Last October, while off sick with a chest infection, I was aimlessly meandering around the web and stumbled across a video for the Tough Mudder London South obstacle race from earlier that year. I watched it. Then watched it again. I was strangely emotional and had a sudden ‘epiphany’; I needed to do this! There and then, I signed up for the London South Tough Mudder on 27 September 2015. Hoorah! Then it hit me; I would need to do some serious training, after all I hadn’t done ANY sort of exercise for eight years due to a rare neurological condition (called Idiopathic Intracranial Hypertension), and I had just signed up for a 12 MILE obstacle course!
Rather excitedly, I bought some cheap and cheerful running gear and some running shoes, and contemplated my first run. As an overweight, self-conscious newbie, the idea of pounding the pavements with my wobbly bits jiggling about for all to see, filled me with dread. So, I got my husband to join me for my initial foray, and from that moment I was hooked.
I gradually progressed from barely being able to run/walk one or two miles in the cold and dark of January, through running my first 5K without stopping in March, to finally managing my first 10K in May. In addition to running twice a week, I added strength training, kettle bells and upper body workouts to my routine. I upgraded my gear numerous times, bought countless pairs of running shoes and signed up for a few races. The first was the Major Series 5K in March, where I sprained an ankle five mins in but refused to give up, completed the course and went home hypothermic but happy. The next was the Electric Run 5K at the beginning of May, followed by the Bupa London 10K on the late May bank holiday, where I managed to trip over the timing mats at 5K and took out the elderly gent who was behind me (#awkward). Sunday 21 June saw me pounding the paths of Regents Park for the Macmillan 10K, which went surprisingly well and saw me get a new personal best time of 1hr 13minds.
The journey so far has been hard work and there have been frustrating times where I couldn’t train because of injury or illness. For example, I had a minor setback recently when I started wearing some new running shoes and developed the dreaded shin splints on the left and a nasty blister on my right arch. I’ve now gone back to my old faithful trainers and had a much needed, and rather painful sports massage to try and ease the splints in preparation for the next two races; a Race for Life 10K on the 12th July and then – how very exciting! – the Great Newham London Run 10K around the Olympic Park on 19 July. Here is my current training regime for the Great Newham London Run:
(Current regime: Running 3 times per week (15-20K), strength/weights 1 session per week, swimming once per week).
My journey has also been very rewarding; I have lost just under a stone and a half so far and can really feel the difference in my strength and fitness levels. The complements I get on my new, trimmer figure really make my day and make all the effort worth it, but nothing beats the feeling of accomplishment as I cross the finish line… and the very thought of running the last stages of a race on the track where Mo Farah, Jessica Ennis and Jonnie Peacock competed in the 2012 Olympics just blows my mind!
Less than one week to go!