You are never too old to achieve a new goal. I see this quote bounced around Instagram a lot, but it really does apply to me.
I used to see people out jogging and it always looked so relaxing and accessible to just hit the streets and go. However, with four little ones and a business to run, free time was non-existent.
When my youngest went to school my sister told me about a running app she had started doing, called ‘couch to 5k’ by NHS. That was for beginners and had many success stories, friends she knew were doing 10ks and even half marathons soon after completing the app. I had all sorts of doubts, was 47 too old, would I have the time be able to complete it, could I run, I hadn’t run since school 20 odd years ago. In the end, the desire to try and the dream of running made me push my doubts to one side and start the app.
The best guaranteed time for me was when walking the dog and my husband was still at home, looking after the little ones, so I started in a field, in the middle of October, at 6:00am in the morning in a pair of wellies, too self-conscious to brave the roads in Nike and lycra.
It took me until week 3 when my daughter was in school full time to hit the roads. I found it hard to run for 60 seconds at first and would count the seconds down until I could walk again. The progression was so gentle with the app, you run for 60 seconds and walk for 90 seconds, but I can still remember the fear and dread when I read forward on the app that week 5 required you to run continuously for 20 minutes. It seemed such a massive jump from week 5’s 5 minutes running. There was No way! I was so nervous and never believed for a minute that I would be able to complete it. When I did I was absolutely ecstatic and then truly started to believe that my goal of 5k was achievable. I was well and truly hooked, and so my running journey and love of running and its addiction had begun.
I have achieved so much more than I ever dreamed I could during my ongoing running journey. As a busy mum I love that my running had become my ‘me-time’, a window of time in our busy routine that is mine. I get to explore the great outdoors so much better running in it, I appreciate the beautiful countryside where I live, the picturesque village that is where I call home and its chocolate box cottages. Running really is a gift and one that I hold onto very tightly. I come back from them energised and ready to face the day with my children full of life and a better parent for it.
By seeing me working hard to achieve my goals I like to think that I am also in some way giving them a lesson in life skills as well. That life is up and down, good days and bad but in the end hard work pays off. I love the fact that to improve there is no magic, no recipe of success to follow, you just have to stay focused, lace up and keep running. I love sharing my next goal with them and celebrating with them if I achieve it. By joining a local running club, it has also become a big part of my social life too, with the races that my club organises, training sessions that my sister and I attend and the race series that are there if you wish to enter them. It’s great to be surrounded by likeminded people that just get you and the running bug that you all share.
When I completed my ‘couch to 5k’ in 2014, it took me 53.39 minutes to endure through 5k. This weekend my parkrun time was 23.30 minutes, I was ninth lady home, and first in my age category. I have progressed from 12 minute miles to 11, 10, 9, 8 and now down to 7.5 on this wonderful running experience to date. To some this isn’t fast at all but to me and from where I started 3 years ago its so far been a fantastic journey and one I wouldn’t swop for the world.
Running has given me so much, a sense of self belief that I never had before. the knowledge that when the going gets tough and believe me in some of the races it really does I have the inner strength to make it to the finish by gaining the ability to power through to dig deeper than you ever have before and to not give in and quit the race not matter how high the hills are or rocky the terrain. Living in the Cotswolds they do get very high for a newbie trail runner like me.
I have fallen in love with the challenges that running gives me, so far, I have run countless 5ks ,18 x 10k, 7 half marathons, 5 & 10 milers so I now feel that I have the time and dedication that it takes to train and complete a marathon. I am 50 years old next year so I feel it’s now or never. I entered into the London ballot and if I am unsuccessful like last year l have decided that 2018 is still my year to take the plunge.
Follow me on: Instagram @runningmummioof4
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