Just over two years ago I was overweight, desperately unfit and worryingly unhappy with my life. I had zero confidence and often struggled finding ways to get by from day to day.
Then I discovered running.
What started out as a way to essentially lose a little bit of weight, completely turned my entire life around.
Today I ran the Plusnet Sheffield Half Marathon - a race I had my heart set on running for a very long time.
Here is my heartfelt and honest account of today:
I was so anxious and nervous yesterday as nerves began to set in, waking up this morning I felt excitement and eagerness to arrive in Sheffield city centre. The fact I was running completely alone daunted me, especially as groups of people began to gather at the starting zone. I felt a little bit like a little fish in a big sea. But I knew, my passion for running would get me through.
The pursuit out of the city centre upto Ecclesall Road was truly brilliant; I felt a thrill running past some of my favourite haunts. It was when approaching Ringinglow Road (dubbed the King of the hill) - I began to feel the pain set in. I have little experience of hills and the quite ironic gusty wind did not help. But, I pushed through and I spotted a work colleague in the crowd who eagerly spurred me on.
Once up the hill, the course really took me on a whole new experience - trail running, in the tip of the Peak District. I was absolutely in my element running through the amazing scenery, Sheephill Road was a breath of fresh air. It was after this point, I really struggled - coinciding with needing the toilet (really badly); I did have a moment in my mind wondering how I was ever going to get to the finish line.
The downhill pursuit back into Sheffield centre, was a little more relaxed, but on approaching the final 3mile mark - I ached, I pained, I felt absolutely drained and exhausted. I kept thinking I wouldn't be able to make it, and felt so disappointed in myself. I reminded myself how far I’d come and giving up was not an option.
I don't know how - but I found that final spur of energy in my gut, and that last 10 minutes seems a complete blurry image for me. Seeing the final finish line, I gave it my all. Ran passed the cheering crowds and passed the line literally into the arms of a paramedic! I was shaking, and could barely walk - this was definitely the most I have ever pushed my body.
I did manage to walk after this and then eventually find my husband and family, after a little cry on the side of the street. Gosh, the emotion I cannot even describe.
It was every inch physically and mentally draining today. But, up until the age of 23 I had never done any sort of exercise, I dodged PE like the plague and never took part in after school activities – something I deeply regret. Running like I did today demonstrated that being physically fit is not a gift nor something you are born with – it takes time, dedication and focus to train and transform your body.
Finishing the race was my ultimate goal, and as the pain had overtaken all my thoughts on a decent finish time. As you can imagine, I was completely astounded and shocked, when I realised I had finished in less than 2 hours - my absolute ultimate dream for the race originally when I applied back in January.
This is a tale of hard work, determination and having your heart set on changing something. All I ever wanted was to find confidence in myself and happiness and fulfilment in life – running has undoubtedly provided me with that and I couldn’t ever be more thankful.
Literally, believe me when I say: anything is possible.