What made you get into running?
This came from 3 places all at the same time.
- I used to walk every Monday with my local friend, another mum, with the children too. Having a chat and being outdoors was doing us both good. She decided to up the walk to a run but I wasn’t convinced I wanted to so she started going herself. Eventually I did end up running with my friend we did our first parkrun together in March 2014. I wore a coat, hoody, a woolly jumper and a fleece scarf!
- I met a guy who was a triathlete and a member of a tri team. He was always too busy training or at an event to meet up much but really lovely chap and enthusiastic about his sport. He didn’t encourage me to start running but he was a definite influence to begin. I liked how busy he was at training sessions and events. Being outside rather than home indoors sounded like the opposite of what I was doing. He was the person who told me about parkrun.
- Mid 2013 I moved offices and while making tea in the kitchen I overheard a man talking about his sporting event that weekend. I discovered that he ran a marathon event once a month as well as cycling and gym work. He is also trained in nutrition. This particular year he was beginning his Marathon de Sables training and it was great fun hearing the stories of what was working, what didn’t work, kit purchasing, motivational talks, hot yoga as well as all the distance running. This is when he said, “You know so much about all this stuff now, you could do it too!” And that was it…I started to learn how to run.
What has been your proudest/best running moment?
Going from only being able to run for 30 seconds without stopping to a parkrun 8 weeks later was very good but my training had given me confidence in my ability. 6 months later I pushed myself from 5k to 10k so I could take part in the #ukrunchat team challenge, which was a 10k virtual run in September 2014 and resulted in my first medal. My first 10k race was a multi terrain course not far from where I live, completing that, actually competing in that was my proudest moment.
What has been the biggest challenge you have faced?
I knew that I loved hearing the stories of events but actually attending one was quite daunting. Strangers put me on edge, I’m not a fan of crowds and I’m not great with new places. When I first started running, whenever I saw someone I would stop and walk. I would walk the main road and only run on the side streets when I felt more alone. The park helped as there are only a few people there but I still can’t run when the cricket is on. In June 2014 I was encouraged to attend a running event as a spectator so I could go through the process of an event but leave if I hated it. The race pens looked hideous but I learnt that I can always start at the very back. I met a lot of #ukrunchat people that day and I really enjoyed the whole experience. I ran the same event in 2015.
Who is your inspiration, and why?
This is difficult for me to answer as I’ve never really been one for watching sport but while going through the process of Marathon des Sables with my work colleague I started reading a lot of amazing blogs. There is inspiration to be found everywhere. Epic travels and journeys made by ordinary people challenging themselves in ways I never would. Highly skilled racers, speedy runners, endurance athletes are all inspiring. I also find inspiration in the way people behave towards others, encouraging and sharing their life experiences.
What are your future goals?
It wasn’t long ago that I never set a goal. I set myself a goal to complete a half marathon, it took a huge effort to book the race I then set myself on a plan and followed it through to the end, so I’m glad I booked it and am now a half marathon runner. My current goal is to complete another half but I haven’t found one I can do yet. I’m also not writing off running a marathon in the future but I’m not ready for that yet. I joined a running club so hopefully they will help me keep on top of it all.
What would be your one piece of essential advice to someone looking to start up running?
For someone looking to start running I would say start now. Why wait for the beginning of a month or beginning of a week to get going? Look up someone to either run with or talk to about your journey, there will be so many questions but also lots of people who know the answer, or just their version of an answer. There are often many answers to the same question. Trust your instincts. Injuries should be treated professionally. Pace or distance isn’t important. Feeling happy is important. Don’t give up. Training will improve you. Start again as many times as you like. Failure is not a bad thing, it’s just another opportunity to learn. You are the best at being you. Oh no, that’s more than one piece of advice!
What is your favourite piece of running kit?
This is easy. My OMM Kamleika race jacket. I read a review of the kit and it basically said that cheap jackets had never worked as well at keeping you dry. I took a punt and I love it. It means that I never look out the window to decide on whether to run or not, I can just go, my coat works. Easy 2nd place goes to Buff headwear (for my neck and also used to cover my mouth and nose when the atmosphere is making my lungs hurt.
What’s your favourite thing about running?
My favourite thing about running is how it’s changed me as an individual. I do a lot more things with other people. I’m outside more. I even understand more about pushing my limits and improving. It’s a way of life I like. I’m also partial to a bit of bling!
As it’s Women In Sport Week: What do you think is the biggest challenge for women runners, & how do you overcome them?
My biggest challenge as a woman would be choosing the right sports bra, not getting chafing in delicate places, managing the monthly cycle so it doesn’t get in the way and being confident enough to talk about it. How do I overcome them…ask Twitter!