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Tuesday 8 October 2019

Finding Running in my Thirties

This is a post that quite honestly I never thought I'd be writing in a million years. My relationship with exercise over the years had been next to non existent until March this year.

Having hit 30 years of age in December 2018, I thought I was content and happy with my rather laid back (read lazy) lifestyle. That was until I decided to do a Parkrun on a whim when visiting my Dad...

I hadn't done a Parkrun in around three years but thought to myself it's "only a 5k, I can do that easy!" Having done no exercise let alone running for three years I soon realized a mile in that actually it's really quite hard. I couldn't breathe and everything hurt which led me to give up and that point I thought oh f*ck and cried... At that moment it dawned on me just how unfit I was and if I didn't do anything about it now, it would only get worse as I got older. I was also quite angry at myself for letting myself give up so easily and not have the will power to continue so two days later I downloaded the "Couch to 5k" app and my love for running was born.

I remember my first few runs with the couch to 5k app, running for 90 seconds then walking for 60 and so on but it was manageable and thought- yes finally I've found something I enjoy! Being outdoors and in the countryside ignited so many feelings of joy for nature and the feeling of freedom- something that has massively helped to improve my mental health. Before I knew it I'd completed the twelve week challenge and could run a full 5k- something I don't think I'd ever done before. Yes I could run a 5k before that but did I stop to walk a bit? Yes. Do I do that now? Nope! And that's what led me to head to Run Fest Run- a running event that i'd highly recommend to all runners but especially newbie runners like myself as the atmosphere, the community, the people and the fun races really help to boost your confidence!

During my couch to 5k running, a friend of mine recommended a book called "Running Like a Girl" by Alexandra Hemmingsley. I bought it straight away and oh my goodness the way that woman writes about running is simply mesmerising. She talks about everything from people in her life being pessimistic about her running a marathon, to completing several marathons and how running has helped her not only with her fitness but to build relationships with her family and friends. Her words were so uplifting to me that when the 2019 London Marathon was televised- i signed up... At this point I couldn't even run 5k but fuelled by Alexandra's words and a passion for my new found exercise, I signed up to the ballot and then shortly after signed up to the Manchester Marathon on the advice that you're guaranteed a spot if you sign up before a certain date.

So that near enough brings me to present day... I've signed up for a flipping marathon!! Having completed a 5k, the next challenge for me was a 10k and weirdly I managed to run further than that 4 weeks before the race! This really gave me the confidence I needed to know I could run the race. The race itself was the Bedford Twilight 10k which I did on my own. To tell you that I was a "tad" nervous is an understatement...Having ran 5k races with my husband prior, he was like my security blanket and would spur me on during the runs but this time I only had myself to rely on. As hard as it was, it gave me real character building and I proved to myself that I can do it and that I'm more resilient than I realised.

I'm currently training for a half marathon later in the year before the full on marathon in April whoop!

So what has running taught me?

Firstly, I find running is amazing for your mental health. I'd been hearing the likes of Fearne Cotton, Chris Evans, Vassos etc bang on about running many times before and thought oh for goodness sake it cant be that great but once you get into it, it really helps to clear your head and it's almost like being in a meditative state. When I run I feel all my worries, anxiety and fears disparate around me and all I concentrate on are my beautiful surroundings, my feet hitting the ground and my breathing. I love to run to music too and certain tracks on my playlist add to that feeling of freedom and happiness. And it's true what they say about the endorphins (who else thinks of dolphins when that word is used). I adore the feeling running gives me. It's much better than any drug, shopping splurge or alcohol can give you. If running is an addiction it's a bloody good one.

Now yes running can be wonderous and gorgeous and make you feel euphoric but don't get me wrong it can be bloody tough too. There are days when I really can't be bothered but hand on heart I can always say that regardless of how I feel prior to a run, I never regret a run once I'm finished. It's a sense of achievement and being like "wow" my body is amazing.

Through building up my mileage I have seen a change in my body. I haven't really lost weight as such but I've noticed that my legs feel strong and solid now. You can't grab jiggle anymore and my legs crave the pavement if I haven't run in a few days.

So that's my news and the best thing I've discovered since turning 30. I'll probably do some more running related posts on the lead up to the marathon and like I say it's really a brilliant tool for your mental health which has led me to run for Mind- the mental health charity for the Manchester Marathon. If you fancy sponsoring me you can donate here-

In the meantime, come say hi on Strava and talk to me all you like about running because I bloody love it!

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