My 45th birthday this year, coincided with another milestone, five years cancer free.
I was diagnosed with breast cancer in 2010 just 12 months after the birth of my daughter. It’s been a harrowing seven years of treatment including radiation, a second bout, mastectomy and reconstruction, and during this time I made lots of promises to myself about getting healthier, eating better and exercising.. Mainly because I wanted to outlive my cancer diagnosis.
But like most best laid plans, I did this sporadically and often because of overwhelm with the oversupply of information on how best to heal and cure cancer.
“I want to fulfil a health goal that isn’t solely around weight loss, but gives me energy and vitality”
Five years after my last diagnoses, I have made a commitment to look at health in a different way. Not to lose weight, fit into clothes or become fit, but rather from the point of enjoying myself through activity in the outdoors, particularly with friends.
Since February I’ve roped a few girlfriends into 5.30am run/walks around the Mackay Gooseponds with the promise of coffee afterwards, without kids! And am feeling much better for it!
So…. I have decided to tackle a series of small 5km runs such as this weekend's (August 5/6) 5km run at the Mackay Mountain Marathon, and the recent Mackay Marina Run.
These events are about encouraging locals to get outdoors, make new friends, challenge themselves and often raise money for a good cause. Even if I can’t run the whole way right now, the satisfaction of trying something new and making a commitment to get there will be another major milestone in my life.
I also believe events such as this are a great way of inspiring activity and highlighting the region’s amenities and having a great economic benefit to the community as well.
Friendship, along with helping reduce the chance of the cancer returning, are two of the key reasons why I wanted to start Approach Adventure with Claire and Jarrah. To me, exercise works best when I enlist friends or do it in a social situation, I’m more motivated and more inclined to show up. For others, being a sole trainer is better.
Whatever your style, I’ll hope to see you this weekend or at another one of the other events coming up which cater for all levels (keep an eye on our blog for more information on what's coming).
Karla Steen is the co-founder of The Life Approach and Approach Adventure, two initiatives aimed at supporting women through career and physical health in regional Australia. When she’s not planning her next microadventure, she’s the mum of a 7-year-old super-girl and doing a Masters by Research into Gender Parity in Leadership.