In 2009, after the birth of my fourth child, I was at my heaviest weight.
Although I had always been an active person, I used my pregnancies as an excuse to ‘eat for two’ – and boy did I!
So, as you can imagine, that June I was left with not only a beautiful baby girl (and she is a beaut!) but also 5 stones of unwanted fat that made me feel unhealthy, overweight and really bloody unhappy.
Once I had got over the fuzzy head and emotional debilitation of caring for a newborn alongside 3 other children, I decided that I needed to do ‘something’, anything that would get my heart pumping.
I was so ashamed of my body that I didn’t dare go to the gym. I didn’t want anyone to see me, I hated the fact that I had let myself get so large.
Someone suggested running to me. “WHAT?!”, was my first thought. How the hell could I run? I got a sweat on just climbing the stairs! And that was not an understatement.
But one night I decided enough was enough. I put on some stretchy tracksuit bottoms, a large t-shirt, some old trainers and I ventured out. My aim was to run to the layby (approximately a mile from my house) and back again. But I realised pretty quickly this was not going to be possible, as I was out of breath by the first corner, so I decided that I would run/walk. Run for a minute and then walk, etc. When I got to the layby I was DYING (well, not really, but you know what I mean). I was slumped over a fence and a friends husband, who was passing by in a car, later told me I looked like I was ‘blowing out my arse’. Nice eh?!
Anyway I managed to make it back home and, after a few days of muscle ache (technically they’re called DOMS), I set myself a target of going out again. I knew that I needed to keep the activity up in order for it ever to feel any better.
And, you know what, it did start to feel better. I set myself little targets like ‘run for an additional 5, 10, 15 minutes’ or ‘go to the next bus stop’. Little by little the miles started to add up and, before I knew it (well, a few months later) I thought I could try a 10k (6.2mile) race.
Now, I’d never done anything like that in my life and it was the scariest, toughest but most exhilarating fitness thing I’d ever done. My whole family came with me and they were so proud. Yes; I was one of the last but it didn’t matter because I had achieved something I had worked really, really hard for. And there’s no better feeling than seeing your hard work pay off.
Since then I have set myself other running targets. A few months after that 10K I joined a local running group which I still LOVE. It’s called Stroud Athletics Club and it’s amazing to share my training and races with like-minded people who want to better themselves and choose running as a sport to do this on a physical level.
I have trained to compete in many different distance races from 5k (3.1miles) to full marathons (26.2miles).
In 2016 I will compete in my 7th marathon – London – and I have to pinch myself to believe how far I have come since 2009.
I’ve seen different countries because of running and have made life-long friends. And I want to help other people to not only do this; but to be healthier, more active, manage their weight, fight depression and have fun…. All things that running has given me.
I would have loved to have had a group such as Stroud Mums on the Run available for me 6 years ago. As I believe in the motivational force of women striving to meet their goals together. We are powerful!
I’m so glad and feel so excited to be able to offer this lifechanging opportunity to women from 2016. Join me!