There are so many great running communities out there. I am a member of a great Facebook group called Born to Run. They often post a Who Are You slot where members introduce themselves and tell their running story. A running friend, who invited me to the group, also encouraged me to write in my running story. So I did. It has not been chosen to be displayed as yet, but on writing it I wanted to share my running story with you.
My Running Story
My running journey started back when I lived in Ottawa, Canada! I emigrated back at the end of 2012, not being sporty whatsoever. The easiest things to do on your own, and outside of the apartment, were to go out to eat at restaurants or go see movies and eat popcorn. I did eventually join a volleyball team, but the leagues were short and I did nothing in between. The pounds started to pile on and I looked for something to stop the weight gain in its tracks. I tried the home workouts but couldn’t stick to them.
One day I came across a couch to 5k app. Running had never appealed to me before, but for some reason this 8-week plan to get me to run for 30 mins straight, compelled me to start it. I had a gym in my building, which I had never used before. I finally went and used the treadmill. That was mid-October 2013 and by the end of November, I was chuffed that I was able to keep running for 30 minutes straight! I didn’t manage 5k though but the fact I could keep going amazed me!
My First Race
Coincidentally the week after completing the course, a Santa Run 5K was taking place. It was such good timing, I had to register myself on to it. It wasn’t timed, but there was a medal. I had run mainly on a treadmill at this point, so I did attempt a short run outside before the race, to see how it was. I preferred the treadmill! The 7th December 2013 I ran the race, the first snow had fallen, in Ottawa, and it was around 7°C, but the roads were cleared. I completed the race in 40 mins! That was fast for me as the 5K distance had taken me around 47 mins in total on previous attempts. I was ecstatic – I had a huge grin on my face, and collecting that first bit of bling just made it for me. I caught the running bug there and then.
The following year, I booked myself onto many local 5K races. I knew that I needed the races to give me something to train for. Of course, I didn’t call them training runs in those days 🙂 I still wasn’t fast, but I was getting more consistent with it and I actually enjoyed running. I’m so glad I learned to run in Ottawa. There were beautiful cycle routes to run along, generally along the Rideau Canal and River, and along Dows Lake, I love running alongside water. In addition, the routes were mainly flat and most had drinkable water fountains, especially great in the summer heat. As I enjoyed exploring on foot, my runs started getting longer and I was ready to enter 10K races. By the end of the year I had also completed 3 half marathons. My first half was the Canada Army run which was held in September 2014 and was chucking it down with rain for the most part, I loved it! I ran it in 2hr 48m 24s!
I returned to England at the end of 2015, bringing my love of running with me. Whilst looking for work, I was able to keep going out for runs very well. I even tried a few sessions with my local running club. That was great but, as always, work got in the way, the job I found was in London and it was hard to get home in time to run after work. I was able to go to Parkrun, but that was about all. I entered a few races here and there but not as many and as I wasn’t getting the time to train for them, there was little improvement.
My weight was staying put. I, thankfully, was not putting on weight anymore, but I was not losing it either. December 2016 rolled around and I decided to do a run streak to get my mojo back. This forced me to find ways to get a run in, and not use travel as an excuse not to run. As long as I could do a minimum of a mile that was good. It was only supposed to last a month, but on New Year’s Day there’s the Parkrun Double, so I couldn’t miss that! Then, on 2nd January I couldn’t not run – so I just carried on. Today my streak continues and I have now run 390 days in a row!
The running was keeping the pounds at bay, but not stripping them away. I was in need of something to help me lose the weight. That was the real reason I started running. But it just proves that exercise alone cannot help. I had initially tried the 5:2 diet which helped some but was not easy to stick to. In April 2017, I found the Ketogenic Diet (or Keto Diet) which is a Low Carb, Moderate Protein and High Fat diet. Any carbs consumed comes from vegetables. Cheese, Eggs and Cream are allowed. I do not have a sweet tooth so this was great for me. You end up burning fat for energy.
Running everyday helped burn more of the fat on my body too. For the first time, I was able to stick to a diet and early August I reached my goal weight! I was able to lose just under 35 pounds (16 kg), going from size 14/16 to 8/10! This change in diet gave me so much more energy and helped my endurance for running too. My Parkrun times are down to 26m 51s now and my most recent half marathon is now 1hr 57m 20s!
In total, I have completed a load of races which consist of 15 5Ks, 18 10ks, 33 half marathons and 3 full marathons – with a few 5 milers, 30Ks and cross country runs to add to the mix. My next goal is to improve my full marathon time, the last of which was 5hrs 56mins 🙂 That attempt will come in April 2018 at the Manchester Marathon.
I hope to keep the run streak alive! In the end, I was able to join the Stopsley Striders and became Strider of the month back in September. I love the running communities I am in – this group (Born to Run), the Striders, Luton Parkrun and my Instagram page followers (@thisrunnerlovespurple) where I post my daily runs which keeps me accountable.
All the running I have done since last July 2017, has been in support of Simon #teamsimon who suffered a severe stroke! It has left him paralyzed on his left side and he also requires a wheel chair. Myself, a group of friends and former work colleagues have been trying to raise funds to enable sufficient works to be done to change his home to help accommodate him. The funds raised will go towards purchasing a wheel chair, obtaining a mobility vehicle for his wheel chair and make alterations to his home, such as widening doorways, etc, for wheel chair access. I will be running the Manchester Marathon on 8 April 2018. We have now raised £20,721 of £50,000. As you can see there is a long way to go! If you are able to support our efforts please go here to read his story and donate. Much appreciated.
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