shy to fit­ness fan

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