Zoe Ramage is about to tackle her first ever marathon. That in itself is pretty damn inspirational. But it's not just the run we're here the talk about, there's been so much more to Zoe's running story that we think you will enjoy.
We know the runners out there who have done a marathon knows what it feels like as you edge towards that event date. Typically you set that goal with what you think will be plenty of time but as time has a habit of doing, the date tends to sneak up on us and before you know you're one week out from achieving your dream.
Zoe spent the majority of her youth living in Tokoroa with her Mum. Her and her partner Sean still live there and have recently started to renovate their own home. Recently she's changed jobs from one in Rotorua with a 40-50 minute commute time to one local so she's loving not having to get up so early to get her training in.
She admits she wasn't particularly sporty as a kid. After giving up netball due to dodgy ankles and getting a part-time job in high school it seemed to cut sport out of her life at the time. During this time her weight fluctuated, and living out of home, being young and partying (all those good youthful activities we experiment with) it took a photo of herself at a event to say "enough is enough". It was time to prioritize her health. After seeing this photo she got on the scales and found herself at over 100KG, the biggest she had been in her life.
To kick start her fitness journey, she joined a local gym, Body Focus, in January of 2017. She tapped into technology and was using YouTube and Instagram to learn different techniques and sets. She spent her gym time walking on the treadmill, using the cross-trainer and the rowing machine as well. After 6 months she realised she'd spent all the good weather indoors and searched for a way to take her fitness outside. Again it was technology that stepped in and she downloaded the app 'Running for Weight Loss'. Basically it guides you through various workouts over a period of days and weeks. Set out like 'Run this time, walk this time' with each workout getting longer and longer with less walking. She vividly remembers coming home one day and telling Sean "Wow I just ran 36 minutes without stopping!". And as all other runners know, she's a slippery slope into bigger and longer runs from there.
She started entering events around November of last year and since then she's done 14 events in 10 months. An incredible effort! This month sees her doing the LEDLensor Night Run 10km in Rotorua and that first big Marathon next weekend in Tauranga.
You can't go through this life on your own. Zoe has had some incredible support. Lots of her runs are with her friend Sjaan (who just happens to be an Ironman Triathlete) so they work the ups and downs of runs together, helping each other through them. She also credits her Coach, Erin Furness for all her support and balance of her training schedule. (Erin just happens to be one of our Ambassadors, we didn't realise this connection until we started writing this blog. Love a small world moment). Her partner Sean is always there waiting for her at the finish line, and whilst he's not doing events (yet) even he enjoys the atmosphere and people he meets at the runs. The running community has really opened up Zoe's world and she's loved meeting so many incredible people, as well as making connections virtually with other runners.
One of the biggest changes has been to Zoe's lifestyle. Fitting in events, training and more active adventures with Sean has meant they've toned down the partying and can't imagine wasting their weekends on hangovers. For her, she felt the weight loss was the easy part to start with but the challenge lay in maintaining the healthy weight and lifestyle. Initially she found joy in watching the numbers on the scales drop but pretty quickly turned it around and threw out her scales focusing more on how she was feeling and the way her runs were going. She knows the importance of moving daily and nourishing your body and wants others to know this too no matter what activity they love to do.
During her journey Zoe has lost over 30KG and gained so much more in her life. She says that losing this weight and also completing her first half marathon are some of the biggest things she's acheived in her life so far. Not bad for a 21 year old right? Zoe finds her inspiration in others around her who are going out and giving it their everything for their goals regardless of the struggles they face to get there.
When we asked her what advice she would give to others she passed on the quote that was given to her by her brother and sister-in-law on her 21st birthday. It reads - "Whenever you find yourself doubting how far you can go, just remember how far you have come. Remember everything you have faced, all the battles you have won, and all the fears you have overcome"
We can't wait to be there at the finish line for Zoe next weekend at the Tauranga International Marathon.
We hope you have an amazing run Zoe! You can follow more of Zoe's journey on her Instagram @zoesfitnessjourney_