A candid, funny, 9 week running challenge diary from a 47 year old plus size lady.

Feb 24, 2018

Last year I fell down some steps out of my front door.  I was carrying a large box, I was running late, rushing to a school club I was running at the time while trying to set up my new business.  Everything went in slow motion and all the contents of the box flew all over the ground.  My leg and arm hurt, but I didn’t have time to feel sorry for myself.  I picked up the contents of the box and carried on to the car.

It turned out the fall had resulted in a trapped Sciatic nerve of which I tried to live with  for ten months.  I am a plump person anyway and being at a point where I was struggling walking, I had put on over a stone in weight.  I eventually booked an appointment with an Chiropractor who amongst other things worked on me with accupuncture.

Eventually I was able to walk without a limp and I recovered slowly. Months later I attended a self-development book club and completed a life coaching wheel in the first session.  I identified a few things but what stood out the most was how unhappy I had become with my physical body.

I have worked hard on my mind (mental health) for a few years with meditation and mindfulness and realised how at 47 years old, I had forgotten my physical body.

A friend that had started running a year ago posted before and after photos of herself on social media and the results were astounding.  I remembered how I used to run before I had my Daughter and enjoyed thinking about the freedom and empowerment it gave me as I always hated running at school.

Today I write this with celebration as I have just completed a 9 week running challenge I set myself. I downloaded the Couch to 5K app, chose Sarah Millican’s voice to be my coach, bought some trainers and began the journey. The app guides you through safe, healthy patterns of running and walking in stages each week.

Through the book club, we discussed how “pressure” often ensured challenges were completed. I decided to post a photographs of myself on social media with no make up and looking sweaty after every run. I received such a lot of support from friends and even inspired some to start it themselves!

The first week was mostly walking with one minute sessions of running – I really struggled and felt very miserable.  As I ran around the street some kids laughed at me and I felt sad.  My Daughter came with me to support me that day and I felt ashamed.

The following week I decided to get up at 6am while my family were still in bed and I completed the sessions in the dark. I did feel very nervous as it was dark and I was really scared that I was putting myself in a dangerous situation.

As the weeks progressed I began to feel more empowered, I was getting much better and my body was changing  not to mention the endorphins my body was producing. I suffer from PCOS (Polycystic Ovary Syndrome) which is a hormone disorder which really benefits from cardiovascular exercise.

I could go from running 3 minutes blocks to 5, then 8 then 12 then 20 etc… A friend donated me some “running clothes” and I felt the part! Yes, it was hard but I dug deep. The last few weeks I could run for 25 minutes at a time so began feeling confident to run in daylight.  I had to take my Mother to a hospital in a different town so decided to run while I was waiting for her. An older chap overtook me that day and decided it was ok to say “come on love, put some effort in”.  I just laughed as just being there was the effort!  I have learnt over the years that what people say often reflects more about them anyway. I had always planned to blog about my challenge and right there he had given me some funny subject matter!

So now after 9 weeks of going out three times a week,  I have completed the end of my challenge.  What have I learnt?  I am not ashamed of my size 18 body anymore because it is capable of running 30 minutes non stop, three times a week.  I have taken 2 hours a week out of my schedule for myself, I feel empowered, I have lost 12lb, I have signed up for Race for Life 5K, I have registered for Park Runs and running is now part of my life and I look younger. When I am running I feel powerful and free.

Gail