…That’s where it all started. It was an event that seems to have changed everything for me.
Emily (left) and Kate (right) Race for Life 2012
I’d done the same race in 2010 but alone. I’d trained for it on a treadmill that we’d set up in our conservatory. I’d never run before; I don’t really even know what made me sign up for the Race for Life that year. But I trained on the treadmill, 3 times a week through what was a very warm spring. Our conservatory is south facing so blessed with beautiful sunshine all day long. It was hot, I sweated a lot and I found the training really hard. But I did it and went on to finish the 5k race in around 32 minutes. But my running paused there for over a year. I didn’t run again until the spring of 2012 when me, Emily and our friend Vic decided to sign up for the Bedford Race for Life again. I’ll be honest, I didn’t train. I had lots of excuses, none of which I can remember now but they seemed valid at the time. Perhaps my dodgy ankle was to blame. But I got around. Vic flew home in super quick time, Emily put in a marvellous effort so I sent her to run on without me half way round when I thought that I might actually have to sit down. But I got around in about 35 minutes and felt elated after.
It was probably a mixture of euphoria that running gives me coupled with the hideous pictures that were posted on Facebook a few hours later that pushed me to that light bulb moment. That moment when you realise something has to change and the only person who can do that is yourself. I had to lose weight. I didn’t like the way I looked but more importantly, I hated the way I felt. I’ve got inflammatory arthritis in most joints but particularly in one ankle and one hip. I knew that being 4 stone over weight really wasn’t helping the pain nor the feeling of exhaustion that I carried around with me day in day out. I think being surrounded by women who were running for a cause made me realise that life is so short and I really ought to grasp it with both hands and run. Literally.
So Emily and I began pounding the streets. Those runs in the early autumn of 2012 changed my attitude towards running and I saw it in a totally different way. The euphoria at the end was the same but the actual run was different. It was fun. We chatted our way around our route- first run walking 2 miles then run/walking 2 miles with a few hills and finally, on a wet and overcast weekend afternoon we ran 5k non-stop together. It was then that I realised I could do this. I could actually be someone who took part in and enjoyed exercise. I was running out of choice. It was nothing short of a miracle.
Vic, Emily and I entered more races, we were hooked. There were times leading in to the winter that I felt as though it was all being snatched away from me though. My ankle was very swollen and the pain was radiating down my foot. I struggled to walk, let alone run so took a few weeks off. I feared that it would never feel better or that my enthusiasm for running would wane. But it didn’t, if anything it spurred me on to lose weight and to learn more about my body.
It was a short while after Christmas that we started to look in to running groups that we could join. There are a few locally; we thought we were so lucky to have a choice. But none of them fitted in with our childcare arrangements- they all started too early and when we delved a bit more we realised how far we had to go before we could join the ranks of a running group without feeling like the kid on the playground that gets picked last for everything.. We were deflated but at least we had each other. We continued to enter races, to learn about different methods of training and to play around with nutrition. We were losing weight, getting fitter, seeing muscles that we didn’t realise we even had (and then applying liberal amounts of ice when we were ‘oh so’ aware of them!) As we clocked up the miles we began to see what running had given us- confidence, vitality, friendship and ‘me’ time. And we want other women to realise the same. A group for people like us, offering relaxed, fun sessions at a time that suits. We know it’s not easy at the start but we look back over the last 12 months and see how far we’ve come… and realise that anything is possible.
Love Kate xxx
(more from Em soon)
Race for Life 2013 Em (left) Kate (right)