Maybe best to start off from the beginning with how I got to be here, calling myself a running mum. Foremost in my life come my children…everything else takes second place; to me, that’s what the job of a parent is. I decided to start this running thing at the end of May last year and I could blame my lack of exercise to that point on them (blame isn’t necessarily correct; ‘using them as an excuse’ might be better). However, the fact remains that, as a working single mum, finding the time (and energy) to commit to regular exercise was difficult.
Then they reached an age when I felt that they needn’t be an excuse any longer.
My background: I dabbled in kettlebells about 8-9 years ago, but ended up injuring my shoulder which resulted in keyhole surgery to clean up frayed cartilage. I loved kettlebells before the injury though because I could (virtually) see my ‘baby fat’ falling off me, it was convenient because I didn’t need to leave the house in order to do it and, apart from the initial cost of the bell, it was free. When I was at school I enjoyed sport, but was never one of the best and if I did any running it was short distances: sprints. I did go to a local running club session with my younger sister once (who was pretty good at it; still is) and I ended up pushing myself so much that by the time we returned to my Mum I could hardly breathe and felt horrendous for many hours afterwards.
From that point on my mantra was: ‘I can’t run’.
Last year, I was out one evening on a walk around the river with my 3. My girls had run on ahead and I was with my eldest (son) and I started to (very, very) gently jog along the path after them. When I caught up with them by the park, I realised that I wasn’t out of breath and a tiny, tiny little thought popped into my head that maybe this was a thing. A sign. I had already seen posts on Instagram about people doing the Couch to 5K programme and I started discussing with my 3 whether I should give it a go. Two of them reported that they should come out with me when I first go ‘in case anything happens’. I think they thought I might fall over or faint or maybe even something worse.
I had my own worries: I didn’t want people to see me; I go bright red when I exercise and that would be embarrassing; I didn’t want to try to find that I couldn’t do it and end up a failure; I didn’t want their dad to know because I didn’t want his added mocking thoughts or comments. So I made a plan: to download a Couch to 5k app, to not tell anyone until I was sure I could do it and to go out early morning or in the evening to minimise the risk of being seen. But my thought had pattern had already changed to: ‘Maybe I can run’.
My first run was on May 26th. My exercise lasted for 25 minutes with 6 individual minutes running. Today, my running aim is a half marathon later in the year and tomorrow I aim to run for 8.5 miles. And it makes me feel amazing. I’m not fast, but I’m getting quicker. I tell myself that the speed doesn’t matter, but actually, in my head, it does because it makes me feel like I’m getting better when I can run that little bit quicker. The only person I’m competing with is myself and I like that. And I now know that ‘I can run’.
And the other really fantastic thing is that my 3 are so proud of me.