In August 2017 I decided to do something for myself once my youngest started school. My husband was a keen runner and had just completed his first marathon and I was in absolute awe of anyone who ran. Could I run? Someone who always made excuses to get out of PE, to join the gym, to go to a fitness class. I had never stuck to any sort of exercise and have had an unused gym membership 3 times.
Before I got married I was never happy with my weight, I wasn’t overweight just a bit squidgy and hid it well. I didn’t ever find the motivation to lose it/tone up and I was happy with how I looked on my wedding day but I think that was more down to the stresses of planning a wedding and trying to starve myself the few weeks leading up to it.
Once married I fell pregnant within a few months and that is when I started to put on weight. Too many cakes and biscuits and faddy diets that didn’t work, I then had my second baby 4 years later. A long time was spent being unhappy with my body and feeling very frumpy! One day I ran out of excuses and I said out loud ‘I’m going to change!’ I joined an online fitness group which meant I didn’t need to go near a gym and started with 2 workouts per week I could do at home and was advised what to eat and how to track it.
After a few months sticking to it and measuring myself (not just weighing) I felt so much better. We then go back to this day in August 2017.....the start of my journey. ‘Do you think I can run?’ I asked my husband ‘of course you can’ was his reply so as we had a rare child free day I asked him to take me around the block. I jogged, not very fast but I didn’t stop and I ran for a whole mile, I didn’t get laughed at, I didn’t pass out and I felt ok(ish) well ok enough to give it another go the next day. I did this same mile loop a few times getting slightly quicker and more confident with Liam for support.
I then ventured out alone I went a bit faster I ran a bit further but I always kept my house in the centre of my run just in case anything happened like I needed the toilet, I needed a drink, teenagers threw a bottle at me (genuine fear) or people laughed at me. Once my youngest started school in the September I decided on my day off I would go out to a local park and work up to 5k. Some weeks a friend would join me for support and sometimes I was alone but enjoyed being outdoors and more importantly the way I was feeling inside and out!
Clothes were starting to become too big; I was still eating very well and I felt great! I was supported by Liam and my family and encouraged to go for a run. By Christmas I had worked up to 5k and joined parkrun, I was so nervous to go to this 5k timed event each week and my biggest fear was would I be last? I think my first parkrun time was a respectable 34 mins and I loved going each week trying to better my time.
By February 2018 I was running 5k 3 times a week and was enjoying this new routine. With Liam marathon training again I decided to push myself and enter a 10k race. Hook 10k was in May so I had plenty of time to work up to this distance. I also decided to join the same running club (Hatch Warren Runners) as my husband and see if that helped my journey! This was the best thing I ever did, I have made some amazing running friends and have learnt so much since I joined them - I feel honoured to wear club colours at every race although in the early days I was worried people would think I was a professional and knew what I was doing, I still don’t!
So as you can guess 10k lead to signing up to a 10mile race and then a half marathon (although ironically the half came before the 10 mile race) I still don’t really class myself as a proper runner but I have a good laugh trying!
As things always escalate quickly I decided to enter the ballot for a local charity for the London Marathon and you never guess what? I got in!! Me who was never going to run a marathon got in!! It was to the pleasure of many friends from my running club as I had always been so adamant a marathon wasn’t for me. I decided to enter as I had been running consistently 4 or 5 times a week for almost 2 years and was the fittest I was ever going to be and IF I was to run a marathon this year would make the most sense and IF I was to run a marathon it had to be London right?
I read many articles on the internet about training plans and also looked at many tried and tested plans to compile my own 16 week plan which suited my lifestyle. It would be still running 4-5 times a week to begin with. I would include a intervals or hill session once a week, a slow run, a tempo run, a long run and the option for another run too if I so wished!
I managed to buddy up with a few other friends who are also running marathons around the same time as me and who are a similar pace. We have had the best training runs so far and it’s great to share this experience with them. They really are a massive support on and off the road and I don’t think my training would be going so well without them. We have also got a great support crew too (which includes Liam) who are encouraging us and joining parts of our runs to help us keep on going! So far the weather hasn’t been too kind with a named storm most weekends but this hasn’t stopped us!
This week I hit half-way through my training and the end is now in sight! I know March is going to be a massive mileage month for me and I am going to be exhausted trying to fit in life and work too, but I am also so excited to run distance PB’s every week and miles I never thought were possible to me! London here I come!
The old me always assumed I wouldn’t have time to fit in exercise around family life, work, various other activities I’m involved in but I make it work. (I also thought that I wouldn’t stick to running) I manage to fit in at least 4 runs per week with careful planning and willing babysitters. No one has ever laughed at me or thrown a bottle at me and I always feel amazing after every run.
Big thanks to Laura for sharing her running story and we love her final sentence - I always feel amazing after every run!
You can follow Laura on Instagram - laurasrunningjourney
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