Fit & Fab: Katie Hogue

PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 06 May, 2014, 11:59am
UPDATED : Tuesday, 06 May, 2014, 12:08pm

Watching her mother suffer from rheumatoid arthritis taught Katie Hogue two vital lessons: the value of her health, and the power of perseverance.

Which is why it's no surprise that the dynamic 32-year-old represents Hong Kong in women's cricket, in between leading an Asia-Pacific team for outsourcing company Alexander Mann Solutions.

She also runs her own sun cover-wear business, Suncreme. True to her New Zealand roots, Hogue hikes, plays netball and practises yoga.

She shrugs off the pain she experienced while completing the Barclays MoonTrekker 40-kilometre race last year with a broken toe. Only three weeks later, she hiked the 100-kilometre Oxfam Trailwalker.

"I feel when you're able-bodied, you've almost got an obligation to enjoy it," she says matter-of-factly. "Mum had a lifetime of not being able to do the things she used to love, like netball and athletics. I never saw Mum complain, even though I know the disease is debilitating. The human spirit is enduring."

Hogue admits that her passion for fitness took a backseat when she relocated to Hong Kong seven years ago. But after 2½ years of feeling that she resembled "a barbecued pork bun", she decided it was time for change.

"My health wasn't good, I was suffering a lot of headaches and I felt there was something missing. I forced myself to think about when I had been happy and fulfilled, and I realised I didn't have enough going on."

Hogue began training for a half-marathon and resumed hiking and playing netball before she had the idea to rekindle a former love: cricket.

Just two years later, she's the leading wicketkeeper in the Hong Kong women's league, and recently travelled to Japan to play a series of fixtures with the national team there.

Is there such a thing as having a work/life balance?

I think it's more about creating flexibility in your life.

Figuring that out was a big turning point for me. It's not about trying to finish work at a certain time, but creating flexibility to achieve what you need to do in your day and doing outside of work what fulfils you and sustains you. You have to make choices.

How do you fit in your pursuits ?

I don't watch a lot of television. Being busy is important - they say give something to a busy person and they'll get it done. Practically, I work on weekends, after work, and in my job I am lucky enough that I can arrange my schedule.

Hongkongers have more time than they realise. You don't need to do odd jobs like they do back home in New Zealand, like mowing lawns or cleaning the house. When you don't have a family, you are spoiled for personal time.

Plus, I just feel lucky to be able to do all the things I do, especially for mum. She loves to live vicariously through that.

What's your advice to someone looking to do it all?

Take one step at a time and ask for help. It's like hiking - you don't look all the way to the top of the mountain because you'd never make it.

All you do is put one foot in front of the other and look ahead; keep ploughing ahead. 

Can you explain your love affair with cricket?

Spending a whole day on the cricket field is my idea of heaven. Any activity where all you think about is that next ball or that next outcome is a form of escapism. Cricket requires an incredible combination of skill, concentration, confidence and sportsmanship.

It also requires quick reflexes: you might touch the ball only 10 times in a game, but you have to be ready for those 10 times. Plus, it's rich in tradition. Not many games have that.

Where does all your motivation come from?

I don't like to be idle and I don't like to be bored. I always want to challenge myself. If there's a difficult decision to be made, I'll probably take that route. The easy option to me is not a fun path. What do you ever learn from it?

What's your diet?

People say I'm a flexitarian. I was a vegetarian growing up, then I started to eat meat, then I became a pescetarian and then I got to a stage where I didn't know what I was. I have a vegetarian preference, but I still like to have a hamburger now and then. Someone once said to me, "You're a flexitarian". That's me.

How would you define the idea of happiness?

Being happy is appreciating what you've got and celebrating what you've got and what you can do, as opposed to comparing yourself with other people.

My two sisters and I are resigned to the fact that one of us may likely suffer from arthritis one day, like mum. I always think to myself, 'What will you regret more - doing it or not doing it?'

Usually, I would regret not doing something, so I give it a go. That's what makes me happy.