This isn't a story about weight loss, or how to lose weight. Or how I lost weight. (If you're here for that, check out this story about weight loss injectables I published a month ago.)
This is a story about determination and stubbornness.
I know most women, especially mothers, clocking in at over 100 kilos wouldn't immediately think to run a half-marathon. Hell, most sane people don't think that running 21.0975 kilometres is a fun way to spend some spare time.
But there was something in me in May this year that lit a fire that I just couldn't seem to extinguish.
So I started a training plan supplied by the good people at the Dubbo stampede and I committed to it.
Now seems a good time to say that I am a terrible runner. No, seriously. Most people can shuffle quicker than I can run. (For the actual runners out there, my starting kilometres were about eight and a half minutes).
But for some reason, I get inexplicable joy from completing a run.
It could have something to do with the one or two uninterrupted hours with my podcasts, unheard of for any mother of toddlers.
Or the feeling of physical exhaustion from knowing you pushed your body to its limits.
But I started to look forward to my long Sunday runs. Peaking at 18 kilometres before the race.
During training, I got to know my little town very well, and I found parts I didn't even know existed, which was exciting.
And every week I laced up and got out there and amazed myself a little bit.
On Sunday, I ran the Dubbo Stampede Zebra Zoom (half-marathon), something I have been talking about since at least 2018 (aka pre-kids.) And I completed it.
It wasn't pretty and it certainly wasn't fast. But I got that joy from completing the run AND someone handed me a medal at the end.
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It seems I wasn't the only one with the feeling of joy when I crossed the finish line.
Rhino Ramble winner Lucy Kauter told ACM the satisfaction of completing the 42.2km race is what makes her love it.
"The mental challenge and being able to prove to yourself you can do it and you're capable of hard things," she said.
It's a fantastic event, and a great one to have in our own backyard. I was one of over 1500 runners this year. A sensational feat by organisers.
Dubbo Stampede vice president Katie Lyons told ACM she was pleased to see so many at the event, including to see so many people who travelled.
"We're nearly up to pre-COVID numbers again, we've had 1,530 entries this year across the five events which is fantastic," she said.
"We get our regulars who come every year and have done all of the Stampedes from 2012 when we first started and then we get a heap of new entrants every year who travel from all around Australia to be here.
"It's a very popular event on the running calendar and the Western Plains Zoo is a really special place to hold an event like this."
According to Ms Lyons this was the first time in four years the stampede was on it's original track.
"This is the first time in four years we have been able to get back to the traditional track," she said.
"It's been absolutely fantastic."
I know for certain I won't be signing up for the full marathon next year, but I might surprise myself again and try for the Zebra Zoom.
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