Running a marathon is considered a rather big physical feat. Everytime I say, ‘I’m running a marathon” people react in the same way: their eyes widen, a sense of disbelief washes over their face, however briefly, and then an encouraging smile, “Go girl!”
Why? Because growing up I was always the erm… fat girl. I wasn’t huge, but I was definitely not skinny like the other girls in my class. I had huge boobs and a curvy body by like, age 14 and I hated sports. On weekends you could find me bingeing on Friends VCDs while drinking bubble milk tea.
Going outside? Haha you must be joking. I was so bad at being sporty, I once lost my breakfast 10 minutes after starting an easy mountain hike with my family. I was always the last to finish those darned 2k runs we were forced to do in high school, and my time never improved (I’m actually pretty sure I got slower as time went by). As soon as it was socially acceptable for me to quit sports I did. I became the team manager instead, making sure our sports teams were fed and watered during tournaments and appropriate photos were taken. You see where I’m going with this? After high school I thankfully never had to see the inside of a basketball court again and I made sure that I didn’t. I never exercised. I did some yoga here and there, did a few weeks of swimming on and off, but nothing ever stuck.
Queue moving to Australia and realizing that actually, being active is not so bad. It’s actually helpful for those long coastal walks, to be a few pounds lighter. So at age 28, I signed up to my first ever gym membership. And while it wasn’t exactly an immediate love affair, I enjoyed moving. I enjoyed the classes, and eventually I learned how to use some of the machines too. I found out that building muscle is easier than freaking cardio, and YouTube videos are loaadsss better than they used to be. Yoga with Adriene is da BOMB and there are some awesome cardio/conditioning videos out there too. And then… I was asked the question, by a very dear friend and mentor: Why don’t you join us running the New York Marathon?
I’ve always been a pusher. I push myself to the next level, to get better, to be better.
I’ve done this in my relationships (with good and bad results, in all honesty), in my business/career, and in learning about myself. The one thing I’ve never quite done is push my body. So here I am. Pushing myself to the next level. Upleveling to the next stratosphere.
Now, this story has all been me me me me me up until now, and let me tell you why. Because my experience is what is spurring me to run with Team for Kids. Getting kids active and moving is more important than ever. I was lucky enough to grow up in a time that I didn’t have millions of screens distracting me- I just had a TV. I got to play outside on long summer days in Holland and there is that infamous story of me eating duck poo in my grandma’s front yard (long story). I care about this so much, I created an online course to teach parents about social media because screen time is totally wrecking parent-child relationships and also child development. In this day and age, it’s so easy to use the screen as a parenting device.
The work that Team for Kids does is so important. Engaging children in being active and using different parts of their brain, and developing social skills is exactly what is going to propel them and prepare them for the future economy. Giving them an opportunity to play, work together, experience losing, experience winning—all these things are valuable life lessons that I luckily got to learn despite my obsession with “not being sporty”. I don’t want children being fed the same lie I was: that I wasn’t sporty enough so I might as well give up (yes, part of it is self-inflicted but let’s not get into that now).
And another thing? Privilege is so important. I grew up experiencing the stark differences between privilege and not-so-privilege. I was caught between being privileged and then also not. I’ve seen this from both sides of the coin, and it sucks.
So if I want to do anything in this life, it is give people an opportunity. Give people privilege.
And that can come in many different ways. One of them, for this year, is to afford this privilege to kids. To afford the privilege of changing lives is pretty freaking special.
As the wise Joey Tribbiani once proclaimed, “you can’t do a good deed without feeling good about yourself.” I’m trying to prove him wrong, but he is definitely right in this case. Not only do I get to raise money for an incredible cause, I get to do it together with a hundred people. A hundred like-minded friends that are in it to serve, to push themselves, and ultimately, to celebrate the beauty that is life. Together, we want to raise over $250k and are looking for corporate sponsors to help us raise even more. The goal is to provide service, even in the process of raising money, which I am so excited about!
Monday after running the marathon, my 100 friends and I will be heading down to Tony Robbins’ UPW in Miami so that we can run around for 5 days serving 10,000 people while they go through the journey to changing their lives. I am so, so honoured that I've got such amazing people around me to encourage me on this path. I'd like to count you as one of them, too.
Thank you for taking the time to hear my story. I ask you to kindly please donate money to the cause! You will be doing something amazing, and of course, I’ll be doing some crazy things as thanks!
To donate, please click here.
For every milestone we reach, I’ll be doing something ridiculous. If you have an even better idea then I will go for that, but here are ones that my team and I hashed out:
$500 - public dancing for 5 minutes
$1,000 - filming Arna’s face during a wax (down THERE)
$1,500 - let my most generous donor so far choose an outfit for me to go hiking in (rules apply lol)
$2,000 - singing a really cheesy old song in a very public spot, loud speakers & everything.
$2,620 - run 5k in a chicken costume
Come on, this is going to be fun (for you)!