This weekend has been crazy but in a crazy good way. On Saturday instead of doing my usual Parkrun I marshalled at it instead as I was doing a run on Sunday. Volunteering at Parkrun is an amazing experience and if you go to your local Parkrun you really should give volunteering a go once in a while because it feels so good to give something back and you get more time to chat and get to know people. I was marshalling along the route and got so many high fives and shouts of thanks it was amazing and really makes you feel part of the community 😊(and obviously you get to wear a rocking high vis!)
So, why wasn’t I doing my usual Parkrun you may ask. Well, as I’ve previously mentioned I was taking part in a Five Weeks To 5k programme run by Julie Creffield and the The Fat Girl’s Guide To Running team online. Well this was the final weekend of the programme where from the outset we all signed to walk/jog/run a 5k. To be honest from the outset in my mind I was planning to just go do my usual Parkrun and walk/run the 5k. However, a few weeks into the programme I found out that The Saint David’s Day Run was happening on the final Sunday of the programme so I signed up to the 5k run (there are 5,1 and 10k events on the day) and still aimed to walk/run it.
Well, yesterday was the big day. Two of our friends stayed over the night before to join my husband as part of my ‘cheer squad’ and we all set off to Cardiff on Sunday morning. We arrived at the event to an amazing atmosphere and very friendly volunteers. I’d been very nervous the night before but as soon as I got there the fears faded away. The warm up began and it was clear that everyone was there for the fun of it. Gathering at the start line the butterflies started again, we all counted down together and we were off. 1k went past and I was still jogging along. Then 2k, 3k and 4k. I couldn’t believe that I hadn’t given in and started walking yet. As soon as I saw that 4k sign I was determined to keep going. I’m not going to lie, it wasn’t magical, it was bloody hard but I did it. I ran the whole bloody thing and did it at a sub 40 minute time for the first time ever at 39 minutes 29 seconds.
After the run I seriously couldn’t quite believe it. I’d never run a whole 5k before and I hadn’t even planned to, mostly because I was scared I couldn’t, but this weekend I didn’t let fear stop me and I accomplished something that even on Sunday morning I didn’t believe was possible.
Well now I know anything is possible. I know I am strong and I am a runner. I’m also doing a 10k on May 15th and training starts today.
“Say no to fear and believe just how strong you are.”
So this weekend after no running in the week due to a holiday I roused to once again attend my local Parkrun. To be honest I wasn’t expecting much because of the lack of runs in the week, I was tired, blah blah blah and some other excuses. Recently I’ve really been really trying to concentrate on pace because even though people have been telling me “the slower you go, the further you’ll go” I didn’t quite believe them. This week at Parkrun though I did listen and even though I didn’t get a PB I managed to run more of the course than ever before (usually a run/walker) and it seriously made me feel amazing. I came home completely buzzing it was seriously the first time I felt like I could call myself a ‘runner’ but that’s a whole other post for a whole other time. For now I just thought I’d spread the love and advice of “take it slow” because it honestly gave me the best weekend I’ve had in a longtime.
Towards the end of January I started in the January/February cohort of ‘Five Weeks To 5k’ run by the online running community The Fat Girls Guide To Running led by the vivacious plus sized runner Julie Creffield. To be honest, on the run down to starting the programme I wasn’t really looking forward to it. Not because I wasn’t looking forward to running because I’ve run in the past and loved it. No, this time I was scared of failing. Let’s just give you an idea of what I was starting with; 5ft3″, over 13 stone, out of breath at the end of a short walk. Needless to say I was far off running a 5k.
So I began, tentatively on the first steps towards a 5k. Running around my local streets with the occasional sneer from people walking past and even the occasional fellow runner. I really enjoyed the first week, like, really enjoyed it. By the second I was addicted, attending my local Parkrun each Saturday and entering runs left, right and centre. Even a half marathon in November! I’ve also joined The Fat Girl’s Guide To Running‘s online running club called The Clubhouse.
As this week ends, so does week four of the programme. As we enter the fifth and final week I look forward to it culminating in a Saint David’s Day 5k in Cardiff. I also look at how much I have changed myself. I’m more confident; not just in my running and the fact that just because I’m fat doesn’t mean I’m not allowed to be interested and actually in love with fitness but in life in general. I genuinely don’t care what other people think of me anymore and my stress levels have gone down immensely.
So what’s next? Well I guess I’m just going to keep running. One foot in front of the other. Not because I want to be skinny but because I’ve genuily found something that I love doing, that allows me to escape and for me to finally feel comfortable in my own skin. It also allows me to be, what I think anyway, is the best version of me.
So I’ll keep writing these blogs. Sometimes about me, sometimes about running or races and just because sometimes I like writing. So that’s me. Hopefully someone out there will read this and get something from it or maybe it’ll just lye out there in cyber space with the occasional mistaken hit.