We kick off this year by featuring another athlete’s journey which is nothing short of amazing. Her transformation proves that dedication and strong will can bring you where you want to be. Here is Heidi Swallow’s (@bypassed_beauty) story.
I am the cliche "fat kid". I have been overweight since I was 5 years old and morbidly obese since my late teens. I’ve battled with weight issues my entire life yet despite my weight, I’ve always been competitive and fit for my size. I love dancing, running and competitive team sports.
During my first and only pregnancy in 2014, my weight peaked at over 164kilos at 30 weeks pregnant (I then stopped weighing myself- so I potentially hit the 170s but I'll never know!). At this point in my life, everything was hard- from walking to tying my own shoe laces. I had no energy, I was always tired and lacked purpose in life despite having a beautiful baby girl. I suffered from PND and anxiety and I decided drastic changes needed to be made! Queue massive changes in diet and exercise...
In 2015, I started off decreasing my portion sizes and increasing my exercise with virtual running events like the American based, Moon Joggers. Moon Joggers is a virtual online race event that has its worldwide users “log” their miles to accumulate the miles between earth and the various planets of the solar system each year. This is my third year and I have already accumulated 12,470 miles towards the challenges.
I also participated in my first physical event- the Melbourne Color Run at Flemington! It was a hard slog at 140kilos but I did it and I have been doing it every year since. It was my dream to tick it off my weight loss bucket list. Now my little girl also joins me. She has done this event with me the last two years and it is a day of family fun and fitness!
By 2016, I expanded my events to include climbing. I completed the MCG Stadium Stomp and Eureka Sky Climb (Australia’s tallest vertical climb!). My goal is always the same: to sign up, show up and finish. I don’t worry about being the fastest or care if I am the slowest. My only competition is myself. I just try beat my time from the previous year. So far I have been successful, more than halving my Eureka Climb Time from 75 minutes to 33minutes!
Also in 2016, I signed up to Park Run (a free weekly timed event- occurring every Saturday morning at 8am). I walked but completed the event in under 60 minutes. While I don’t get a medal to add to my growing collection of race bling, it has helped me to gain confidence, lose weight and put some miles in my legs in preparation for running events!
2017 has been my year by far! At the start of the year, my starting weight was 134.1kg and I now weigh 92kg and I have lost 143cm to date. I have completed 9 parkruns including interstate this year and managed 8 PB’s! I signed up to my first Miss Muddy, BlackHawk Operation and Tough Mudder!! I’m not a particular fan of mud and mud pits but I gave it a red hot go! I also signed up to my first official running events- Run Maroondah and Melbourne Marathon and unfortunately missed out on Run Melbourne and City 2 Sea due to finances and illness. I also signed up to another virtual race event, Run Down Under.
By mid 2017, I found my love for dance again and joined up to my daughter’s dance school (adult class) and I participated in my first dance concert in December with my daughter. Not to gloat but I was pretty good considering I’d only been dancing for 4 months and I got to dance in the same concert as my little girl. That was super special! It’s one of my favorite medal achievements.
In conclusion, 2018 is going to be magnificent! My running journey has only just begun! I have already signed up to my first triathlon event in January, Rumble Run in March (5km inflatable course) and I have committed to doing the full MCG Stadium Stomp course of over 7000 steps! I have my eyes set on Run Melbourne, Melbourne Marathon, City 2 Sea and Carmen’s as well as trying to get to Park run more frequently and volunteering too! My goal is one day run a marathon, purely to say I can and I did it!
If I could pass on one piece of advice or inspiration it would be don’t give up on your dreams- start today! There is nothing more satisfying than looking back at the progress I have made as my fitness and confidence has increased and kilos have been lost! I love a good PB as much as a nice medal! I am a dancer, runner, Mum and most importantly a positive role model to my daughter.
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We're super excited about this as we know that behind every collection of medals is an awesome story!