So as you may have seen on Sunday, I took on one of my biggest challenges yet. A half marathon.
When I signed up for it I honestly had no idea what the next 6 months would hold for me. I knew I needed to train and I knew I needed to raise money. Easy right? Well stupidly I thought so.
Training. Where to begin, do you know how far a mile is? Like seriously it’s longer than you think…Well longer than I thought it was anyway! When I started running again 6 months ago, I didn’t know how it would compare to when I ran 10k well over a year and a half ago. I now weigh a bit more and I hadn’t run since the 10k! There were some hurdles that held me back, some bigger than others. Falling ill with fluid on my lungs back in May was a massive set back which stopped me running for weeks, and then shin splints. I never even knew they were a thing until I got them! As well as the blisters and just general body aches it was hard. Getting over that first mile was the hardest. So many people were saying push through it, others were saying stop altogether. I’m no doctor, but I listened to my body I took the easier route and kept going, until the shin pain eased off. Did I find my weight an issue? Not at all.
The biggest challenge? Pushing past my own mental block. I’d get to a point on each run where my mind would tell my body I couldn’t do it, that I wasn’t good enough. That I would never be able to run past 3 miles let alone 13.1! But I got past that. With one simple run, a lady lapped me twice. She was about the same size as me, her motivation and drive was incredible and she had an amazing pace, she was saying one step two step, keep going. From then on every time I wanted to stop I said don’t. One step two step you can do this. I only ever saw her that one run but she changed my mindset. My race my pace. Just get around.
Every time I felt like stopping, I thought of why I was running, who I was running for. As the miles and the money raised went up I knew I had to keep it going, that I wasn’t running for just me anymore. Raising money for the Cystic Fibrosis trust was my main goal. Fighting for a life unlimited for everyone with Cystic Fibrosis. As you may know my son Parker has Cystic Fibrosis, a life limiting disease that affects the lungs and digestive system. And although he is well now, the future is uncertain. There is currently no cure for CF. Sometimes as a mother I can feel helpless, I cant just make him better or make CF go away, so this is my way of helping.
A few people have, to my surprise, asked me for training advice and as you can probably see I’m no fitness expert. I’m just a woman who put a pair of trainers on and put one foot in front of the other. One thing that motivated my training was an App I used, the Nike run app. Recommended by the lovely Mila from Milawears, it transformed my training. It upped my game. Eight weeks ago I struggled with the 1.7 mile route. I may have signed up for the half marathon 6 months ago and started running, but my real training started when I found this App. Not only was it great for tracking my runs but also with the weekly and monthly challenges and competing through distances with friends, it kept me going.
One thing I do want to talk about is the reality of running when you are in fact fat. Fat to me isn’t a bad word, it’s just a word. Like tall like short. I am fat. I’m a size 18 and I’m pretty sure my BMI says I’m obese. And on this running journey I’ve struggled, BUT not at all with my fitness, I’m the fittest I’ve ever been! But with bullies. With fat phobic trolls. With people who like to be-little others. I’ve been body shamed 8 times whilst running over the last 6 weeks. Yes I counted. The amount of times I’ve been shouted at from a van. From a car full of ‘lads’. Every time shouting abuse.
The last time scared me until I was almost sick. Three times the car lapped me just to hurl abuse, I haven’t felt that hurt in a long time. It was horrible. It was just two days before my half marathon and I haven’t run on that road since. I’d be lying if I didn’t say it knocked my confidence. But I put my trainers back on and I ran a half marathon. My body didn’t hold me back, the body shamer’s didn’t hold me back and most importantly my mind didn’t hold me back. I did it.
Running a half marathon was one of the hardest but most rewarding challenges I’ve ever taken on. So many people running for so many reasons. Most for different charities, but all for themselves. If I’m honest I still can’t believe I did it, I had so much self doubt. But I know my privilege, I know how fortunate I am that my body allows me to run. This challenge may have been hard but I know I’ve got harder to come. I just want to say a massive thank you to everyone who supported me and made donations, my Just Giving page will be open for a couple more weeks so I’ll pop the link below if anyone would still like to kindly donate. I feel so overwhelmed that we’ve reached well over my target! So thank you again.
This running journey may have been hard but it’s just the beginning of challenges to come. This mum can do this. This mum can run.
Just Giving – Lauren’s Bristol Half