Three years ago, in 2014, I made a tipsy deal at a friend’s party in January to take up running. We started in February.
Now I was NOT a runner. I’m capatalising that! I’ve never been sporty, hated exercise and much preferred reading a good book. But I was thinking about the baby weight that I’d been carrying around for longer then the baby bag and also that I wanted to be fit and healthy to be around for my children longer.
So we started running. When I tell you that I struggled to the end of my road, I promise I’m not exaggerating. I was woefully unfit and every minute felt like absolute torture. But I kept going. Slowly, very slowly, I got to go further and further distances and I very definitely got the running bug. I signed up for some smaller events, and some virtual races where you just have to log your time and they send you a medal, (bling is good motivation!), and I did the 10k Race for Life. Which hurt. So I have no idea what possessed me to sign up for the Cheltenham Half Marathon.
I must have been crazy! I think because I knew that I needed to have an operation that year and I didn’t know how long I’d be out for, I wanted to do something big.
The training was tough. Just getting the distance in for the training runs was hard. Have a think and try and work out how you would get a 10 mile run in near you and I bet even in a larger town it might be tricky. Especially hard as I get very bored and don’t like to run the same place twice! The worst moment was the one when it was starting to get dark and I was too far from home and pretty exhausted and a youth club kicked out as I puffed by! Their ‘encouragement’ definitely helped me to pick up the pace again to get the hell out of there.
I think 10 miles was my longest pre-race run and I was so nervous on the day. Lined up at the start, I felt so sick. All I wanted was to not be last! Honestly? It was hell, I found it tough from the start. There were some pretty steep hills on the course, worse because they are near the end, so unfair! Then the last bit is on the racecourse where supporters aren’t allowed. It’s so much harder when you don’t have the pressure of people watching you to force you to keep running.
I gave in to a really painful knee and ended up walking/limping some of the racecourse section but I was determined that my children saw me run over the finish line. I gathered everything I had and managed to run the end, even getting a little sprint up for the finish line.
My legs had turned to jelly before I’d made it to the medal point but I wobbled round to meet my family and just burst into tears. It felt like such an achievement and I think I was also just quite relieved it was over! I was out for quite a long time after my op, and I have struggled to get back into it since but I can still go out and run a few miles and I think this year might be the one to sign up for a few events to keep me motivated.
So if you are wondering whether to even bother starting to run, thinking that you’re too unfit, please remember that everyone starts somewhere and absolutely everyone finds it tough at the beginning. Still now some runs feel easy and others like torture but one thing I’m guaranteed is that I always always feel good after!