“I used to be a runner, I used to be a runner” I said to myself for the hundredth time trying to get myself back into running again and failing miserably. But it just wasn’t happening and I had seriously lost my mojo and my faith in myself.
In fact I did used to be a great runner, but a long drawn out divorce coupled with me having to return to full time work for the first time in 8 years whilst trying to be mum to 2 young children was bloody hard and trying to find time to exercise was even harder. I just couldn’t do it. My head and heart wasn’t it and I was beating myself up trying to make the time to fit it all in. One day I decided enough was enough there wasn’t enough of me to go round or enough hours in my day to fit running in. I was on my own and exhausted. So I stopped.
Roll on 18 months later, my life had settled down and I decided that I needed to get back out and do something, except that I just could not get back into it again. I tried and failed numerous times. In all honesty It was too hard, I was bored and It wasn’t enjoyable.
In May 2018 I gave a 10k a go with my now current partner and although I had put a bit of training in I struggled throughout both mentally and physically and I all could think of was the fact a few years ago this would have been easy. It was made even worse by the fact that my partner who doesn’t run at all came in miles ahead of me. What was wrong with me I kept asking?!! Again I stopped and gave in as I had lost faith in myself.
Later on that summer I saw a social media advert for Verity’s new beginners class starting in my local area. I had seen a friend who was smashing her running who already a member of the club so I thought you know what I have nothing to lose and I put my name down.
That first evening I was excited but very nervous all at the same time, but I didn’t need to be nervous. We were all welcomed with smiles, open arms and a plan for the next 8 weeks course and the reassurance that we were all in this together and we weren’t alone. It was so refreshing to be in a non competitive environment with lots of like minded people who were all there for the same goal....To be able to run, and in the right way.
I had never properly been tought to run before and the warm ups and drills and the knowledge we were learning as the weeks went past was invaluable and more to the point I was enjoying myself! The only set back came around week 3 of the beginners course when I went for a routine GP appointment and they wanted me to jump on the scales. And of course I was told my BMI was too high and I needed to make changes. Just what you want to hear when your 6ft and a big boned girl! I know I am never going to fit ‘standard requirements’ but when you make the decision to get back into excerise as I had done it was crushing all the same. I had a cry on the way home and thought what really is that point I may aswell just give up again.
Thankfully by the time I had got home Verity's weekly article on her membership page was available to read and it was all about nourishment and health for your body. It really resonated with me, something clicked and I thought to myself, medical professionals should be recognising what we are achieving rather than trying to get us to conform to a set of outdated statistics.
In my job we call this the Strengths Based Approach. Assess people on their ability to be able to do something and not what they can’t.
After reading the article I was thinking I don’t have to starve myself to lose weight. I’m exercising, i can eat healthily and fuel myself in the correct way.
So I pushed on anyway and I completed the 8 week course successfully, and with pride finished with a park run for the first time.
I can honestly say hand on heart I have not looked back.
You cannot underestimate the support that a group can give you. The friendship, the camaraderie, the support when it’s going great but also when it’s tough. I love my weekly evening run with the group, the longer weekend runs and a chance to push myself, and the lone runs that I can now do because I have been taught the skills to do so.
And I can now say to myself... ‘I am a runner’ and say it with my head held high.