I never thought I’d be fond of running. I was born in Thailand two months premature, grew up to be a chubby child in London, and avoided most physical activity at school in Bangkok from age 11. Towards the end of high school, I resorted to diets to lose weight and eventually became anorexic. I received a scholarship from the Thai Government to study Law in the United Kingdom for my bachelor’s degree to the Ph.D. level, an opportunity which was both a blessing and a curse for me.
I spent three years at Cardiff University for an LLB., where I took up a stable assistant as a part-time job. My job was to tend to the stables and to warm-up flat racing horses on short rides. I then spent another year at SOAS in London, and one more completing a Masters in Research in Law and Birkbeck University. I didn’t become interested in exercise until, aged 25 when I was working part-time for a social media network company, I’d read somewhere that I should “probably do some exercise because metabolism slows down”. I took up a gym membership, bought a fitbit, and made sure I had my daily 24,000 steps, climbed 14 flights of stairs, and that I spent 40 minutes on a cross trainer. I was terrified of the treadmill though.
At that point, I became hooked on the idea of ensuring calories in minus calories out was at a deficit to maintain my weight, and it sort of worked. I weighed no more than 40 kg. In 2010 I met my husband, Lukas Bott and eventually moved in together. In 2013, the Thai Government stopped paying my Ph.D. fees, so I moved to Bangkok with him and got married in 2014.
In October 2013, I started work at the Foreign Law Bureau of the Office of the Council of State, where I am legally bound by a servitude contract to work twice the amount of time I’d spent abroad. My husband and I moved into a condominium in Bangkok that had a gym where I could continue my cross-trainer addiction. Unfortunately, the gym had 2 very old cross trainers which were in use for most of the time. It did however, have four treadmills. So, I started walking. Then, I started running. Then, I ran my first 5k. Eventually, this became a daily routine and I started a gym membership to test my lungs when I quit smoking after 11 years of the habit, by running 7k daily.
In June of 2015, I saw a poster for the Super Sports 5 mile run and joined. It was my first ever road race and I finished it faster than my usual treadmill pace and I was proud. I immediately signed up for another race, and another, and another. In August 2015, I won my first-ever trophy from running at the Human Run. It was for third place in my age group for finishing a 10k in 52 minutes and 30 seconds. I was elated. At this point, I stopped focusing on calories in minus calories out, and took to eating for better performance.
In September 2015, I decided to register and train for a half marathon in November of the same year. I looked up training plans online and followed Hal Higdon’s on a treadmill for a couple of months. My first half marathon (The Standard Chartered Bangkok Marathon 2015) almost ended in tears however, as 6 kilometers was added on, It was the longest distance I’d ever run in my life (27.6km), and from then, I decided to focus on the 10k distance. I won a total of 5 trophies in 2015, and 12 trophies in 2016.
In December of 2015, a follower on instagram who had started giving me tips on my half marathon asked me to join Crazy Running Club, a group of Thai runners who trained in Bangkok at the Thephasdin stadium. I accepted, and ventured over to the nearby venue to find that athletics tracks were, oh, so soft! It was from then onwards that I started training off the treadmill, and I’ve been a frequent runner there since. I’ve had friendly tips and advice and training plans from the people there. In February 2016, I had my first major injury- a pain in my piriformis that refused to go away for most of the year. In mid 2016, I started to run with the other, mainly men, who trained there for my interval sessions. I later ventured out to the nearby Lumpini park for long runs on weekends. The two places have now become my main training grounds.