12 January 2016
Tonight I ran my 5th run in my c25k.
I’m 41 this week and weigh over 18 stone. I have 2 beautiful daughters both of which do lots of sport which I am passionate about them continuing to do. I, like many other ladies, was sporty when I was younger, then went off to University, discovered boys and beer and my health deteriorated.
I met my husband when I was 25 and he, at that time was training for a half marathon (which he completed). I thought he was insane. I wrote off running as something that I could never do, nor would I ever be able to, but I was always a tiny bit envious.
Then I got married and the weight piled on….I lost about 2 stone to get pregnant (joined a gym – which I hated) and had my beautiful girls in 2006 and 2008.
I was now carrying “baby weight”. I am still carrying babyweight and my “baby” was 8 last week. Maybe this is why, but something in the past month has happened to me. I don’t quite know what it is, but I have snapped. Time to do something about this.
I am fed up with being fat, overweight, unhealthy, a terrible example to my daughters. I have to do something about it.
On the 26th December I bought myself a fitbit (I was hoping for one for Christmas, but I didn’t get one and sometimes you have to take charge of your own destiny). This was the beginning for me. My first step. I felt like I had turned a corner.
I started using it gradually. Firstly I simply recorded my steps – 10000 steps is a LOT. Then I started to record my calories. Despite eating (what felt like my bodyweight) in cheese between Christmas and New Year, I lost 4 pounds, purely (as far as I can tell) by completing 10000 steps each day.
c25k Week One.
This spurred me on. If I can lose weight over the Christmas period, then I really CAN lose weight. So I downloaded the Couch to 5k app onto my trusty Iphone. A friend who I recently bumped into had lost 3.5 stone by running and she swore by it. “it was the best thing she ever did” etc. If she can do it, then why not me?
So…nervously, I set out. Daughter 1 (Super sporty) was very excited by my decision. I am very careful around my daughters never to use language such as “diet” or “fat”, so I made a big deal about wanting to get “FIT”. Daughter 1 was determined to encourage me and said she would come with me for my first run. I was horribly embarrassed and didn’t want anyone to see me so we went over to the allotments. There is a concrete loop running around the perimeter that is quite flat (very important) so we set off.
It was hard. Very, very hard. Daughter 1 was running on ahead and then coming back (doing starjumps to pass the time as I struggled to catch her up) but was shouting encouragement to me at the same time. I felt strongly that this was something I had to do. I couldn’t let her see me fail.
I literally felt like my heart was going to explode from my chest, but I kept going. Running so very slowly that at times I felt like I was going backwards, but I KEPT going.
When the lady on the app told me that I had completed the first run, I nearly cried with emotion.
I hadn’t run for a minute since I was at school. It may sound like a small thing, but it wasn’t. It was huge. It made me believe that I can really do this. Imagine if I could get to a point where I could run 5k? That would be amazing. I could run home from work 3 times a week, I would be fit, healthy and importantly, I would be able to eat what I wanted – no more stupid yoyo dieting.
So the worst was over with. The first run. So I planned when I would do the following 2 runs.
On Tuesday morning I decided to do the second run on the way to work. This was a horrible mistake. I have learned a few things over the past week, but the most important is never to run on an empty stomach. I managed the run, was able to run for 60 seconds (just) but when I arrived at work, I sweated for 25 minutes solidly and then felt shaky and sick until 3 pm in the afternoon. Never again.
The final run of week 1 was on Thursday evening. I made sure I ate a good lunch and then ate a couple of large pieces of fruit before leaving the office. (I know all the athletes eat bananas but I am allergic to them so I needed an alternative – big apples seem to do the trick) As soon as I got home, I changed and went straight out. This time it was dark so I didn’t go to the unlit allotment on my own, I decided to try the local loop near my house. It was hard but ok. It didn’t seem any easier than the first run (Sunday) but it was much easier than Tuesday morning, possibly down to the fact that I had eaten. I wore a beanie hat pulled down low so nobody would recognise me (not that I saw anyone on my travels). I had completed week 1 and was absolutely elated. Seriously. You cannot imagine the sense of achievement that I felt. This was huge.
For the first time I actually felt that perhaps I COULD run 5k, but also I know that I have to take it one run at a time and not get ahead of myself.
The pain whilst I was running was real, real puffing, stitches, red face, sweating but the feeling about 45 minutes I had finished? Well this must not be underestimated. AMAZING. It felt AMAZING.
I was scared all over again. This week I was to run for 90 seconds.
Sunday was feeling like a lucky day for me so I had breakfast and set off up to one of the local parks. It has a perimeter loop that was (importantly as before) flat. I started listening to the podcast of Laura congratulating me on making it through to week 2 and as I started my warm up walk, I looked around the park. It wasn’t busy but there were people there. Mainly dog walkers and people like me, running/walking but definitely exercising. All running at different paces, different shapes, different sizes. Granted – there were a couple of Lycra clad wonders, who were running fast and were clearly super fit, but there were plenty of others who were working very hard with red faces and at least one other overweight lady sweating and shuffling her way around the loop. We smiled at each other as we passed each other – we knew how we looked but we were still there, challenging ourselves for the better.
The run was still very tough indeed but I am proud to say that I didn’t stop running until Laura told me I could – although on the penultimate run, I was running VERY slowly indeed but I kept going. When I finished, I walked the long way home. I was very pleased with myself and slowly was beginning to believe. My fitbit vibrated at 10000 steps – I was really doing this. I ate a big Sunday lunch and enjoyed it.
It’s now that I should mention some important people in my Iife. My husband, Sister 3 and sister in law.
My husband is brilliant in every way. He is supportive and extremely encouraging. Last night he said to me that when I get to 5k, I should keep going and get to 10k. If I can get to 10k then I should sign up for the half marathon and he would train with me.
Now my first reaction to this is “whooooaaaaa soldier, slow down there” but he is convinced I can do it. So I have said I will take each stage as it comes. When I get to 5k I will hopefully continue to go for 10k (the Bristol 10k is in May so this feels possible) but then I will consider the possibility of the half marathon. Can you imagine if I could run a half marathon?! But let’s bench that for now.
My sister is signed up to do the London marathon on April 24th this year. She is one of the most determined and stubborn individuals I have ever met. She can be infuriating but she is brilliant and I fully admire her. She decided that she would run the marathon and I have no doubt she will do it. She has been extremely encouraging to me. She has consistently said that I can run and most of my objections were in my mind. She also gave me the very valuable advice of running slowly.
Finally my sister in law. She is my fitbit buddy. She beats my step tally every single day but we support each other. She recently had my nephew who is 8 months old now and is the most gorgeous baby to have ever graced the planet (with the exception of my own daughters of course). To get pregnant with him, she had to undergo IVF and to be allowed to have IVF she had to reduce her BMI. She started to run to lose weight and she is going to start again and I am going to support her.
A few moments ago, we signed up for a 5k colour run.
This evening I ran home from work and completed the 2nd of 3 runs on week 2. It wasn’t terrible and for the first time I didn’t get a stitch. It was still hard but I did feel like I am making a bit of progress.
I am also amazed at the amount of ground I cover just by running then walking, then running then walking. I noticed something else this evening too – according to the fitbit, I am speeding up! On Sunday my km splits were 10.32 and 10.12 and this evening my splits were 9.39 and 9.59. It’s ridiculous how happy I am about this.
I am going to do my 3rd run of the week on Friday morning and on Saturday I will be 41.
41 and a runner? We’ll see but I hope so.