Sometimes we are told can not do things. This has the power to confuse & limit us about what life may truly be about.
Sometimes we tell ourselves that we can not do things or exist a certain way.
When libby began to run she ran because she chose to deny those beliefs. Libby courageously chose to defy her reality with every step she put forward.
Why did she do it?
Because there was something inside her that was looking for answers. She asked more of the world and more of herself. She asked “ I want to feel something!!”
Libby got up she started to believe.... for every number of accomplishments she was making she got knocked down - an equal count.
As she revocated against these limitations that stood to see her fail she faced up to them - re writing the messages that circulated through every cell in her body.
What she accomplished was not just a half marathon but the fact that there is no such thing as can not. Libby accomplished her own freedom
My goal & the effect it will have on me -
To me this 12 week challenge is not just about creating a new, exciting and healthy lifestyle, it is
about proving my sceptics wrong (my own personal, childish “don’t tell me what I can’t do!”), it’s
about facing demons and finally kick starting my life onto the path I want it to take. So I guess to
understand my goal you have to know where I’ve come from.
In 2001 I slipped down some stairs in the rain and broke my back. After 3 months of laying flat I
started with a walking frame and could do 1 lap of the house each day. From there I graduated to
crutches then a walking stick and finally back to my own two feet. The specialists report on my
injury read that I had “lost 40% of my industrial usefulness”; it also said that combined with my
previous spinal injury (A few years earlier I had broken my neck doing gymnastics) I would be limited
in what I could do for the rest of my life in terms of employment, physical activity and sport. This
really pissed me off so as soon as I was able to I got a job as a landscaper’s labourer (yeah stupid, I
know). After 3 years of labouring my back packed it in and I ended up in hospital again for 2 weeks
followed by a long stint in a re-hab unit. To add to the list of blows, while I was in re-hab they
discovered that I had something called ‘Marfans Syndrome’ which means that my fibrillin1 doesn’t
work properly causing too much collagen in my ligaments along with a host of other crap symptoms.
They advised that I needed to have regular heart checks and limit my strenuous physical exertion as
Marfans can affect the heart.
While I was in re-hab I couldn’t do a thing for myself. I was completely reliant on the nurses and my
mum to help me wash, go to the bathroom, dress, sit and sleep. I was in control of nothing in my
life. I went downhill mentally and discovered that the one thing I could control was what I ate. It’s
funny how your mind works in rationalising things. I look back now and think to myself “what the
hell made me think that this was right?” Food (the lack of it) took over my life. It was never about
wanting to lose weight or be thin; it was about having control over something. After I was released
from re-hab food continued to rule my life. I lost 4 years of my life to Anorexia; I got down to 41kg
and nearly lost my life. A couple of years ago I decided I needed to leave Victoria. A new start was
what I needed so I moved up here to the Gold Coast. Best move I ever made!
I used to use running to burn off food that I was made to eat but since coming up here things have
slowly changed. Since starting Parkrun I have developed a new reason for running and since
combining it with Mezzanine I have started to really value my health and what goes into my body. I
used to see food like it was the devil but now I see it as a vital fuel in helping me achieve what I want
This 12 week challenge marks a massive milestone in my life. I have 2 main goals in this challenge:
1. To prove the doctors wrong by running the Melbourne ó.
2. To show myself, my family and friends that I am back!
As for the effect it will have on me? I think it’s fairly self explanatory.
I am so excited about this next phase in my life. I know sometimes I get a little over excited about it
but I have never wanted to do anything so much in my life like I do with running.
When do we start?
There are certain days in your life that you will look back on and always remember, no matter how many years have passed, you will always remember.
July 16th is one of those days for me.
July 16th marked the first step of a journey so huge that I will look back on it in years to come and still be left in awe of the effect it had on my life. July 16th was day 1.
Day 1 saw a girl with no mental or physical strength and pretty much no direction for her life. I had only been on the Gold Coast for a short time but that whole time had been spent drifting from one thing to another, desperate to discover who I was and where I fitted it (or did I fit in?). I was in a job that I didn‟t particularly like and my mental and physical health was slowly going back down hill again. I knew that if I didn‟t discover these things soon it would be too late. When I signed up for this 12 week challenge I had told myself “Libby, this is your last chance to turn things around, if this doesn‟t work, your life will be like this forever”. This 12 week challenge was my final ultimatum.
I have always had a fascination with running. I have wanted to run ever since they told me I couldn‟t and I had just run the 10km event in the Gold Coast Marathon weekend. After running the 10km I started thinking, “If I can run 10km, I wonder if I could run 21?”. I had trained and run the 10km on little to no nutrition and no strength at all and it was a struggle. I knew if I wanted to run 21km then I would need to eat more and grow stronger. I needed to get serious about what I wanted. I needed to conquer my past once and for all. I needed to turn my life around.
