Is there such as thing as keeping motivated in trying times or is it simply perception? You be the judge.
I have had my fair share of challenges as a result of being diagnosed with Rheumatoid Arthritis in 2014. Trial drug programs, disease induced depression, monthly Oncology visits, Medication induced shingles, weight gain of 15kgs from steroid treatment and knowing that every time I get a cold I am not getting out of bed for a week and three rounds of antibiotics later I’m starting to feel better. This in combination with generally not feeling like getting out of bed due to the crippling pain is something I have barely spoken about until now but had to deal with behind the scenes over the past four years at one time or another.
The reality is there are many people worse off than me, I am not dying – I just have a chronic illness and, in spite of that, I can achieve anything I set my mind to.
Since being diagnosed with RA I have achieved an Ironman, one Ultra Marathon, two half Marathons, my first Trail Ultra Marathon and two half Ironmans. I have taken an overseas assignment in Manila and built a very successful sustainable team. I transitioned out of fast moving consumer goods into retail and have since found myself working for the number one beer brand in the world in my dream role leading an incredible team. All the while I found the time to give back to a sport that taught me so much about myself and my limits by volunteering for the position of President of the number one triathlon club in Victoria (@BaysideTriathlonClub) and on the Board of Triathlon Victoria.
With all of this the one achievement I have been most proud of is being able to be here today to tell you my story and represent the Tish and Matt and the amazing team at She Science.
To help me achieve all of these things my life has been based around goals, routine, under thinking things and amazing support from my close friends and family.
My goals are not all sporting based. In fact they are mainly career focused and I have some personal ones in there too.
If there is one thing that is clear to me you must always have a balance. Balance is good.
My daily routine is as simple as getting out of bed, doing some sort of exercise, going to work and spending time with my husband and adorable bulldog and talking to my Mum and Dad on the phone.
So often in our work and personal lives the universe throws us challenges. The only way I have found to get through these has been to ”under think” what has happened and simply keep moving forward towards my goal. Easier said than done – I know! I used spend hours – even days – trying to understand why and what people were saying and how this could have happened. All the while I was burning energy on things I couldn’t control and feeding my disease. Life is too short.
Support comes in many forms. For me it’s picking me up off the floor when I have had a fit and fallen unconscious as my body has been overwhelmed with pain. Or it’s having someone to complain to for the brief moment I let the emotion get the better of me. It’s still being included in social events and friends understanding when I just don’t feel like coming. Most of all it’s the support I get on the ground, on the phone or on social media when I line up at that start line and achieve what I set out to do.
What’s next for me over the next two to three years? Monthly oncology visits, radiation treatment, hitting some hard core work goals, completing the F45 Challenge (thanks to the @F45Oakleigh Team for helping me achieve), Noosa Triathlon (wait till you see the She Science race kit), London Marathon (assuming I make the ballot), Kokoda Trial and Ultraman AU.
What’s next for you?
By Sonia Dunne
Sonia is an accomplished Ironman and Triathlete who has an unstoppable approach to life. She is also a She Science Ambassador. You can follow Sonia @sonia_D2277