Whirlwinds and wonderment

What an absolute whirlwind of a month. Just one month ago I was sworn to secrecy by a woman half way around the world. Just five days earlier she had called me at the end of her day, in the early hours of mine. In a gorgeous American accent the caller had left a message asking if I could please call her back as she was following up my attendance for London. What the………..??

What a life changing call that would be.

I had just finished my last treatment for my latest flare up the week before, I was feeling very sorry for myself as my dream to be overseas travelling to celebrate my 40th was dashed, my legs were not working and we had no idea if the mabthera would work longterm. I was about to start work on the last few weeks of series 10 of the catch fitness 20 weeks competition with 53 entrants. Always a hectic time as I showcase what my LeapStars have achieved and encourage those who feel they haven’t to still test. I then have to put together judges reports for all of them. It is my most favourite month of the year as the stories, results and smiles remind me why I do what I do… It usually takes up every waking minute….. As I hung up my voicemail my initial reaction is – “Whoever this lady is – I don’t have time to ring her back let alone go to London”

Luckily my LeapAngel walks in the door for work as I am listening to the voicemail for a second time… Riwai has come in from night shift and is sound asleep… I squeal this time as the reality sinks in and I realise actually who has called and why they want me in London. Please call Lauren back from LifeFitness. You have been named one of ten finalists in the LifeFitness Global Personal Trainers to Watch for 2013. We need to fly you to London for live judging at the end of September.

For the next few weeks there were many early morning calls to Chicago while I asked hundreds questions about the competition, wrote my short and long bios and got pictures ready for their media release. A full day work personal training and then there were many discussions and late night calls to London as the amazing travel team came back and forth with ideas for flights. I have chosen to be in Christchurch for the 20 Weeks Awards night and fly the next day. It is important for me to celebrate my LeapStars success before I leave. This was a huge call and will be no easy feat. As emails, skypes and calls went back and forth I was reminded again of the burdens my disease carrys when you need to do extraordinary things outside our normal routine. The risk of flare is high, and I have very few hours to turn around and be at my best for judging. The stress was mounting and I was getting exhausted. So it was back to basics…to counter balance the sleep deprivation. I had to postpone some sessions to fit everything in and still couldn’t tell people why.

What was I thinking!! 52 hours of testing and then 52 reports to write in less than two weeks. We had to continue with our normal Leap business, prepare for London (still in secret) and a side trip holiday after, celebrate my 40th and get a media kit ready – I called in the troops for help with the 20weeks, swapping sessions with me for hours doing data entry. Thank goodness 🙂 Riwai fed and watered us, looked after the team and reminded us it was all worth it. Our team was sensational and I am so proud of us all. We did it 49 reports were submitted, three were unable to complete their testing in the timeframes required. What a feeling!!!!

They say timing is everything – as LifeFitness and Reps NZ released the names of the finalists around the world the 20 weeks reporting was at full swing and was at paper work stage. I enlisted more help as Sandy (your story communications). sent out and managed media for me (it sounded oh so pooosh – i have my own PR lady :). in between all of the madness I met with Bec Eleven from the Christchurch Press and she captured my story beautifully – here’s the link http://www.stuff.co.nz/the-press/9137421/Rheumatoid-arthritis-sufferer-turns-personal-trainer.

This week as the storm took hold in Christchurch and I realised what a whirlwind month we had. Thank you to everyone so far – I have no doubt the journey and this new Cate Grace chapter has just began.

Today I called my rheumatology team. Yes I am in another flare, but this time we will manage it. I have too! We finalised my crisis and treatment plan for flying and while I am away. In two weeks I will be waking up in London on the eve of judging, Riwai by my side, crutches at the ready, pill boxes lined up, uniform laid out and a tribe of LeapStars and supporters on my shoulder inspiring me to go out there, be myself, do my very best, smile and enjoy the ride… After all even if I am 10th, I know I will inspire some more people to Leap of their couches, let my industry and colleagues into some secrets of training people with conditions and have an absolute blast! I am in good spirits and so excited :).

Ps – Then i get a side trip to celebrate my 40th in Portugal with Riwai! How cool is that!!