Thirty two-year-old Michelle Nicholson will be running ten 10K races this summer, over ten consecutive days, to raise money for the Miscarriage Association and Leicester Royal Infirmary.
At the beginning of this year, Michelle, a Customer Service Developer from Hinckley, Leicestershire, had never run more than 5K. Now she is covering the 10K distance up to three times a week in preparation for her 10 x 10K challenge.
In 2010, Michelle miscarried at eight weeks. An extremely traumatic and hugely emotional experience, the miscarriage caused much distress for Michelle, leading to almost two years of her and her husband desperately trying and failing to conceive.
Suffering in silence, Michelle felt unable to talk about the miscarriage and her desperate struggle to get pregnant, until finally she opened up to a nurse, who encouraged her to take fertility tests. In being able to talk about what she was going through, Michelle felt a weight had been lifted. She said:
“I was stressing about it all and it was actually at a smear test that I went to that it all came out. I was crying and telling the nurse all about it, and she got me into Leicester Royal Infirmary to have some tests done. That was such a huge moving point for us.”
After undergoing a series of intrusive fertility tests, Michelle and her husband were told nothing was medically wrong. It was only when Michelle and her husband were about to go through the first phases of fertility treatment, Michelle amazingly fell pregnant.“It was amazing because it was literally a month before we were going to have the treatment done I fell pregnant. I couldn’t believe it,” said Michelle. “I think it was relief that we knew we were going to be fixed.”
Michelle now has a little boy, Frank, who will be two this June. She firmly believes that if she had spoke about she was going through, those extremely painful two years could have been very different. She said:
“I now realise that if I spoke about it all at the time and opened up to people, things may have been different. So, this isn’t just a running challenge for me, it’s also my challenge to learn to talk about what happened.”
In the two years following the miscarriage, Michelle’s life was dominated by an obsession with becoming pregnant. “I was just so obsessed with becoming pregnant,” says Michelle. “I was checking ovulation kits every month and every part of me was focused on getting pregnant. If only today’s me could talk to that me, I wouldn’t have obsessed at all and I think things would have happened naturally.”
In completing her 10 x 10 challenge, which will include eight routes around her local town, a 10K Race For Life and a finale race at our WR10K in Nottingham, Michelle aims not only to learn to talk about what she went through, but to encourage other women to do the same. She said:
“It’s hard to understand how upsetting a miscarriage can be because people don’t class it as having a baby yet. It’s that big dream that’s taken from you. You’ve got an idea of your future and are mapping it out as soon as you find out you’re pregnant.”
“The challenge has helped me to talk to other people about it. If I could just reach out and help one woman who is going through what I did, then that’s mission accomplished!”
For Michelle, running in a women’s-only race is extremely poignant. “A miscarriage is something a couple goes through, but the situation surrounding it is very much female-focused, so I am pleased I am doing a women’s-only race,” says Michelle.
Having never run a 10K race before, Michelle began with the Women’s Running 5K Improver’s plan. Though she is finding the training tough, she feels she has learned lots along the way. “I’ve learned how I can build my endurance and strength and also lots about my nutrition, such as when to eat and the importance of re-fuelling after a run.”
Michelle looks forward to seeing her little boy, Frank, wave her over the finish at the Women’s Running 10K in July – her final race as part of a physical, emotional and hugely personal challenge.
To donate to Michelle’s cause, visit :