I saw Nyree’s profile on one of the Facebook pages that I follow and I was instantly inspired by her determination and her accomplishments in living a healthy lifestyle. I knew she just HAD to be a part of my Runners Inspiring Runners series.
SWIR: When did you decide to make healthy changes in your lifestyle?
Nyree – In March 2013, I had surgery to remove my gallbladder and instead of letting that scare me into being healthier, I ate everything I hadn’t been able to eat the previous 3 months and ballooned. I jumped on the scales one day and realized I was almost back to my heaviest weight ever and I knew I needed to stop the backslide ASAP or I’d end up dead. I lost my job at the end of April and all of a sudden I had no excuses not to use my time wisely. The next week I was signed up to the 12 Week Body Transformation (12WBT) program, after some nudging by a dear friend of mine.
SWIR: When did you start running and why? Did someone or something inspire you, if so what or who?
Nyree – I started running in May 2013 weighing in at a dainty 146kg. I signed up to the 12WBT and chose the Learn to Run exercise program. It was partly out of wanting to be able to run and partly out of wanting to be able to exercise at my own time and my own pace. I liked the fact that I didn’t have to deal with a timetable…I could run whenever I wanted at my 24 hour gym.
SWIR: Tell me about your first race. How did you feel after you crossed the finish line?
Nyree – I did my first ParkRun in November 2013 and while it’s technically not a race, I try and beat my time every week so to me it is a race. (We don’t have a lot of events where I live!) That first week I was shitting myself – even just turning up took all of my strength. I came second last (in front of a 65+ year old walker) but I was so proud of myself I cried to the point of hyperventilating. I was just thrilled that I’d conquered the fear of showing up and had made it.
SWIR: Is there a particular distance that you are aiming for or have you found your favorite distance and are sticking do it?
Nyree – As much as it makes me feel sick to my stomach, I’m training for the Brisbane Marathon in August 2014. I have always wanted to run a marathon – I have no idea why – but it’s something I’ve always wanted to tick off my bucket list. I am following a training plan and will do some shorter events in the lead up (a 14km and a half marathon). I read somewhere that if your goals didn’t terrify you, they weren’t good enough for you. Well, I’m officially terrified.
SWIR: Do you cross train? If so, what else do you do and how often? Do you switch it up if you’re training for a specific race?
Nyree – I am starting to incorporate some strength training into my routine – I do 3 runs and 3 weight/strength training sessions a week (mostly body weight at this point eg push ups, lunges etc). If I’m sore, I’ll do some swimming or go for a light walk. I try and do active stuff during my down time as well – I’ll go for a wander on the beach or get stuck into the garden…secret exercise is the best.
SWIR: What about nutrition? Did that change when you started running?
Nyree – I started out on a 1200 calorie diet and while it worked in terms of weight loss, I just didn’t have enough energy. That number is so arbitrary. I eventually went Paleo which has just been fantastic in terms of weight loss and energy and making me less obsessive. It has changed my body completely and my relationship with food. As an emotional eater, it’s been lovely to cut the emotional ties with food.
SWIR: What’s the most challenging part of running?
Nyree – Dealing with my mind, particularly in the early stages of any run. I’m close to the car, my knee hurts, I’m tired, it’s hot and my brain says “come on…let’s just go back to the car and you can run later.” Getting past that mental block is the biggest hurdle for me. Luckily I am stubborn.
SWIR: How do you get through the really tough runs when you can’t find your motivation or your body just isn’t cooperating?
Nyree – I use the “just run to the next light post/tree/bin” method. There’s only been one time when I actually stopped at the next landmark and I had to accept that I was exhausted, my body needed rest and I’d done the right thing.
SWIR: Do you train with groups or by yourself?
Nyree – I am a solo runner.The idea of running with another person just doesn’t work for me. If I want to have a conversation with somebody, I’ll have a coffee with them. My run is my time to tune out and just be alone.
SWIR: Have you ever bonked during a race or a training run? If so, how did you get through it?
