I’d never really been into sport; sure I did PE at school but was pretty average in all disciplines. With not much in the way of hand-eye coordination I tended to prefer athletics than anything that involved a bat and/or ball and as such I was usually the last one to get picked for a hockey/netball team etc. and that naturally lowers your confidence.
But then you leave school, career, motherhood and general “adulting” takes over and before you know it you’re 46, coming home from work and depositing yourself on the sofa in front of Eastenders.
Then in spring 2019 two things happened. The first was that a colleague ran the London Marathon. I spent my Sunday morning, sat on my backside in my PJ’s tracking her bib number on the app as she ran a very impressive sub-four hours. I felt like a lazy slob.
She’d excelled that morning and I wasn’t even dressed! Then I can’t quite remember how the conversation started, but around the same time I was probably having a bit of a whinge to my son via Facetime about needing something to get me out and about. He suggested I start running. Well I almost fell off the sofa with laughter.
Then I realised he wasn’t joking!
He introduced me to the world of virtual challenges and suggested I sign up in May to a 25-mile challenge. I did try to protest, I honestly did. I mean, me? run? I couldn’t possibly do that. Could I?
He very helpfully advised me of a local route that was no more than a mile in length. I figured I had nothing to lose so I pulled my old trainers out from the back of the wardrobe, chucked on a t-shirt and a pair of leggings and ventured out. I barely got around the corner and I was hyperventilating, getting pins and needles in my hands and was generally an out-of –breath embarrassment. I persevered of course; I’m stubborn like that! I repeated this for a few evenings and began to get what I now understand to be the “runners high” feel good feeling.
But I needed a plan, apart from my training model of just getting to that next lamppost. My sister mentioned couch-to-5k. Unbeknown to me, she’d been giving it a go on-an-off so I downloaded the app and began my jeffing runs with the support of Sarah Millican in my ear telling me how well I was doing! Now anyone who has done C25K will know what I mean when I mention week 5 and that 20-minute run that hits you in the face out of nowhere.
There you are with your gradual increase in running and shorter walking intervals then wham! There it is. An expectation that you can run for 20 minutes solid! I even Googled it, convinced it was a glitch on the app. But hey you know what? I only went and flipping managed it! Well there was no stopping me now. I’d been keeping my son updated on my progress, regular screenshots from my Fitbit app where being shared on WhatsApp and he was naturally very proud of the progress I was making.
Then came the next challenge.
Take part in the Great South Run he suggested. He’s a real joker my son. Except once again he wasn’t joking. 10 miles I asked? In only five months time? I can’t possibly run that far. Can I? I’ll do it with you he offered. It was certainly food for thought. I liked the idea, but massively lacked confidence that I would ever be ready for that distance.
I’d not even finished C25K at this point. So, somehow I found myself signing up. I decided that I’d have to run for charity as that would give me the momentum I needed to keep going and not chicken out. As my son is in the Royal Marines, I opted to run for the Royal Navy and Royal Marines Charity. So no pressure then, running round Portsmouth, home of the Royal Navy in a RNRMC branded t-shirt!
Did I make it? All will be revealed…..
Well done Jenny and thanks for contributing. We look forward to the next update.
Sam & Vicky xx
If you are starting your Couch 25k journey then what better way to mark the achievement than with this stunning C25K medal. You can even surprise a loved one with it by presenting it to them on their completion.