You know that old saying, if you want something done give it to a busy person? Well it might just be that this months Inspiring Human would be the woman you'd want to call.
Miranda Clark is a Wellington born but Tauranga bred event enthusiast, self employed, family woman who is well known in the area for her welcoming laugh and warm personality. We came to meet Miranda through her involvement in the women's health movement in Tauranga and are one of her supporters of her amazing group, Heart and Sole.
Giving your time to something bigger than yourself has been something that Miranda has always done. Her family have always volunteered, her Mum running the Otumoetai Flea Market for over 10 years and her Dad showing the way by being part of every Boards and PTA’s of the schools and sports clubs that Miranda and her sisters went to. As a kid it wasn't uncommon to see the whole family down at the flea market directing traffic and helping out on a Saturday morning. Looking back, Miranda knows that this ingrained desire to help and support others was instilled on her from a very early age. She's proud to carry on that part of her family legacy with everything she's involved in now.
Growing up Miranda was into sport and health in a big way, swimming, playing volleyball and hockey at school and in her early 20s playing indoor netball and touch. But as it sometimes happens, injuries began to crop up and her activity levels became a little more on and off again rather than a key focus for her lifestyle.
Miranda went about building her life in her own way, meeting her husband of 18 years, Leon and growing her corporate career alongside a large network of family and friends throughout the area. A big time lover of the power of events, for many years Miranda was down watching the Tauranga Half Ironman event. When there in 2009 her and friends, Debs and Maria, they all turned to each other and said "let's do it". This would mean completing a 2km swim, an 80km bike ride and a 21km run. At the time, Miranda couldn't run 1km, hadn't been on a bike in 10 years and not been in the pool even longer. But with steady progress and great determination, in 2010 she crossed the line in 7 hours 15 minutes on a 30+ degree day, having had the time of her life.
In 2012, Miranda and Leon became pregnant with their daughter, Samantha. Overjoyed at the news they couldn't wait to welcome their little girl into the world. None more so than Miranda, who was diagnosed with chronic morning sickness that lasted from 4am in the morning until right into the evening, for 7 and a half months. Because of this she had to give up exercise, skip client meetings and drastically change her lifestyle. She had barely any weight gain from her pregnancy, but vomiting 4 or more times a day will do that.
Samantha arrived after a three day labour by emergency c-section. The trauma to Miranda's body took time to heal. After the first four weeks came the next challenge, their little girl just wouldn't sleep. She was awake up to 17 hours at a time, with Miranda and Leon getting up to her between 6 and 7 times a night (if not more). The struggle for Miranda was real, 22 months of sleep deprivation alters a person. She felt like her world had shrunk, they couldn't travel or stay overnight anywhere. Feeling 'stuck' and concerned, Miranda sought help and a project that would help her to help others, lifting her from 'stay at home mum with a crying baby' out into the world again.
A big believer in psychology, Miranda spent time talking with her professional who helped her see the big shifts in her world, to acknowledge them and give her emotions context. She was diagnosed after this time with PTSD (Post Traumatic Stress Disorder) and she still caries with her some anxiety, particularly around loud noise. It's not surprising really after having spent over two years with tremendous amounts of stress on her body and mind. One of the side effects of this sleep deprivation is that Miranda developed a sugar addiction, grabbing onto anything that would give her energy levels a boost. She admits that she still struggles with this addiction, and that its this years goal to start shifting her thinking around sugar and making more positive changes in this area.
At this same time that Miranda was on the committee of Triathlon Tauranga and she approached them about creating a women's triathlon event. Knowing how much she gained from completing the Half Ironman, she wanted to create a stepping stone event to get more women doing triathlon in the Tauranga area. Giving them the confidence and opportunity to give it all a crack. So with a newborn on her hip she successfully created and ran this event for 5 years. In late 2017 as part of the lead up, she offered a 0 to 5km training programme with a group of women doing the event. Miranda also took part in this, and for the first time in a number of years really got her body moving again. From there she just hasn't looked back.
This is where Heart and Sole was born. The popularity of the programme showed Miranda that there was a real desire for this out there in the community. Running is a relatively low cost activity that with the right gear anyone can do. Heart and Sole continues to grow and all of in part to Miranda's outgoing personality and love of people. Its focus is to inspire and help ladies get active regardless of their size or current fitness levels. With programmes and events throughout the year, there are so many opportunities to start.
Along side Heart and Sole, Miranda works full time for herself with her company ACC Made Easy where she works with businesses of all size to meet and understand their ACC obligations with a focus of getting it right the first time. In all Miranda's extra time, she's also a committee member for Liz Van Welie Aquatics Swim Club, the Leader Co-ordinator for Diner en Blanc Tauranga, the Events Director for Multisport at the AIMS Games and manages the accounts and payrol for Aegis Private Security (oh and she's also registered security guard). Being a working Mum and wife, she is all about getting the mix right, and while it's not always straightforward, she's really happy with where she's got her life right now. She knows the importance of keeping herself fit in this mix means she's fit and healthy to take it all on.
Miranda credits what she does to the incredible support of her family and friends. To create and grow brands and business takes a lot of time, sacrifice, effort (and a few tears at times) and it would not be possible without a support network in place – and for Miranda this support network is large and invaluable.
One of the things we love about Miranda is her ability to care for and lift up others. She knows that life isn't always going to be plain sailing - but that there is always a way forward. It wasn't easy for her to share her story with us. But we know that there are women out there who can relate to her journey so far and who might benefit from hearing Miranda's words.
Her parting advice for everyone reading this:
"No matter your size, no matter your fitness, you can be 'fit' and you can be active with others and enjoy yourself while doing it"