Our application process for our ambassador program really showed us our true reach of Run Like a Girl… meet Rhiannon, all the way from Australia!
I haven’t always been an ultra runner, in fact for many years I never really even liked running. I would do a few kilometres here and there, mainly because I thought it was the right thing to do to get/stay fit, but I never enjoyed it and couldn’t imagine running longer distances.
I remember having a bet with my husband about 7 years ago that I would beat him in a 10km race. I had never actually seen him run before so I was feeling quietly confident, but he smashed me and I was left barely being able to walk for the next few days. That quickly cured any desire to want to run longer distances!!
Then along came the time to try and fall pregnant and all the issues that came with that. Once my daughter Ruby was finally conceived and born in 2011, I took more time off and a few years went by. I would resolve to get back into running for fitness, go for a few small runs in a week and then give up. Quite simply, life (and excuses!) got in the way.
2013 was one of the worst years for me, physically and mentally. I was so sick with multiple different issues – I had 4 surgeries in 5 months including 2 emergency surgeries; had almost 90 days off work over the year, and numerous other health setbacks. Towards the end of 2013, I realised I needed to make some major changes in my life, including my diet and fitness. I was already gluten intolerant for years and then had to remove a number of things from my diet due to my endometriosis, so I made the decision to transition to a Paleo lifestyle. I also joined an amazing boot camp and got my fitness and passion for exercise back.
April 2014 was the turning point for my running journey and it’s been a whirlwind experience since then. I had linked in with an amazing online running mums community and it was such an amazing, inspirational, influential group. With their encouragement, I decided to sign up for a 10km race to push myself out of my comfort zone. The last time I had run 10km was well before Ruby was born, much younger and fitter than I was then. But I did it, and it felt great!!! And just like that, something inside me was ignited. I loved the feeling of achieving something that I had previously felt to be impossible and I was already setting my sights on the next goal.
I signed up for another 10km a few months later to try and beat my time, and I did by almost 5 minutes.After just getting back into running and achieving 10km, I then read a post about someone achieving their first half marathon after never running before and I thought “damn if they could do that, then maybe I could too??” and then the same thing happened to motivate me to run a full marathon in 2015. One of my beautiful crew besties was the one that introduced me to the world of ultra trail marathons in 2015 also.
I have continued to battle numerous injuries over the last few years, but each time I learn something new about myself (quite often what NOT to do next time!) and in that time have completed 2x 50km ultra trail marathons and attempted my first 100km ultra. Unfortunately I experienced my first DNF with that race in 2016, but it has not deterred me from the sport or the journey.
My goals for 2017 are to successfully finish 100km at Ultra Trail Australia in the Blue Mountains in May, and to successfully complete Coastal High 50km trail race UNINJURED in September in the Gold Coast hinterland. The last 2 times I have run that race I have been injured and so this year will be the time to put all my previous training and past mistakes into practice to remain injury-free.
I don’t really have any specific famous influences, as my biggest inspirations are the real people in my every day life that achieve amazing things. When I started running longer distances and posting them on my personal FB page, I would have friends comment that I was inspiring them and that confused me as I was definitely no inspiration. But more people would comment on my progress and journey and it got me thinking about whether I could write about my experiences for a wider community to read. I am not an elite runner; I am not even a fast runner. But I am a real runner – I juggle motherhood, full time work, a business, my family and my training, trying to keep all the pieces working in harmony together. And so my blog Real Girl Runner was born in early 2016.
In addition to my blog, my daughter’s online persona Ruby Pink Cat has also developed and truth be told, she is more popular on my blog then I am lol in her words “I am more famouser than you mummy!”
My ultimate goal is to be the best inspiration and role model for Ruby that I can. Right now we wear matching clothes and complete races together, and I want her to grow up believing in herself, thinking that an active lifestyle is normal and embrace that for herself as she gets older. I don’t know when the matchy matchy phase will end, so until then I am milking it for all that it’s worth! Lol
I feel very honoured to have been selected as one of the ambassadors for Run Like A Girl in 2017, and it is not something that I will take lightly. I have read numerous posts on their page and been inspired by the amazing women across the world, and I hope that I may have the same impact to someone else out there.
You don’t have to be fast or “elite” or even win any races. You just need to put your heart and soul into whatever it is you decide to do, and give it your all. And even in the moments where you might be doubting yourself or struggling, just remember that you don’t know who might be watching you at that very moment, thinking that you’re amazing for what you’re doing x