What made you get into running?
Prior to May 2012, I had barely run. I didn’t enjoy it at school and I certainly wasn’t into as an adult. My husband on the other hand had just completed his first marathon in London, in April 2012. For 7 months I had endured running talk of miles ran, training schedules, minute miles, calories burned etc etc and I was bored silly. I watched him in the marathon with our 2 children and everyone said it would be so emotional it would make me want to take up running- it didn’t. A few weeks after the marathon, we were having drinks on a Friday night and again the run talk started- yawn, so I decided to look into it with a ‘if you can’t beat them join them’ attitude. In May 2012 I joined a local back to running ladies group where we walked a few minutes, ran a few minutes. There my love of running started and I have never looked back.
What has been your proudest/best running moment?
My proudest running moment has to be completing my first marathon, in London 2014 after less than 2 years running. I had no idea how my body or mind would cope with the challenge of running 26.2 miles and I was petrified of hitting the wall. No wall was hit and I loved every single mile and minute. I simply beamed the whole way round- the crowds and atmosphere were amazing, and it is a day I will never forget. When I ran towards the finish line I simply didn’t want to cross it as I didn’t want the experience to end. Nothing will ever beat the feeling of being a marathoner for the first time!
What has been the biggest challenge you have faced?
Many of my followers will know about my most recent marathon experience at the Thames Meander trail marathon on November 7th. The build up hadn’t been ideal, I certainly had not put the hours of training in I had for my previous 3. It was only ever a training run for my up coming ultra run on December 5th, but I still had to run the distance. I came down with a heavy cold which developed into a sore throat and chesty cough on the Monday. My daughter had to have an emergency routine operation at Great Ormond Street Hospital on the Thursday before- all adding to my marathon stress. I was stuck up in London, on a hospital ward when all I wanted to be was curled up at home in bed. I tried to recover on the Friday by having a quiet day, and decided to go ahead with the marathon on the Saturday. Hindsight is a wonderful thing- looking back now, I know I should have been a DNS. The weather that day was the worst I had encountered- howling wind, horizontal rain making the trail wet, muddy and miserable. I started off OK chatting to other UKrunchatters and even ran the first 6 miles with @ultraboyruns. 11 miles was where it all went wrong. The weather had become even more unbearable, I was isolated, I felt poorly and my right hamstrings was sore and cramping. I stopped dead in my tracks and burst into tears- it was a cry for help! The next 5 miles, I have no real recollection of, apart from phone calls and tweets of desperation. With the amazing support of many, very special ukrunchat people and my family, I got through those tough miles with a combination of running, walking and crying. Somehow, after crashing head first into a brick wall at 11 miles, I got through the next 16.2. Thames Meander marathon was by far my biggest challenge, but as I look back now I realise how poorly I was, how foolish maybe I was to run, but how proud I am of myself for not giving up, but carrying on to earn my medal. If it wasn’t for the love and support of my fellow twitter running friends and Mark at home, I don’t know if I would have been able to complete it. Thames Meander was by far my biggest challenge, but I conquered it!
Who is your inspiration, and why?
As corny and cheesy as it sounds, it has to be every single runner on UKrunchat. From those that have done C25K, pb’d on a 10k, completed their first half marathon, ran their target marathon time, ran their dream race post injury in secret (Nat) to the crazy ultra runners on here. Some of you are even REDs!!! Every one of you inspires me with your courage, determination and drive, but also the support that is given to fellow runners. This is what makes @ukrunchat such an amazing running community- I have never known such positive encouragement.
What are your future goals?
As for future goals, I have 2 of them which I would love to achieve. I turn 40 (argghh) next summer so my first goal is to complete a proper ultra marathon before then- not a training run ultra. I have a few in mind, now I just have to convince a few of my crazy friends to run them with me. My 2nd goal is to achieve a GFA place for the London marathon in 2018. I will be 41 by then meaning my entry time would need to be sub 3.50- current pb is 3.53 so hopefully if I keep running and improving I will get there.
What would be your one piece of essential advice to someone looking to start up running?
The advice I would give is to join a beginner running club so you can run and train with like minded people to make those first few runs less scary and more enjoyable. You are more likely to go out in the cold, dark or wet if you are running with others or are accountable to someone. Also, become part of Ukrunchat and join team BLUE- simple. You will get advice, support and friendship with other runners. I have made some very special friends from the running community whom I love dearly and are now friends for life.
What is your favourite piece of running kit?
My favourite piece of running kit probably has to be my BLUE Nathan 2 bottle running belt. I wear it for every race even when I know there will be ample drinks supplied. Its like my security blanket- I can have my own drinks and gels and it never ever slips or moves.
And finally, what’s your favourite thing about running?
My favourite thing about running has to be the buzz I get from every run. Whether its a solitary speed session where I break a certain pace, leading my Monday running girls to a new distance pb, pacing someone to a new race pb, running in the rain when everyone else is still in bed, running in a team relay or setting my own race pb. After every run, I always feel a real sense of accomplishment, achievement and success. I can call myself an actual runner, something I never thought I would say 3.5 years ago.