This time, a year ago, I was just a few months back from a three year stint in Canada where 20lbs of”Canada Fat’ had spread itself around my butt, love handles and belly to shield me from brutal winters. Or so I told my self. The reality? I was lazy. I’d always been active, but once I started to travel, funds ran low, depression set in and it just became harder and harder to give a crap about fitness.
Taking up boxing last February showed me just what a state of emergency my body was in. I practically needed to be stretchered out of that first session. It wasn’t pretty. By May, I’d shed quite a few pounds and was approached to run the Royal Parks Foundation Half Marathon in October. At this point, I still wouldn’t run for a bus. But, I accepted the challenge. My first attempt was hideous – I couldn’t run for 30 seconds – but it annoyed me that I wasn’t good at it, so I resolved to get better.
I completed that half marathon in 2 hours 30 minutes and my first thought was ‘great! It’s over!’ My second thought was ‘I could have done better.’ And so, I signed up for the Paris Half Marathon, got 19 of my Twitter friends to do it with me and we call ourselves Team Bangs on the Run, doing it in aid of Refuge (for women and children escaping domestic violence).
It’s taken time, but I’ve now started to enjoy running. Each time I run, I feel myself getting stronger, getting better. I enjoy pushing myself, showing myself that I’m not a quitter. (Yes, there are many-a-cheesy parallel between running and life itself).
My training plan has me running four times a week. I run alone. It’s not always easy. There are days I just don’t want to do it, but it’s mind over matter. Once I have that running gear on and am out the door, I forget all the reasons I told myself I couldn’t do it.
When I run, I think about the 19 other girls who have taken this leap of faith with me and are training their asses off. I block out how cold it is, or that I may be running in snow, or that my nose is running or my feet hurt and I just run. I think about finishing in Paris in 2 hours 10 minutes (my goal time) and how that will feel. I think about how much better my body feels having shed over 20lbs and being in the best shape of my life.
I started doing a new route on my 4 mile training runs that has a big hill in it. It makes my legs burn and my lungs feel as though they’re going to burst through my chest, but half way up that hill, I pass a women’s shelter that houses women who’ve escaped domestic violence and suddenly, I feel power in my legs. Suddenly, I’m running for all those women. For every woman who doesn’t have a voice, every woman who’s scared, intimidated, been hit, pushed, abused, silenced, protected their children, buried their pain. For every woman who’s ever felt less than, as if they have no escape, but they somehow find the strength to do it. If they can withstand that, I can run up that bloody hill and then some.
Our aim is to raise £10K for Refuge. I’ve never personally experienced domestic violence but I feel for every single woman who has. Every penny that Team Bangs on the Run raise will help make these women safer.
And that, is why I run.
If you’d like to sponsor Team Bangs on the Run and help us reach our goal for Refuge, please check out our Just Giving page – we appreciate every penny and message of support.