I just ran a half marathon and can’t believe it!

Who would have thought that three years ago I would be here?!
Written by Lisa Donnet – Client of Healthy Balance Fitness since 2007

Lisa was kind enough to share her recent experience in the St.George Melbourne Marathon Fun Run – 21.1km event…


Lisa Donnet runs her first half marathon - Healthy Balance FitnessUnhappy, Self-conscious, Lacking Self-esteem & Single Forever?
When I got the flyer in the mail in 2007 I felt butterflies in my stomach – this was something that I had wanted to do for a while.  Boot camp. I had previously been a gym goer and had been quite fit but when I moved away from the gym I had been going to, I let myself go.  I’m not quite sure how or why it happened but gradually over time and without really noticing I found myself at a weight that I didn’t think was me. I was unhappy, self-conscious, lacking in self esteem and sure that I would never meet anyone and would be single for the rest of my life!  The flyer in the mail was the turning point in my life from that moment until now.

Turning point – 11kgs lost in 12 months
I was incredibly nervous about boot camp because I’m naturally a cautious person and am often nervous about trying new things. But I absolutely loved it! I did two mornings a week of boxing and found that I was getting fitter, leaner and more confident in myself – which helped in every aspect of my life.  It soon became my new favourite thing because I loved the variety that it offered and it helped to tone me even more. I was doing four sessions of boot camp a week and I felt amazing. Without noticing, I had lost 11kgs in just over a year. I had blossomed as a person. I was confident and happy. I even met an incredible boy who I really liked and who amazingly really liked me. I know for a fact that without that flyer, the trainers, the classes and the fun people, none of this would have happened how and when it did.

The Running Bug Begins
Running was something that I had always wanted to do so when I felt that I needed more variety I joined Wednesday running group. And I found that I loved these classes as well! It was in the lead up to the ‘09 St George Melbourne Marathon and I wanted to run 10km. With the four sessions of boot camp/running group and the two extra runs as part of the 10km training, I was doing six sessions of exercise a week and was in the best shape I’ve ever been in my life! Mum, Dad, Pete and one of my brothers came and watched me cross the finish line at the ‘G and it was one of the best feelings ever. I couldn’t believe that I had made it that far!

Setback created a new fire
I did a 10km run at Run Melbourne in July this year and had an absolutely shocking run! I walked a lot of the way, felt like vomiting at one point and spent a fair bit of time wanting to cry! But I think that was another turning point and it re-lit my fire. It was then I decided that I wanted to do a 21km run at the St George Melbourne Marathon in October. I felt that while 10km was great, I really wanted to push myself and do something that I felt I could really be proud of. I did my training and signed up for both Monday and Wednesday classes and tried my best. I was serious about running 21km, and for that you definitely need to train.

(Editor’s note: Lisa followed the training program, attended her classes, and committed to a healthy balanced lifestyle for the 9 weeks leading up to the event.  It was not 100% flawless, but a great preparation and dedication to healthy living)

Pre-race nerves set in
My last two long training runs were terrible and on the 18km one I ended up walking most of the last 9km (and then some) to get home.  My body was in pain, I felt sick and dizzy and my worst enemy of all – my mind – was against me. I wanted to cry. How was I possibly going to do 21?

In the week leading up to the race (and after my last abysmal long run) I was so paranoid about hydrating, eating the right things and getting enough sleep and I felt like I was failing in all instances.  So I fretted and worried.

It all came together on the day
But on the day it worked out perfectly. I felt nervous and excited and I couldn’t wait to get started – partly so it could be over with and partly so that I would sleep through the night without having weird dreams about late buses, obstacles that I had to run around and crocodiles on the track!  I told everyone that I hoped to get under 2 hours 30mins but was secretly hoping to do it in less than 2 hours 15mins. Well, I ran over the finish line at 2:12:57 and I am so incredibly happy and proud!

A new life thanks to exercise
Jodie, Steve, Michael, Emma, Amanda and Reggie and the incredibly friendly and happy people in each class have helped me to get to where I am now. I’m 11kgs lighter than when I started my first boxing class, I’m more confident and I want to get out there and try new things. I want to take all of the chances I can to exercise and I’m a LOT happier.

I’ve run a half marathon – 21.1kms. It’s only just sinking in now, the day after, what I actually achieved. I ran for 21.1km’s. Sure, there were over 9000 other people who did the same thing, many of whom were much faster and fitter than I was. Sure, there were people (even from the marathon) who were running past my comparative shuffle of a run in the last 2km’s. But I did it. And I wasn’t the fastest or the best, I was just me. In spite of my worries, fears and anxieties, I did what I set out to do and achieved something that I really wanted. And it feels incredible!