anita fit mother hubbardHi I’m Neets, a Melbourne mum of 2 who loves all things fitness. I gave up corporate life in 2012 to pursue my passion for family, fitness and fun. I love to inspire and motivate busy parents to live active, healthy lives. A short workout is better than no workout – doing it with the kids, even better. I blog over at Fit Mother Hubbard. You can also find me on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. Pop over and say hi! 

In November 2013, I ran the City2Sea in Melbourne. It was a memorable event for me, one that I will share with my unborn child that came along for the ride, in years to come.

This particular run meant more to me than any of the runs that I have done before. This time the purpose went beyond trying to get a PB or receiving another medal.

Back in September last year, I did my usual farmer’s market visit. As my kids were busy playing in the toy library that had been set up, I happened to meet the gorgeous Kerr family who migrated to Australia from England a couple of years earlier.

Shortly after they arrived, they learnt that their then 3 year old daughter, Celia, had leukaemia. I was so moved by the determination of this little girl and her family that I decided to offer a little bit of support.

I registered for the event knowing that I had recently become pregnant. Little did I know that I would be struck down with nausea for the whole first trimester.

My training was going to be limited, very limited. I ran 6 times leading up to the race and began to feel a little apprehensive about running at all. I had popped out a lot sooner than I expected and during my training I was experiencing shortness of breath.

My running strategy needed to change but I was not going to give up. I thought that if I ran 1km on, 1km off, that would surely get me to the finish line.

I reached out to friends, family and social media followers to help me raise $1,000 for Celia and I was so grateful to all those that donated and helped me achieve this goal. Running with a purpose makes all the hard work so much more worthwhile.

Race day came around and I was feeling pretty apprehensive!

Thankfully my nausea had passed a week earlier and I began to feel human again. I do believe that everything happens for a reason and amongst the 13,000 participants on the day; I bumped into an old colleague and friend, Kristianna, at the start line.

Kristianna is one of those people that knows how turn negative thoughts into positive ones when you lose a little bit of faith in yourself.

It was a stunning morning in Melbourne; we were blessed with a clear blue sky, mild temperatures and no wind, every runner’s dream.

As I made my way to the start line with thousands of other eager runners, my hands were firmly placed around my bump as only a protective mum to be would do.

My strategy hadn’t changed and I planned to walk and lightly run the entire way.

I set off down St Kilda Road knowing that my heart rate had to remain at around the 140-150 mark.

Taking in the iconic sights that Melbourne has to offer and enjoying the atmosphere of such a well-co-ordinated event, I lost track of time. I was so busy checking my heart rate and reminding myself why I was running, that I missed the first 3 check points.

As we turned right onto Fitzroy Street at the 4km mark, I was feeling pretty good. Albert Park Lake was the next leg, a beautiful 5km stretch of lake and once again, taking in the sights and admiring the hype of so many running enthusiasts, I lost track of time but not my heart rate. My heart rate sat on around 150-155 for most of the way, with a couple of spikes along the way. I’m not very good when it comes to surging.

At the 7.5km mark and two water stations later, I was still feeling good. I was mindful of listening to my body and if at any point I felt that I was putting myself or my baby at risk, I would have slowed to a walk.

Keeping rehydrated along the way and constantly monitoring my heart rate was key to getting me to the finish line.

I completed the run in 1 hour 31 minutes.

The sense of achievement I felt when I crossed that finish line, knowing that I had made a difference to a brave little girl was a feeling that I will cherish forever.

To all the kind hearted people that supported me – THANK YOU from the bottom of my heart. Your generous donations were overwhelming.

Running with a purpose can make such a difference to others. I highly recommend it.

Zoey Dowling

Written by: operationmove

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  1. Zoey Dowling

    That's such a wonderful story! Thanks for sharing. And well done on your run, great time esp while running for two!!! I did that run as well, it was such a gorgeous day for running wasn't it.

    • Thanks Meisha. It was an absolutely fabulous day. x

  2. Zoey Dowling

    Wow! I loved reading about your race Neets. So exciting to have a little person alongside you for it.