My running journey stared three years ago, over a glass of wine. 'Let's run a half marathon' a family member said .. I'll do that I responded, not really knowing what a half marathon was or how running would would have such a positive impact on my life.
At this point I'd barely even run a mile, but I signed up, found a training plan and off I went. The first run was unbearable, so was the second, the third and the fourth but I plodded on with the half marathon in sight.
A few weeks later and inspired by my friend running the London Marathon, I thought to myself 'a half marathon? Great, but what about once I've done it? What happens then? What do I do?' 'Oh' I said, 'let's contact a charity and sign up to run next year.'
And that was it. My love for running began.
Running has helped me through various different scenarios, most without realising it.
Bereavement, by helping me take time out to think and understand what happened as well as push my feelings into something different.
Running has helped me manage anxiety, something that developed over time. With various work and life stresses there are days that I can't wait to get out of the door for some headspace.
Coping with depression, derived from anxiety, through running has eased the symptoms, helped me to think more clearly and made me feel empowered.
Self-esteem, at one point was so low but running has helped me to achieve and gain confidence. I run a race, I (I'm never first!) put my all in to it and I feel good. After achieving my initial goal of running the London Marathon I felt on top of the world, a feeling that I didn't want to end and it's a feeling that keeps coming back and the reason I continue to run.
Running has helped me manage various different situations and I continue to use it to my advantage, when I'm feeling down the fresh air, the sense of I can do this instantly makes me feel better, more human again and gets rid of the grey mist hanging around me.
Since my running journey began I've completed 2 marathons, 1 20-mile race, 7 half marathons, 9 10ks and many many miles in between. So many that, some might say I'm mental because I run?!
Ever keen to challenge myself, I've signed up to run 100 miles for Mind throughout May.