By Linda Carr
My story starts around early November 2016, I had broken my wrist at the end of October which meant I couldn’t really attend the gym as the cast on my arm prevented most actions. I thought I really needed to try and keep my fitness up a bit until I got the cast removed and could get back to the gym. I came across an advert online for a ladies beginners running group taking you from 0-5k, so I gave the lady running the group a call and arranged to meet her and a couple of others outside her local shop. My husband dropped me off and I met Helen and the other ladies attending her group. I had been worried that the others would be much better than me but we were all more or less beginners (slightly differing ages and levels but all at the beginning stage.)
The first week was incredibly difficult as I realised running for a couple of minutes at a time was actually really hard but I enjoyed the session and the ladies were all really friendly. I turned up the next week and carried on from there. I tuned up again the next week and the next and found each week really hard but every week I was surprised that I did it.
On the last week it was the 5k run and I really found this tough but thanks to a lovely lady called Kerry I got through it and I was so happy. Helen presented me with my medal and I was extremely chuffed.
I started going back to the gym in January but decided that I really wanted to keep up the running so joined Helen’s 5-10k course, every week I found this hard and doubted my ability to get through it, it was also very cold and I found that I suffered with Reynaud’s and my toes and fingers were painful, I also got a sinus infection but I got antibiotics which cleared that, however the cold hitting my sinuses gave me headaches so I discovered that some sinus medication and a snood will more or less deal with the problem. Some weeks I was absolutely convinced I wasn’t going to keep going but for some reason I did. On the day of the 10k run it was pouring down with rain but Me, Jane and Joanne got through it together, putting the world to rights as we ran through the rain. At the end Joanne provided everyone with Vegan chocolate cake and we all stood huddled in a doorway eating our cake, on our high from completing the 10k.
After that a few of us took part in a 10k run in Cambridge, my first ‘proper’ event. This was a strange one, very tough and lots of pugs milling around. I got my medal and went home feeling happy that I had managed my first official run.
We carried on meeting on a Sunday evening for the women’s run meet (a 5k social run.) Then I booked a few more 10k events and really enjoyed my spring/early summer of running. Helen said she was starting a half-marathon training group and did I want to join. I signed up thinking, I can always walk away from this, the thing is with running is that before you know it has sucked you in, so there I was getting up each Sunday at 5.30 to meet Zoe and Helen for a run at 6am.
This training culminated last week when conpleted The Perkins Great Eastern Half-Marathon. I really enjoyed the first half but around mid-way I started to get a lot of back pain, this hadn’t happened in training so I wasn’t expecting it. I struggled through the second half but thanks to my running friends I made it to the end. I can honestly say I was so happy, my kids and husband were there waiting for me and they were really proud. The three of us that ran that day have had a summer of long runs, injuries, falls, holidays and long conversations and it has been great from start to finish.
I never understood why people bothered running – it all seemed a bit pointless when you could just attend a nice warm class or two but running has given me a sense of achievement that I have never had before , it makes me strive to be better and gives me enjoyment I could never imagine it would. I go to parkrun, I run on holiday, I run races, I run with friends. Running is a door to a new world, the runners high is a real thing, some of the runs are hard and miserable but you still get the high at the end. Ultimately running has brought me fitness, friends and happiness – roll on the next twelve months of running!