So this will be the first of my hopefully many diary blogs on my running and progress.
A bit of background first I suppose… I’ve always enjoyed running when I was younger but got out of it for years until I was about 35 and I started feeling breathless when walking up stairs or doing any slight physical exercise. I was heavier than I had ever been and just hated my body so I knew I had to do something about it.
I started with jog/walks down to the local park and probably couldn’t run more than 200 metres without stopping or walking but I had caught the bug again and kept it up.
I’m a very competitive person, especially against myself so if one day I’d manage to run to the bridge at the end of the park, the next day I’d run to the tree 100 metres past the bridge and the next, further again. Before I knew it I’d hit the 1km mark then I just kept going.
After a few months I was running at least one 10 km run every week, albeit a slow 10 km but I was doing it and I felt amazing. I was no longer breathless and my weight was dropping off. I started challenging myself to get better 5km and 10km times. I aimed for 10k in 45:00 and 5k in 20:00 and started pushing myself and before I knew it I was running under 50 mins, 10k and 22 mins for 5k.
I’ve always suffered with low moods and find it hard to keep motivated but had never sought help or spoke to anyone about this, I just assumed it was normal and kept going. This was my way until for no discernible reason in late 2015 I started struggling and feeling down. My exercise and fitness was the first thing to go before I started failing at work and having problems in my relationship. I finally went to the doctors as I had no idea what was going on and I was diagnosed with depression.
This came as a massive shock to me as I had no clue but I took it in my stride and took the medication I was prescribed, went to see a councillor and things started to slowly improve. I just got on with things and got to a point a few moths later where I just thought I was fine so stopped seeing the councillor, stopped my medication and carried on. I had beaten depression that was easy right?
I had a massive ‘depressive episode’ which I won’t go into detail here but will talk about in my mood diary section of the site when I get going. Needless to say, it was 10 times worse than before. It broke my relationship up and the only reason I’m still here is because of my kids. I wanted to die but couldn’t leave them. I see the aftermath of suicide too much in my job.
What got me through my worst was starting to run again. I found it really hard at first, especially lacing up my trainers and getting out but I signed up for my first race and this gave me something to aim for. I signed up for my local 10k race and started training, I went back to my doctor and got some different medication and this time I took things seriously and started researching depression and how I felt and I took ownership of my issues and started to address things.
Training started to make me feel better and when it came to the race I ran in a time of 47:40 which I was really happy with and I immediately signed up to a half marathon which was a month later. I had never ran even 10 miles in one go before as I had stuck to my comfort zone of 10km.
I started training and doing longer runs as well as hill sprints and sprinting sessions and before I knew it, it was race day. The Pendle running festival half marathon is one of the hilliest half marathons around and had I known this when I signed up, I might have thought twice but I did it. It was very challenging but in a sick and twisted way, I love hill running so i completed the race in a time of 1:43:45 which I was amazed at. I had the bug now.
I didn’t run any other races last year but did a few park runs and the Tough Mudder and then in October, along with 10 others at work we decided to have a competition who could run the most miles that month. Did I mention before that I was competitive?…. Well I ran 158 miles that month!
It might have been a bit silly as I didn’t run again until January this year but I’m glad to say I’m back on it. I’ve signed up for the same 10k and half marathon this year and want to improve my times.
Running is the best help to my mental health, just being out in the fresh air, exercising and if it’s been a stressful day, letting my worries float away so I get home calm and just that little bit fitter.
On March 30th this year (along with the same group of colleagues at work) we started another challenge. This is a charity challenge supporting the Nicola Hughes memorial fund. The fund was set up by Nicola’s dad Bryn Hughes to raise money to support children and young people who have lost parents through violent crime. The challenge is to run 2 miles every day for 100 days. Lets just say today is day 43 and I’m not going to lie, its not easy. Especially as I’m having to do more miles each day as part of my half marathon training. But its for an amazing cause and so far as a team we’ve raised £1,570.00.
Today I had a busy shift at work and got home at 5:30pm. I had to get ready and go out for my run before I dared sit down. Every step was a struggle today with motivation and fatigue but I managed an almost respectable 5km in 20:32.
Well I planned a short post but kept waffling on, sorry about that. Anyway I’ll check out for now.
Thanks for reading.