Nyree – (Hahaha here in Australia, to bonk is to have sex so no I’ve never managed that during a run. 🙂 ) I hit the wall a few weeks ago during a 7km training run. I’d woken up late, I just couldn’t be bothered, it was so, so humid, I didn’t take any water with me, I’d eaten rubbish the night before and at the 5.5km mark I just fell apart. I even had the thought at that stage that “maybe we don’t like running.” Luckily for me that thought annoyed me so much that I decided I would crawl home before I would stop and I managed to make it. It’s that stubborn streak.
SWIR: What nutrition do you use during your runs?
Nyree – Nothing yet – my runs aren’t long enough at this stage but in the next couple of weeks my mileage will increase to a point where I’ll need to start carrying something. I’m thinking gels are probably the best bet for me.
SWIR: What’s your typical pre-race meal?
Nyree – I run early morning so the night before I have a steak with mushrooms and a big side salad.
SWIR: What’s your favorite post-race meal?
Nyree – Scrambled eggs with sundried tomatoes, feta cheese and sweet potato.
SWIR: Do you listen to music when you run? If so, what’s your go to song or songs?
Nyree – Yes! I broke my headphones the other day and had to listen to myself breathe on my run the other day and that drove me mental. “Get Lucky” by Daft Punk is my current favourite song for running but I have a really eclectic mix of music that gets me going. I like the Running Trax mixes by the Ministry of Sound too.
SWIR: What is your most favorite piece of running gear?
Nyree – I love my running belt. I hate carrying things while I run so being able to stash stuff somewhere safe has been the best thing ever.
SWIR: How has running changed your life?
Nyree – How hasn’t it changed my life! I am a different person because of running. It’s made me understand the power of my mind – my legs will do what they are told and as long as I tell them to keep going, they will. It’s also made me realize that it’s OK to be scared or intimidated or way outside my comfort zone – that’s where growth happens. And I am worth the effort of getting out of bed and doing something good for myself. Those lessons have all translated really well into my life outside of running and changed how I see the world and my place in it.
SWIR: What advice would you give to a first time runner?
Nyree – Don’t compare yourself to anyone else! You may not run as fast as that other person, but you’re running! Go at your own pace and improve against your own performance, not someone else’s. I come last every week at ParkRun: if I took that as my only measure of success or failure, I’d quit. The fact that I get faster every week is the only measure of success that matters.
SWIR: What’s the funniest thing that has ever happened to you during a run?
Nyree – I got stalked by a family of plovers that had just nested on the side of my favourite running track. I was trying to scare them away and so I’d run 2 steps and then do this weird star jump type movement. It seemed to aggravate them further. I must have looked like a complete lunatic.
SWIR: What has been the most memorable moment to date in terms of running?
Nyree – The day I ran for 30 minutes non-stop on the treadmill was amazing. Up until then I’d only run for 15 minutes maximum and on this day I decided I was going to run for 30 even if it killed me. It almost killed me but once I’d run that 30 minutes, I promptly burst into tears at having achieved something I’d actually set my mind to. I knew then I was unstoppable. It was all in my head.
SWIR: What did you accomplish that you thought was never possible?
Nyree – Running in public. I was always so ashamed of my body and how big I’d gotten and I thought everyone would stare at me and laugh because the fat girl was trying to run. I found for the most part the opposite was true. Once I got out of the gym and into the open air, people were so encouraging and friendly. And I was proud of the fact that despite my size, I was doing it. I was running. That was huge for me.
SWIR: If there came a day when you couldn’t run anymore, what would you do?
Nyree – I assume one day my knees will pack it in and running won’t be enjoyable anymore but I hope I will still be able to get out into the fresh air and do some exercise, even if it’s just a walk. I enjoy the solitude.
SWIR: What drives you to do what you do?
Nyree – Self-improvement and achievement. I see how running has changed the way I live my life and how I feel about myself and I want to keep going. I want to get faster and push this body further than it’s been pushed before. I want to know what it’s like to hold a medal for finishing a race.
SWIR: If there was one thing that you would want the world to know about you what would that be?
Nyree – I am stronger, fitter and faster than I look. 🙂
I’d like to thank Nyree for taking the time for this interview. And I’d like to thank for teaching me that “Bonking” does not mean the same all over the world! LOL! Good to know!
I wish her much success on her quest to complete the Brisbane Marathon in August 2014. You’ve got this Nyree!
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