Two years ago I was unfit, unhealthy, unmotivated. I was fed up. When I started my current job, the company offered free gym membership, so I took it on thinking I’d give it a go. I didn't really enjoy it though, and always lacked motivation.
At that time I was living about 30 minutes’ walk from work. To save money on transport, I decided to walk in every morning. It was a nice walk, and I enjoyed being outdoors, getting some fresh air - even the rain didn’t really put me off!
A year later, I moved house and was now five miles from work. I didn’t think I could walk the entire journey, but I’d enjoyed the walking so I decided to walk half way, and then catch a bus the remaining distance. A few months later, I was walking the whole way without a bus in sight.
One day, as I wandered along the path, I thought to myself: “if I could run this journey, I’d get home much faster!” So I tried it. At first, it wasn’t a pretty sight. Although the walking had made me more fit, I was still far from an Olympic athlete and there was a lot of stopping and starting! After a little while though, I was in my zone; running to and from work, with my bag, in the rain, only stopping for a couple of small breaks here and there.
I met a personal trainer who helped me to run my first 3 mile stint without stopping for breaks. The excitement, the rush I felt from achieving that was amazing. The sudden realisation: “I can do this!” I’d always thought I was just a bit crap at sports, destined to be a bit overweight, not “built” for running - but look what I’d just done! I can do this! It was such a buzz, and a massive confidence boost for me.
An old friend who was into running convinced me that I should run a race with him… for some reason I agreed to a marathon! We trained together, and we reached the finish line together - but with my lack of knowledge and training, I was in agony and put off running for a while.
In November 2013 I looked at myself in the mirror and thought, What happened? I was unfit and unhealthy again, and I felt like crap for it. I used to love running, I had enjoyed it until I’d tried to run a marathon… perhaps I should start again. So I dug out all my old kit, and hit the road again. After such a long spell of doing no exercise at all, I lacked confidence. When I’d trained for the marathon, I’d always run with my friend and now I was out there on my own, I worried about what people would think of me. Were they watching me, thinking “what does she think she’s doing?” Was I doing it properly? A hundred and one things went through my mind, torturing myself about how I looked to other people.
After time, my confidence grew and I found that I didn’t care if people were watching me; let them stare! I was enjoying myself! I stopped hiding from other runners in the street; instead I would smile, say hi, and continue my run. I started to feel like actually, I was one of them; actually, I was a runner!
In December 2013 I went through a really rough patch. There were problems at work, family issues, I split up with my partner in a very unpleasant way, and my mother and step-father were both very ill. I was under a lot of pressure, and I really don’t think I could have coped with any of it without my early morning or late night runs. Going for a long run at the end of a horrible day helped to clear my mind, and to focus on what I was doing. I realised that running had become my drug; I was addicted. I love running!