We’re so thrilled to have Lee join the Operation Move team to share her thoughts and experiences both in her capacity as a life coach and as a runner. If you have any questions or ideas you’d like her to address please email kate@operationmove.com.au


When I began running just over two years ago, I had absolutely no idea how far I would take it.  I knew that I wanted to feel less sluggish and I knew that I wanted to be able to keep up with my kids as they grew and become more active. I had just turned 40 and despite having some problems with my feet, I decided to give the couch to 5k a go.

I had a history of starting exercise all gung-ho and stopping due to a dodgy shoulder, a sore ankle or more likely waning motivation. I can’t tell you how many gym memberships I have cancelled over the years, it is more than I care to admit. Although since becoming a mum, pretty much all exercise had gone out the window.

So when this couch to 5 k running program kept popping up on my social media feeds, I thought I’d give it a go. I told myself I would just take it week by week and see how my body held up.

Well, my body did hold up. I was “sensible” and a little conservative as I was determined to try to prevent injuries as much as possible. I ran my first 6k fun run 5 months after I started. I absolutely loved this experience and knew that I wanted to do more. I kept gradually, gradually, bit by bit increasing my distance until I hit 10km. At this stage I started questioning whether I could run a half marathon. I had heard the line, if you can run 5 you can run 10, and if you can run 10 you can run a half marathon (21.1km). My confidence in my body grew with each extra kilometre I could manage.

So I set the goal of running a half marathon and in April this year I did what I set out to do. Straight after this half I was playing with the idea of running a full (42.2km). I ran another half two months later and registered for the Melbourne marathon.

While all this running was going on, a parallel process was taking place within me. I was developing self belief and clarity in other areas.  I reflected on my personal vision, what my passions and values are, set goals and started working towards them. After working for 18 years as a social worker in health, I made the decision to start my own business as a life coach and counsellor.

So in October, I was a finisher in the Melbourne Marathon and I launched my business, Brightside Coaching.

I am thrilled to be writing for Operation Move. I look forward to getting to know about you and your goals and the vision you have for your lives.



Zoey Dowling

Written by: operationmove

Leave A Reply:

(optional field)

  1. Zoey Dowling

    Tears here... why? Because the amazing people I am now connected to through Operation Move. Thank you for being one of the most beautiful, caring, loving & compassionate women in my life. I can't wait to one day actually meet you face to face xxx

  2. Love getting to know you Lee and what a brilliant mara it was - I look forward to reading more xx

    • Zoey Dowling

      Thanks Em. It was so ace having some of the Op Move team there! So looking forward to many more runs together.

  3. Zoey Dowling

    I like your sensible / conservative approach Lee - I often go in to new things gung-ho as well and end up injured and giving up. This time I'm realising from stories like yours that it's ok to take things easier and enjoy the journey. Thanks for being a part of Operation Move and being so inspiring, encouraging and supportive <3

    • Zoey Dowling

      Absolutely Rach! Enjoying the journey is so important. As is longevity. I want to be enjoying this for a long time yet, so what's the hurry?

  4. Zoey Dowling

    I love your approach as well! Thanks to you and the others here at Operation Move, I've managed to stay motivated whilst taking things slowly and avoiding injury. I've tried to 'be a runner' a couple of times before but always pushed too hard. Thank you so much for sharing your story and showing how far one can go if they listen to their body xo

    • Zoey Dowling

      Thanks so much Jo. I am so excited that it's working for you! Can't wait for this weekends Sussan fun run!

  5. I have adored watching your sweet moves and progress - not just in running but across the board Lee. You're pretty amazing xx

    • Zoey Dowling

      Thanks so much Kirri. The time out away from the demands of the kids has definitely helped me to tap back in to who I am. You are pretty amazing yourself and I am so grateful for your support.

  6. Lee, this is such a great post! I am a chronic starter of lots & lots if things in particular running (ok exercise in general!) and it's one things I just want to stick at! I want to like and I know how it makes me feel, I'm am so good at excuses too! I'm am so happy to have found this group though!

    • I've just seen this Rachael! Thank you! I am definitely a fan of small, sustainable changes over time. So glad you've found Op Move and found your way to the runners group!