2016 was an especially tough year for me. We had a serious car crash, which set things in motion and I have now recognised I was suffering post natal depression from my second child the year before. On top of this, my father’s health was deteriorating and with my husband so busy with work, I felt life was a continual Groundhog Day amongst this perfect storm of incidents.
I’ve always enjoyed the independence and social element of having a job and working out with friends, but with two young children, these things became so much harder to do and in time, my thoughts became more and more negative. I felt alienated from all but my kids, husband and mother with no time for myself and a constant feeling of tiredness and hopelessness. Did I really have my own life anymore?
Sadly in October last year, my father lost his long battle with illness and I became extremely depressed with no real focus other than my family. Christmas was very painful but I kept putting on a show for my family’s sake.
As we entered 2017, I knew something had to change. I knew I needed to regain my independence and I wanted to change my physical well being as I had lost all motivation to exercise. I had only ever done fitness classes, and watch my calories but that was it. After reading about Race for Life, I decided to enter with the hope that the target of completing it would keep me motivated to train. I started reading about diet and wellness and took tips from my supportive husband who is an athlete and sports coach. At first, I genuinely couldn’t run 100m without stopping, but slowly built up to 500m, then 1k.
Seeing my progress and my time improve was exceptionally rewarding.
I also started to see the weight being to fall, which made me feel ever more better about myself.
The thing about running is that it is all about you – it’s your time, your space, your moment and I found it extremely therapeutic to put my trainers on and just get out there regardless of how fast or far I would go.
At the same time, I started applying for part time jobs that would give me another focus as well as more independence and in the week building up to my first ever 5k race, I was pleased to be offered a role that suits me and my family.
Finally, Sunday 9th June rolled round! I laced up, warmed up and stood on the start line feeling so nervous. However as soon as the race started I felt so comfortable.
I was going at my pace and doing so much better than expected despite the heat! With cheers from the crowd and my family I was able to push past the always tough 3K and 4K markers and was soon heading for home. When I crossed the line I felt complete relief. And then joy. I did this. I feel proud of my achievements and now know I have a time I want to improve on.
More importantly, running has helped me face my demons and improve my wellness – it’s really helping me cope better with things. I’m not saying it cures everything but it’s certainly helped me achieve so much more than I thought would be possible this time 6 months ago.