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The most I had run before was after the ice cream van! by Charlotte

For someone with anxiety who talks… a lot, I decided to stop letting my mouth and mind run wild, and instead train so my legs did.

Two years ago, in March 2017, I couldn’t run.

Well I could, for about a minute and then I’d stop, recover for two, tell that voice in my head that I could do this and start my legs moving again.

The most I had run before was after the ice cream van!

I’d just bought my first house and was working full time.

I’d come from a very lively office to a silent house, and would find myself letting my anxiety fill the silence.

It could have been a fast spiral, it could have been the start of a bad patch and it could have been the norm for this new home of mine.

Then a friend, a long time runner, encouraged me to sign up for my first 10k… and as they say, the rest is history.

I started with the couch to 5k app, and it really helped my confidence grow.

I’d go out with headphones on, listening to my favourite album and run along the seafront where I live.

It was never easy for me.

Just to even get my trainers on and get out the door would be an internal fight, I just didn’t understand this amazing drive people had to get out and run, until one day it clicked.

Switch off.

Switch off your little prompt in your ear that could be either the devil or an angel on your shoulder depending on how fast that last kilometre was.

Switch off the voice that says you’re not good enough.

Switch off the pressure of feeling like ‘I haven’t got a runner’s body’.

For me, running is not about time. It’s not about that if it was faster or longer than the last time I went out.

Instead of feeling the dread and guilt of not being good enough or not improving enough, I started to feel the running euphoria everyone talked about.

I listened to my body, instead of my mind, and I found my pace.

Now, two half marathons later, six 10kms and many regular clear-my-mind-run-for-fun runs, I love this body of mine more than ever.

These thighs carry me across finish lines, this mind is determined and #thisgirlcan.

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Many thanks to Charlotte for sharing her story. #MentalHealthMatters

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