I had no idea that the events of 26th June 2017 would have such a huge impact on my life. I dropped the big girls at school, took the boy to nursery and popped into Sports Direct. I spent £50 on a pair of trainers, a sports bra, capris and a top. I strapped little miss into the (completely unsuitable) buggy, put some tunes on my phone and set off on a run/walk.
I did 6k in 42 minutes and earned my first virtual medal, the RMR finishers medal, for completing 5k. I went out again on the Wednesday and the Friday. I took part in my first Parkrun that Saturday and so the cycle began. I ran with the buggy when boy was at nursery, with my big girls on a Friday pm when Mr W got home and Saturday morning was parkrun.
First proper race was a 5k Race for Life in Taunton with the girls. We ran the whole 5k, no walking and stayed together to cross the finish line. Somewhere along the line Mr W convinced me to sign up for the Great South Run in October with two friends, told me it would add focus to my training a give me something to aim for! By this point I could run/walk 10k but 10 miles was a whole other ball game.
I was doing this all by myself. I had no training plan, knew nothing of how to increase mileage safely, gait analysis, correct trainers, technique. I just laced up my trainers and ran. I quite quickly bought a second hand Phil & Teds buggy for running and the second seat meant it could go out with boy smalls if necessary. The most I covered with double trouble was 7 (painful) miles but I did the full 10 miles with little miss.
I’d been running 2 months when we moved to Cornwall and it was then that my running life changed. On a whim I signed up for Truro Half Marathon on 17th September 2017. I’d covered 10 miles on 3 separate occasions so this was ‘just a parkrun’ more. It didn’t feel that way on the day that’s for sure!
I’d been running for just 12 weeks when I completed Truro in 2:43:57. The emotions I felt when I crossed that finish line was something I can’t even begin to explain. I’d run a Half Marathon! Me. The girl who didn’t run.
When we moved to Cornwall I joined JP Fitness and went along to 2 buggy friendly running sessions a week. I learned how to tackle hills (essential in Cornwall), correct form and most importantly – made friends. This is by far the best decision I ever made and made the move even further away from family that little bit easier.
Those cheap trainers didn’t last long and straight after Truro I could barely run a mile without pain. I went for gait analysis and came out £100 poorer but with properly fitted trainers – what a revelation! Great South Run was only a few weeks away and 10 flat miles would be easy in comparison to 13.1 miles of hellish hills. Except I never did do GSR. The day before I was due to leave for Portsmouth I rolled my ankle on a gentle 5k through Penrose and tore the ligaments. No running for me.
I was out for 3 weeks and just 5 weeks later raced again. This time it was a 5 mile road race and it felt so good to be back.
From here I just got stronger. January 2018 I set myself the challenge to run every day and had planned to run 6 half marathons in 2018. The first 13 days went really well. I felt strong and was improving every day. Then I broke my ankle.
6 weeks (and two cancelled races) later I was back. I took it easy, increased my miles slowly and in May ran Plymouth Half Marathon. My first race as part of team JP and a new PB! Despite the searing heat and niggling ankle pain I took 5 minutes of my time.
3 weeks later I travelled to Yeovil with 3 other JP ladies and ran Heron Half Marathon. Taking another 4 minutes off for another PB!
This year has been something else. It’s changed me so much and I can’t imagine my life without running. I run 4-5 times a week, own 3 pairs of trainers, 12 pairs of leggings and shorts in various lengths, 6 sports bras and numerous race tshirts and vests. I’m no longer on medication for depression, I’m fitter than I ever have been and I’m proud to be a positive role model for my children. But most importantly? I have a whole rack of bling now 😂
Best £50 I ever spent!!! Here’s to the next year …