“Toughie from Down Under” – JESS

20 Dec

I received another inspirational email yesterday.  This is really the BEST part of my job!  This time I got the message from our very own “Toughie from Down Under”, JESS!  She is an amazing person and I am super-duper happy she is on our team!

I wanted to send my photo in and tell a little bit of a story 🙂

Basically, the short version is…
I was an elite swimmer when I was younger. When I missed Olympic trials, I quit. I didn’t know what else to do, and I wasn’t waiting another four years… And you know what happens to athletes when the drop the sport fast.
They get fat.

And dear god… did I get fat.
I went off to uni and basically drank my body weight in beer every Thursday night… I got to about 125kg before enough was enough.

I lost 30kg very quickly. Too quickly, in fact.
12 months after I decided that I needed to make a change, I was in hospital with pancreatitis. I had been sick for more than 2 months, not knowing what was going on.
I was in constant pain. I could not eat. I couldn’t drink without having violent cramps.

The doctor told me I just had gallstones. Eventually, I was sent to the emergency department.

The things I remember from the hospital… are a little bit strange.
The triage nurse asked me what my pain level was, I said 8. As in, it can definitely be worse, but I’m in a bit of trouble here.
I remember a nurse telling me I was about to have an out of body experience, and then injecting me with morphine… it was the best I felt in MONTHS. The pain disappeared immediately. I still had no idea what was wrong with me.
When the doctor confirmed that I DID have pancreatitis, he looked at the triage nurses notes and says to me “8? Is that all? Girl, that’s at least a 12, you nearly killed yourself being too tough. You’re not going to have a problem having children, because this is the worst pain you will experience in your LIFE”

I was in hospital for two weeks. I was not allowed to eat or drink. Every 24 hours they would bring me an ice cube and some lip balm. I have never craved a drink so much in my life. I was on my own in there all day, just watching bad daytime TV.
I can’t remember what shows I watched, but I do remember a gatorade advertisement.
I saw this (I’m sure) 500 times.
All I talked about when I left the hospital was “I am going to do that one day. I am going to be an Ironman”.

Now I am not a runner. I have a mountain bike, but I’ve never really “cycled” before.
And I entered my first triathlon.

It was Triathlon Pink, a charity thing for Ramsay Healthcare. 300m swim, 9km bike and a 3km run.

Now I am not an Ironman. Yet. I have done my first half Ironman. And I tell you what, I am slow.

I am still 20kg overweight. I have not been able to lose a kilo since I was sick in 2009, because of the lasting effects of the pancreatitis. I have done a lot of damage to my body, which we are still sorting out.

But I will do it.
In December of 2013, I will race IMWA.

In my tough chik gear.

Cos that’s what I am!

❤ you guys.


Aussie Tough Chik

It is not too late to join Jess and our 53 other Team Tough Chik members!  The deadline is January 1st and it will be here before we know it!  You can learn more at TEAM TOUGH CHIK and please feel free to email us at team@toughchik.com with any questions!

Thank you Jessica for you inspirational email and we are happy to support you in your Ironman training!

If you have a story that you would like to share, please email it to shannon@toughchik.com!  We love hearing from you.


4 Responses to ““Toughie from Down Under” – JESS”

  1. Patrick Mahoney December 20, 2011 at 5:38 pm #

    People from down under are especially tough since they are upside down and have to work extra hard to keep their feet on the ground. Jess is gonna kill that race.

    • Jess @ THIR December 21, 2011 at 6:12 am #

      Thanks Patrick 🙂

  2. Jill December 20, 2011 at 8:28 pm #

    You are amazing, keep fighting! I’m training to do my first tri in March and I will be thinking about you every step of the way! I’m not a runner, or a swimmer, so I’m nervous! You go girl!

    • Jess @ THIR December 21, 2011 at 6:13 am #

      Don’t be nervous. The calm will come when the starting gun goes off 🙂

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