Melanie Bocock And The Endurance Sisterhood
by Melanie Bocock
I remember back in the middle of 2009 I found myself 60 pounds overweight and trying to live and work productively despite suffering chronic struggles with depression and anxiety. For some reason I had packed on the pounds over a period of eight years. What started as postpartum depression, combined with being overweight, seemed to have become my new way of life. I started a business around the same time I had my first child, and my diet was horrific. I lead a sedentary lifestyle and I worked at a computer 10 to 12 hours a day. I just felt like I was trying to run through waist deep mud every day, and I had an extremely pessimistic view of life at that point, not to mention I was tired all the time.
After seeking the help of a therapist in 2009, I noticed that my way of thinking started to change. A seed of change was planted and I found myself starting to make tiny, but powerful mind-set shifts all the time. I started desiring to lose weight, but I knew a diet would fail. Instead, I chose small things to change about my eating habits. The first thing I did was stop eating fast food and drinking soda, and just a month after doing that, I had lost 5 pounds. I started feeling inspired and began adding new things to my repertoire. One of them was walking for fitness and after walking for a few weeks, I felt the desire to try running. I would pick some markers, like a mailbox and see if I could run to it, running a little further each time.
Eventually I was running more than I was walking and a friend talked me into running a 5k race, which I did late in 2009, finishing it in 44 minutes. I was very excited, and by this time I was down about 30 pounds and kept signing up for more 5k races, so I wouldn’t quit running. By January 2010 I had lost about 50 pounds and I was still running 5k events. I then decided to give triathlons a try. So I got with a coach and I signed up for my first triathlon which I completed in May 2010. I was absolutely hooked after that, and ended up doing five more triathlons during 2010. Life was starting to take a new meaning for me. I lost about 10 more pounds, toned up and started to work on getting faster. Since I started, lost about 60 pounds in total and from a size 16 to a size 2. I have maintained both my weight and size for 4 years and have also completed about 15 triathlons including 2 Half-Ironman events, and most recently a full Ironman on my 40th birthday.
The Birth of a Sisterhood
I remember a close girlfriend of mine took me under her wing when I was training for my first half-marathon. She challenged me to run much faster for this race, than the pace I have previously been training for. I didn’t think it was possible, but I showed up on race day and decided to go fast anyway. Before I knew it, I was going faster and surprisingly ran at a faster pace than what I have been training for. She helped me to start believing in myself, and from that moment something clicked inside of me that gave me a boost of confidence. It was a pivotal moment for me, as I saw clearly what role my mind had in doing things I never thought possible. During my journey I was meeting more and more female athletes who all seemed to have mastered a ton of control over this mental muscle, and inspired me to keep working at it myself. This led me to begin feeling I wanted to share this concept with my family and my friends. I felt I needed to spread the word to get people off the couch to start living better healthier lifestyles. I wanted to send a message that you can believe in yourself, and accomplish anything you set your mind to do. I wanted to use my own story as a way to inspire them. I also realized my story wasn’t the only one out there, as there were many others.
So I decided to start a Facebook group called Endurance Sisterhood to share our similar journeys together. I wanted this group to be a place for women of all shapes, sizes, and athletic backgrounds to meet, share stories, train, and encourage one another. As the group grew in membership, I was discovering there were many other individuals with exciting inspirational stories of their own. I started creating pictorial vignettes called ‘Sister Stories’ each of them portraying a sister who had overcome some extraordinary challenge or had made an amazing transformation in her own life. It was interesting to find out many of them started from a sedentary lifestyle to then become endurance athletes and/or physical fitness enthusiasts.
The mission of Endurance Sisterhood is to inspire women of all fitness levels to challenge their perception of their own physical and mental limitations. We became a non-profit organization in 2012 and a Board of Directors was formed. Endurance Sisterhood was also registered with USA Triathlon as an all-female club. Today, you can find many of our members participating in many events around South Florida, and nationwide, proudly displaying their pink and black uniform kit colors. It is exciting to see many of our members who have never met in person before, racing and supporting one another on events around the country. I am so grateful for having this amazing opportunity to inspire and help other women through my own transformation.
I am very proud of each of our members, and humbled to see how this group has grown. The many friendships and special bonds that have emerged from what was just once a Facebook group, it is very special to me. My ‘sisters’ have inspired me in ways I never dreamed possible. For more information please visit www.endurancesisterhood.com and become part of the movement!