My name is Jessica, I’m morbidly obese and at the start of 2017 I decided I was going to start training for a marathon (one day).

In January, I stared down at the scales and saw a frightening number. I wondered, how am I even alive? I’m definitely not living! For a few days I went through all the emotions.
It’s too hard to change!
I’m a failure!
I loathe myself!
How did this happen? Which is really a rhetorical question. I know exactly how it happened. Or I have an 80’s movie montage version in my head of what happened. Chocolate, coca-cola, take away food, excuses, laziness and pain all had supporting roles. I wanted to make sure my movie had as many sequels as the Police Academy movies! So I had to change the plot.

What I did next would send me on a journey so amazingly audacious that even Kanye West would be impressed.

In early January I attended my first parkrun. From doing nothing, I somehow finished the entire 5kms. I cried! I got blisters. Chub rub, oh my word was there chub rub. I also had my first glimpse into the running community. Prior to this, ‘Runners’ to me were a conundrum? I had questions. You enjoy this? You like waking up early for this? What’s the rush? You come every weekend? Again, you do this because you enjoy it?

I love a good riddle so with some important chub rub preparation, a pair of Steigen blister free socks and some epic running curiosity I took myself back to following weekend to the lower p phenomenon that is parkrun. I did it again! I finished 5kms again. I also took 5 mins of my previous time. I was cheered over the finish line and congratulated like I won an Oscar for best Female lead in a ‘made up 80’s movie for storytelling purposes’.

I returned to the car and it wasn’t the pain in my feet that distracted me. It was the aching in my face. My cheeks were so sore from the massive smile on my face. As I giggled to myself and looked in the rear view mirror I caught my reflection. Wow, I’ve only completed 5kms twice and look how happy I am. Imagine how happy I would feel if I ran a marathon one day? Oh my gosh! That’s it Jess!! Train to run a marathon one day.

I nervously announced my new plans to my family, friends, my wonderful followers on my Instagram @thelongweighdownwithjess and the Running Mums Australia Facebook page. I waited for the ‘LOL’, ‘hahaha’ and ‘as if’ comments to come on my Instagram post more than anything. They never did. They never have. I have been embraced by runners from all over world with support. The comments I actually received were ‘you’ve got this’, ‘great goal’, ‘you can do it’ and ‘can’t wait to cheer you over that marathon finish line’. For the first time I wasn’t on a weight loss journey, I was on a marathon journey. My marathon dreams were now and still are keeping me alive.

I’m realistic and I know the Marathon is still some years away. So I’ve kept myself busy with other goals this past year. For Fitness Sake Challenge (50kms in 10 days), the Run Down Under Virtual run, my first ever 10kms at Run Melbourne, 5kms at the YMCA Father’s Day Fun Run (which I was an ambassador for), 5.5kms at The Harvest Run (on the hottest Melbourne day in months and recovering from pneumonia), 10kms at the Melbourne Marathon (taking 4 minutes of my previous 10km attempt) and most recently I did another 10kms at the Carman’s Women’s Fun Run (taking 4 mins off my Melbourne Marathon PB).

I’ve also completed 30 parkrun’s this year. Not too bad for someone that had all but given up. For someone that stopped showing up, avoided social interaction and for someone that got puffed checking the letterbox. The only thing raising my heart rate was spicy food!

I have been blessed with some great opportunities, sponsorships, ambassador roles and my first guest speaking gig. Thank you Running Mums Australia, Fisiocrem Australia , Run Down Under, Steigen sports, YMCA, Fernwood, Shefit apparel and the town of Ararat. I believe in some way you’ve all added years to my life and for that I am forever grateful.

I can’t wait to see what I achieve in 2018.