I am running. Yes, I am running. Not very fast, not very elegantly, but I am running.
I often forget to breathe, have a constant runny nose and it probably looks like I may well collapse at any moment.
But I am running.
I am also starting to enjoy running. At the beginning, I dreaded everything about it; my stinky trainers, the kit and the faff with the phone/app/headphones combination. Now I can’t wait to go out again. This change of mindset only happened this week, week 5 of the Couch to 5K programme because I must be getting fitter. I now accept that every metre I run is progress and more than I did the day before. I don’t care that I am still working towards running 5K because I know I will get there. Whilst my mindset change is a huge motivator, the Couch to 5K programme is brilliantly effective. It’s design means that you really cannot fail and therefore the success that it generates drives you towards your next run.
I was initially motivated by the Heads Together Campaign and the courage and determination shown by runners such as Rhian Burke, Jake Tyler and Poppy Farrugia and now my family are my motivation. I had a place in the London Marathon 2017 to run for Children with Cancer but the unpredictability of my 11-year-old son’s leukaemia meant that regular training was virtually impossible. I would start a training programme and then we would be faced with an emergency hospital admission or a period of intense chemotherapy which required 24 hour care. It all felt futile. I lost my momentum. My place was deferred until 2018 and I’m now determined to make my family proud.
Now we are in the maintenance phase of treatment so things are much more predictable and I have been able to establish a running regime. This regime has provided me with much-needed solitude and head space. I literally forget everything when I’m running, partly because I’m concentrating so much on not falling over and remembering to breathe but also it allows my mind to wander. Allowing my mind to wander used to take me back to my son’s diagnosis and the tough days which is why blogging and starting my own business became a necessary distraction. What has been liberating about running is that I am now able to allow my mind to wander without the risk of it delving into the deep, dark places that it used to go.
So, this is the thing. If you have been thinking of starting running, go do it! Download the Couch to 5K app, put your kit on, faff with your phone/headphones and get out there. It will be tough, you will feel a mess but it will be worth it. You will get to a place where you can enjoy being able to let your thoughts run as freely as your feet.