I've never been a die-hard gym go-er historically, but having worked in an office based role for over 12 years I was becoming more and more conscious of the lack of activity and steps I would achieve on a normal working day.
2020 was the year where I finally took the opportunity to utilise one of the many “work perks” we receive at CCM - a free gym membership. After a few visits I decided to try the spinning classes, which to my surprise, I thoroughly enjoyed!
Then, March came and lockdown took hold of the world (quite literally!) Initially, lockdown acted as a fine excuse to simply forget anything in the form of exercise. The gym was shut and I couldn't do anything to change that, so I thought, why not make the best of a bad situation? Just relax and forget my normal routine! I think we were all under the impression it wouldn't be for long so we took it as a blessing in disguise.
4 weeks later! April was here and we were still stuck indoors - that is aside from the one hour a day we’d all been granted to get outside, enjoy some exercise and get some well-needed fresh air! I took this opportunity to go on walks with my Husband and our three children; it was really nice to be spending time together that we never usually get, with us both having such busy working lives.
However, I found myself actually missing that feeling you get when you complete a good workout - the sense of achievement that makes you feel truly fantastic in every way. So, I decided I would use my hour a day to try out some running! I'd never done any sort of running before but I was certainly ready to give it go.
My First Run
I soon realised I wasn't very good at it; it was so much harder than it looked! I’d run what felt like a pretty substantial distance (I was well and truly struggling) I got to the finish line of my front door, looked down at my tracker and… Not even a mile... WHAT?!? I was so sure I had run much further, but apparently not.
I missed a few days after that, just through pure disappointment. Over the course of April, I ran a handful of times but I still only managed to build my distance up to around the mile mark - I think the furthest I managed was 1.3 miles in one go. Still determined to make a real go of it, I decided I needed a challenge to work towards. So, in May, I signed up for a virtual marathon. The challenge was to run 26.6 miles throughout the month of May, all the while raising money for the British Heart Foundation.
My plan was to run just a mile a day and this would more than cover it. The first few runs went well (I’m not saying I didn’t find it hard, but I managed it nonetheless!) So, I set myself a new goal: to try and run a little bit further each time. Every day I went out for my run, I made it just a little bit longer, eventually building up to 3 miles in one go! I was so pleased and whilst it still didn’t feel any easier, I learnt that I was strong enough to push myself further.
The end of May came and I'd completed my challenge, and raised £190 for charity in the process! I was so happy and it just felt utterly amazing.
June and July passed and I kept the running up, but I didn't feel like I’d pushed myself as much as I could have - I needed another challenge to keep me focused!
So… after struggling through the 26.6 miles, I considered the options for my next challenge; what were my limits? What would be the best distance to sign myself up for?
Now don't ask me why, but I only went and signed up for 50 miles! Was I going crazy? I couldn't possibly do 50? Could I? Then again, it was all for a good cause, Maggie’s, a charity offering free help and support to anyone affected by cancer. A charity close to my own heart.
As August approached, I started thinking, “why are you wasting your time? You aren't going to be able do this!” but despite that little voice in my head, I decided to just try and at least see how far I could get.
Two weeks in and I was actually on target! I’d ran 25 miles - No way I could give up now. So on I went, waking up at 6am and smashing 4 miles before most of Mansfield had even opened their eyes! It was so exhilarating, I was in a great mindset and I genuinely believe those runs gave my mental health the biggest boost, helping me breeze through these unprecedented times like a woman on a mission.
Three weeks in and my body was feeling the physical pressure. My knees were hurting after each run, and I just couldn't wait for the challenge to be over so they could have a well deserved rest. Giving up wasn’t an option at this stage of the game so I grit my teeth and plodded through that final week. I completed my last run on the 29th of August - I’d done it with 2 days to spare! I felt like superwoman, albeit with the most painful knees but superwoman nevertheless, and to top it off I raised £90 for Maggie’s.
I've had quite a long rest during the month of September - I can count the amount of runs I've done this month on one hand. I do feel like my life is getting much closer to normality, what with the kids going back to school and things starting to slowly move again.
Looking back at my time in lockdown I'd say my running helped me stay in control; that time to reflect and just breathe in my own company, with something just for me to focus on, was definitely needed.
I will however let you in on a little secret... I have signed up to run 75 miles in October.
So, watch this space.