“I saw a photo of myself and thought, that’s ridiculous” - Women's Running Magazine

“I knew I was heavier than I had ever been”

Author: Women's Running Magazine

Read Time:   |  November 19, 2015

Vicki Agnew

When 37-year-old Vicki Agnew was browsing her holiday snaps and spotted a photo of herself in the pool, she was stunned. After the birth of her son in 2013, Vicki had gained a considerable amount of weight, was doing very little exercise and felt self-conscious about her body. “I looked ridiculous,” she said. “I knew I was heavier than I had ever been and was determined to do something.”

Vicki

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After taking up running less than two years ago, Vicki has lost over three stone, ran two marathons and gained bouts of self-confidence in the process. “I now feel like I can do more than I probably thought I could do – mentally and physically,” she said. “I’m most definitely much more confidant and even enjoy going clothes shopping now.”

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Her journey began, like many, by downloading the NHS Couch to 5K podcast. While Vicki had originally started running in 2002, taking part in a handful of 10K races, after two years of very little exercise and a very challenging child birth, Vicki was back at square one. “With Rory weighing 11lbs 2oz, I had to have a bigger C-section than normal, and so had to wait quite a long time before I could do anything,” she said. “I thought, I know how to run, but I was quite heavy at that point, had loads of baby weight and very little time.” With her husband, Rob, working away for five weeks at a time, and a child of only five-months-old, Vicki decided to buy a second-hand treadmill and squeeze in the miles at home.

“I would get up early in the morning before Rory was awake or while he was having a little nap,” she explains. “I remember the programme feeling so hard at first. You have to run for something like 90 seconds and walk for two minutes and do that say five or six times. I remember thinking, ‘there’s no way I’m going to be able to run for 30 minutes at the end of this’.”

Nine weeks later, Vicki not only saw her body shape change but also her diet and lifestyle. “I started using an app called MyFitnessPal, and I started logging everything I was eating. It taught me that it’s not just about calories, it’s about how much protein, carbs and fat you are having in each meal.”

Last August, Vicki signed up to her first half-marathon and by November, her first marathon. Her relationship with running had shifted; no longer was running about weight loss, it was about challenging herself and accomplishing something new. Well and truly gripped by the running bug, Vicki saw her 10K PB drop from 1hr 38secs to 44mins 12 secs within just a few months, and she decided to sign up to WR’s Project 26.2 programme. “I’ve never thought I’m good at running, I just run. When I applied for Project 26.2, Rob and my friends had to convince me to do it.”

Readily accepted by WR, Vicki was guided through her marathon training by WR’s experts and in May this year crossed the line of the Edinburgh Marathon – in an incredible 3hrs 43mins.“It was so surreal,” she said. You train all of that time for it and you watch it on TV and think, ‘that’s such a crazy distance!’ At the end, the feeling is like no other. I just cried.”

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Vicki completed her second marathon at the Loch Ness Marathon in September – a challenge she found extremely tough due to a nasty knee injury. However, as part of her weight-loss and running journey, Vicki tells us that she has developed an incredible sense of resilience and a new found self-confidence in her own abilities. “Loch Ness was harder mentally and physically than having Rory – and I’d had an emergency C-section, lost loads of blood was drugged up to my eyeballs! But I’ve learned I can push myself much harder than I thought I could.”

Vicki would advise anyone looking to lose weight, take on a new challenge or quite simply gain more self confidence to take up running. “Probably every single person I’ve ever known was shocked at my weight loss,” she said. “Until last year, I don’t think I’d ever really worn anything more than a couple of inches above my knee, and I will now wear playsuits, or shorter dresses; I feel much more confident. Now I can enjoy exercise and food simultaneously and really enjoy treating myself to my favourite meals (and wine) after my runs!”

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From her humble beginnings plugging away at the NHS Couch to 5K podcast on her second-hand treadmill, Vicki tells us that she owes her achievements to the programme. “It’s brilliant. I would recommend it to anyone who wants to start running. At the end of the nine weeks you’ll run for 30 minutes non stop and think, ‘I can do this’.”

Women's Running Magazine

NMA’s 2020 Lifestyle Magazine of the Year, Women’s Running provides expert advice on gear and training, motivation from your favourite runners and the latest running news.

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