Push-ups!! Libby you can‟t do push-ups!! You have never been able to do push-ups in your life and you never will!”. That is what the voice in my head sounded like the first time I was asked to do push-ups. And could I do the
push-ups? No, I couldn‟t. At least not that early on in the program. But now!! Ask me again and I‟ll ask you how many!! The night I came home and was able to announce to Dane that I did my first push up was a pretty proud night for me and, I think, the exact moment that things started to turn around. I started to actually believe in myself.
Believing in yourself is one of the most important steps to reach when you are striving for anything. It‟s not until you start to believe in yourself that you can begin to grow your wings.
As the weeks progressed so did I and I didn‟t even realize. It‟s not until you stop and take a look back at where you have come from and where you are now that you realize exactly how far you‟ve come. When I started this challenge I could was able to struggle through 10km and now I was running 15km without even thinking about it! My physical strength had grown so much and I hadn‟t even realized. My wings were getting stronger.
All the while I was working hard on my physical strength, my mental strength and confidence in myself was also growing. I had finally made the conscious decision to leave the job I didn‟t like start to search for something that would make me happy. One of the most amazing outcomes of this was that I had been passing onto Dane everything I was learning without even knowing it. Through seeing me step out of my comfort zone and make positive changes in my life I had motivated and inspired Dane to do the same. Dane was also not happy in his job and after 7 years he decided that there was absolutely nothing stopping him from searching for something that would make him happier! Not only do we now both have jobs that we love, we have also realized that if we want something bad enough we just have to go and grab it! The only person who can change my life is me. It‟s not going to happen overnight, but through persistence, belief and consistency anything is possible. After all, nothing worthwhile doing was ever meant to be easy.
Flying home to my family and friends on the weekend of my half marathon was pretty scary but special for me. 2 years ago I had left there weak and frail with no confidence in myself and no hope for my future. However, I was returning a strong and committed person with every confidence in myself and belief I could conquer anything!
D Day had arrived and my family and friends were all there the cheer me on as I tackled my next milestone. The Melbourne Half Marathon. One of my first experiences of the Gold Coast was seeing all the hype and excitement within the city when preparations were being made for the Gold Coast Marathon in 2010. Watching all this happen for me was like something out of a movie. I remember thinking to myself, “Wow, it must feel amazing to be a part of something this huge. The people who are running in this must all be incredible athletes. I will never be able to do anything like this”. Who would have thought that 2 years later I would be one of those “incredible athletes”!
As I stood behind the start line (on the “incredible athletes” side of the barrier), I felt like a celebrity, like I was a part of something so special that not everyone had touched. As I the starters siren went off and I crossed the start line the first thing I saw ahead of me was a hill. The old Libby would have admitted defeat and already started thinking that she had entered something out of her reach. The new Libby locked it into four wheel drive and ate that hill for breakfast! Not only had I grown my wings but I was ready to soar! Throughout the entire 21km that seed of doubt kept trying to shoot every now and then but I managed to squash it every time using the new found belief in myself. That seed of doubt will always be there. Everyone has a seed of doubt that was planted somewhere within them throughout their life. However, I have found that everyone also has a seed of belief planted inside them too. It‟s up to us which one we decide to fertilize with our thoughts.
Coming around the last bend of my 21km challenge and seeing my family waving and cheering me on, looking so proud was just as I had imagined it. It was like a dream had come true. After I crossed the finish line and was herded into the recovery area I found myself just standing there staring into space. I couldn‟t believe what I had just done. I started to become quite emotional because it had just dawned on me that I had finally figured out where I fitted in, I had finally discovered who I was and it was the most freeing experience I‟ve ever felt.
This 12 week challenge for me wasn‟t just about reaching my goal of running the Melbourne Half Marathon. This 12 week challenge was my last hope and my last chance to try and live a „normal‟ and happy life, a life free of mental pressure from within and a life free from self doubt plaguing my thoughts. To be completely honest, at the beginning of these 12 weeks I actually didn‟t think or expect anything would change. It has been so many years since I have lived a „free‟ life that I had forgotten what it felt like and I had all but given up on ever being free again. It has taken 6 years 7 months and 12 weeks but I can finally say that “I am free”. I don‟t know exactly when it happened during those 12 weeks, but it did. I am free.
I know I have said this before but I don‟t think you will ever truly fathom the magnitude of the effect you have had on my life. Between Parkrun and MezzanineCA my life hasn‟t just been changed, my life has been saved.
I can‟t wait to tackle my next challenge. I already believe I can do it and I haven‟t even started! I will definitely need to strengthen my wings for this next challenge. Growing your wings is one thing, knowing how to use them is another. So often for some people though, the only thing holding them back is faith. I have learnt that sometimes you just have to take that leap of faith and grown your wings on the way down.
Thank you Brendan. You and MezzanineCA are truly amazing and my 12 week challenge is something that will be engrained in me forever.