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Thursday 25 March 2021

BEING A WOMAN: How Running Boosted My Self Confidence

How did running boost my self confidence? 

It made me realise that I can do almost anything.

I ran my first 10k in a cotton t-shirt, some old baggy trousers and some trainers my Mum had given me because they didn’t fit her. Running HURT. I was about 5 stone over the weight I should be, a heavy smoker and I hadn’t really put enough training into this. I realised that running HURT. And that I would probably be last in this event. But it didn’t matter, because I was going to keep going until I finished this. Even if it did take me almost as long to complete the event as it did to drive to London from the Midlands.

I realised that running hurts, but that giving up would have hurt more.

My first marathon entry was a Christmas present from my husband’s parents. I hadn’t quite got the courage up to enter a marathon distance event. So they took the pressure off, by putting the pressure on. It was just what I needed. But I was scared that I wouldn’t be able to do it. 26.2 miles is a LONG way. I was concerned I wouldn’t be able to do it, so I booked the day off work and went out to run. Long. I got lost and ran 29 miles by mistake.

I realised that it I want something, I gotta train for it. And that sometimes things don’t go quite to plan but so long as I can find my way home again things usually work out.

My second marathon was as part of a group of six, trained by ASICS and Runners World for Paris Marathon. I was in the right place at the right time and clearly didn’t come across quite as incompetent as I often feel … particularly when I’m falling into ditches or wearing 2 similar but not identical trainers. (Actual things I’ve done). I managed to come away with a 20 minute PB, a Boston Qualifying time and a negative split. And some really ace friends.

I realised that even the scariest goals can be achieved with decent preparation, solid training and some belief in myself.

I entered a 100 mile race. It’s amazing what sounds a good idea after a glass of wine. Or two. And I arranged to run it with someone I had met once in the middle of the night. In a field. Running 100 miles hurts quite a lot and your tummy does all sorts of strange things after eating jellytots and sandwiches for 50 miles. Turns out strangers met in the middle of the night turn into lifelong friends when you run together for 100 miles.

I realised that sometimes it doesn’t matter how well you plan your training and fuelling ... what really matters is having someone you trust guard the bush you’re in and pass the loo roll over.

I have entered and completed plenty more races since then. More than one or two have involved marathons and wine, several have involved fancy dress and a few races in GB kit after qualifying to represent Great Britain.

I realised that the memorable races haven’t necessarily been the ones where I’ve had personal best times, podium places or medals but the ones that have been memorable because of the people I’ve met. Whether that’s running a marathon in Surrey as a Ghostbuster, falling across the finishing line on the Cotswolds Way because I was looking for the cakes rather than at the kerb or losing my voice cheering a 10k race in Munich because I was shouting so loud.

I realised that I can do almost anything. With the right people and a bit of belief, I can run the world. 

NOTE: This blog was first posted on ASICS FrontRunner here

1 comment:

  1. Awesome - and it's awesome to have found you and followed your journey here on the interwebs!