Claire

After losing 10 stone I wanted to incorporate more exercise into my life. I had been a member of possibly every gym local to me over the years and didn't enjoy it, I felt too self-conscious and found it a chore - I avoided going and would make any excuse to myself everyday I had decided that 'today's the day' so needed to do something different. I follow a girl on Instagram called Laura (laura_jane1234) and she unknowingly at the time inspired me to try running, she once commented on one of her photos saying 'It's about getting the balance right - running means I can have treats and stay in shape and I love it'. I wanted to try this running lark so I downloaded the couch to 5k app in March 2016 and that's where my running journey began. It wasn't easy, I would go out at night often late and after work so it was dark and no-one could see me. I would go over the woods  up and down the back path, which is a gradual incline though at the time I didn't realise how much this was tiring me. I got to week 4 and was really struggling, I found it so difficult completing the running sections and it was actually keeping me awake at night worrying about the next run day. I'm a very determined person and once I set my mind to something I need to do it and I was adamant I wanted to run a solid 5k. I spent the next 4 weeks completing week 1 and 2 and not feeling as though I was progressing until a colleague said to go with her for a 3k. I reluctantly agreed and couldn't actually believe that I completed 3k without stopping to walk. I realised I had previously been running too fast so tiring myself out too quickly. Over the next 4 weeks I completed my first 5k and then noticed how much I was enjoying this, it wasn't a chore and I had the bug. As my love for running continued my confidence improved, I started running in the daylight and around the streets so my route options were endless now. My next goal was to complete 10k which I done in October. I was running 3 times a week, generally 1 short run 2-3k, 1 medium run 5-6k and 1 long run 9-10k. In January I switched over to miles as I was also walking a lot more and set myself the challenge of walking 1000 miles in 2017. I was then given a free years membership to run_around_europe after a friend from Instagram clare_j_3 put my name forward and I went on to win a lifetime membership. I never enter giveaways but this wasn't just a freebie to me, it was an opportunity to keep pushing and being the best version of me, and for that I'm so very grateful. I now run wearing my T-shirt with pride and tell anyone who will listen all about run around Europe.

 

I was following more and more runners on Instagram and could never understand how anyone could run a marathon. Now here I am wanting to achieve this one day. Who knew this fat lass could run never mind run a marathon. I CAN run, and I WILL one day run a marathon. I have entered my first 10k race for this September and half marathon this October and I am hoping to raise as much money as I can along the way for Alzheimers Research UK. I am aiming to run my first marathon in 2018 so watch this space. I run most days now, I don't set myself targets with each run I just get out and see how I feel when I'm out there and it also depends on how much time I have. There is a lovely park local to me so I spend a lot of time running around that, I prefer country running to street running, I love nature and just being away from the hustle and bustle of life. I also enjoy running in the rain, good job living in England ey. 

 

I have gone on to lose a further 4 1/2 stone but my body shape has also changed so so much which I don't think would have happened had I not started running. I work as a Community Nurse and my job can be very emotionally draining, I would most days come home and have a glass (which often turned into a bottle) of wine to help me cope with my day and prepare for the next. Since running I have found this is an even better stress relief as no hangover the next day. I ache, I can't remember a day that my legs didn't ache now but its all good, It's a welcome ache.  I have had a few non-running related injuries since starting running, costocondritis and more recently burns to my neck, head and shoulders which have mean't I had to stop running whilst I recuperated, which was often the thing that effected me most not being able to get out and release some tension. I still have days where something inside tells me I look ridiculous, I can't run, everyone's watching and laughing at me but these days are fewer than when I started so I can deal with that. When I look back at my running log I stick my middle finger up to this negativity. I'm not racing anyone, I also have nothing to prove to anyone, I'm simply keeping fit, enjoying running and maintaining a healthy mind in the process. Since posting about my journey and telling anyone who'll listen it seems I have inspired lots of others to take up running, including my partner Barry, who always said he could never run. Me being called an inspiration - who could ask for more than that.