For anyone that’s known me over the last few years (most of my life really), this is the question that they would no doubt ask about the idea of me taking up running. And let’s be honest, thats what I would have said myself if someone had suggested it to me just a year ago.
You see until recently the idea of me running even 500 metres, never mind a 5k, would have been ludicrous. That’s because I was very overweight, as in I weighed an amount i’m not quite ready to admit to just yet. This photo was taken about 4 years ago. But since the start of 2017 i’ve been on a bit of a journey to change my life and so far i’ve managed to lose 106 pounds! It feels a little ridiculous writing those words but it’s true. Largely as a result of diet i’ve been fairly consistent in losing weight week after week. And this is me now –
So if my weight loss has all been the result of dietary changes, you might wonder why i’ve started to run? Fair question, and one i’m not 100% clear on myself. But in short my first experience of running was back at the start of the year, probably around February. A group of colleagues decided that we should run a 5k for charity and so we all booked to take part in the Superhero Run in Regents Park. So barely into my weight loss journey and I was already signed up to run around a park in Central London with colleagues – clearly madness had set in!
But I used the idea of the run as a focus point, something to keep me motivated when all I wanted was to eat a pizza. It even helped me go to the gym every now and again to do some running on the treadmill. Come the run in May and I was definitely not prepared, my training had been limited and frankly I was nervous about finishing and embarrassing myself in front of my colleagues. But 45 minutes later it was over and i’d made it round, helped on by the other runners and one colleague, Amy, who stuck with me the whole way, before carrying on to do the full 10k (I had opted for the shorter route). So my run wasn’t going to break any records and I walked a fair portion of the route, but I did it. I’ve even got a medal to prove it.
And you know what – I actually enjoyed it. Not necessarily as I was running round the park, but the feeling I got when I crossed the finish line. After a holiday in the USA I came back to London determined to give running a bit more thought and try to incorporate it a bit more. I signed up to Parkrun and then promptly did nothing for a few months.
I was still losing weight, still going to the gym now and again, but while I kept thinking about running, I didn’t do anything about it. The reason, I think, was that we were having a really nice summer and the idea of me joining a bunch of strangers by myself to go running and looking like a sweaty mess wasn’t exactly top of my priority list. But as the weeks passed and it started to cool down I kept thinking about it, and finally a few weeks ago I headed out and completed my first Parkrun. Now the story of that run is a whole other blogpost except to say that the feeling on completing it was great and spurred me to keep running and so far i’m really enjoying it.
The way I see things i’m nearly half way through a two year journey. The first year was all about diet and weight loss, and as we come to the end of year one i’m starting to focus more on fitness and general health, and i’m planning to make running a part of that process. Who knows what the next 12 months holds. I’ve got a few ideas floating around, but for now let’s get a few more miles run.