SWANTON — Two and a half years ago, Swanton resident Kayse Machia, 28, stepped onto a scale, looked down and saw a number she wasn’t expecting: 298.
Just shy of 300 pounds.
The number shocked her system and encouraged Machia to completely change her lifestyle choices, eating more fruits and vegetables and working out at the local gym.
Now at 175 pounds, Machia will compete in Mudderella New England, a five plus mile obstacle mud run for women, next month in New Hampshire.
“I’ve kind of always been overweight for as long as I remember,” Machia said. Despite seeing 298 on the scale, Machia knows she topped 300 pounds before deciding to switch things around.
“I was not happy with myself,” she said. “I didn’t like what I saw. I finally told myself, ‘Alright. I’m going to start going to the gym.’”
Machia started going to Train Station in St. Albans every other day, gradually adding in more workouts.
“When I started to lose weight, it became addicting,” Machia said. She began to prepare more meals at home and eat more fruits and vegetables. When exercise routines became repetitive, she found a gym buddy and began attending spin and kickboxing classes.
Over the winter, Machia and her friend Amber won the eight-week workout challenge at the gym. “It’s great to have those kind of friends who will get you off the couch and into the gym,” she said.
She also started running five-kilometer races. After racing a few, Machia wanted to make things a little more interesting and take things to the next level.
“This year, I wanted to push myself,” she said, signing up for the Mudderella on July 30.
The run is a little more “challenging,” Machia said. “It pushes you to really see how strong you are. Just looking at the course, I thought, ‘God. I don’t know if I can do that.’”
“But once you’re actually there, at the event, the adrenaline rush is amazing,” she said, speaking from her experience with other obstacle races. “It allows you to do things that you never thought you could do.”
Machia said she’s most excited about finishing the course. “I haven’t done anything of this extent yet,” she said. “If I make it all the way, I’ll be ecstatic.”
“I’ll prove to myself that I can do it,” she continued. “It’ll show me personally how far I have come physically with everything.”
To finish the entire course, Machia will have to traverse deep pits, scale walls and get elbow deep in mud. The majority of the obstacles are difficult to overcome without the help of fellow female participants.
The Mudderella’s catch phrase is that it’s a run “created for women, by women.” The organization has partnered with Futures Without Violence and will pass along all the proceeds raised by participants to the non-profit in order to help protect women against domestic and sexual violence.
“The run is a way to bond with other women,” Machia said. “Its great. Women are usually so judgmental of each other, but you come together at these events. It doesn’t matter who you are or what you look like. Everyone is there for the same reason.”
Machia said there is always a helping hand.
To learn more about Mudderella New England or to sign up, visit www.mudderella.com/events/new-england-2016/