Friday, 15 April 2011

Embracing a Healthier Lifestyle Part One - Catching the Running Bug

Hello lovelies.

So I've decided to start a new series on embracing a healthier lifestyle - it'll be a little about why I'm choosing to embrace one and hopefully will help some of you embrace one too!

I love this picture.... this is me last year before my first 10k with my friend Roy. Note the attractive luminous yellow running very that the CF Trust provide us with - it's brighter than a policeman's jacket (yep, we've checked).

Last year, whilst Peter was out doing something else, I stupidly sent off an email to the CF Trust to see about entering the Run for All York 10k. They got back to me and said yes and that was it, I was locked in.

I had never run in my life.

Growing up, my family made jokes about my complete lack of co-ordination and my utter inability to run. I would never win a race, in fact, it was a sure thing that I'd always come last. I hated PE at school, right from Year 3 when we had running races across the school field and my hayfever made them agony. 

When I hit Secondary School, I developed some pretty made muscular issues which saw me going through endless x-rays (which showed that I have an extra rib on my left side.... weird!), tests and physio appointments.

When I was 13, I was told I'd be in a wheelchair by 16, maybe 18 at the latest.

I was in agony all the time. My knee would regularly collapse underneath me as I was walking, my left arm would just spasm and I'd drop things (flute down the stairs, several mobiles into water). I was walking with sticks regularly from the ages of 15 to 20. The eventually decided that I had Fibromyalgia, but that still didn't quite explain why my Quads were wasting away or why my Hamstrings are so tight!

So how did I become a runner, I hear you cry.

Well, it was a long, slow process. The first time I showed some signs of getting better was when I was Vegan (so from 16-19) but I still wasn't right. What I discovered then was that removing dairy from my diet helped and so did trying to maintain a fairly low sugar diet. But something still wasn't right.

Things got a little better when I came to University, partially (I believe) due to some prayer that I received at church - after that prayer session, I was a lot better for quite a few months, but eventually, things slid closer to how they were.

A couple of Lents ago, I decided to give up wheat.


I was free! Free from the endless pain and weakness. My body was alive again and it was mine :)

It was at this point that I decided to introduce some exercise into the mix, starting with Yoga. Then Peter, my now husband, taught me how to ride a bike (I'd never really been able to do it before) - suddenly I was exercising on a daily basis! My body was growing in strength and I was growing in confidence.

After a few years of yoga, cycling and wheat avoiding (for the most part anyway), clearly something in my brain decided I was ready for a change.... hence I found myself signed up for a 10k race having never run before in my life!

The training was tough, partially because I managed to break my toe in the middle of it and was set back a long way. Also because I'm stupid and eat too many of the things I shouldn't which doesn't ever have a positive effect on my body. But I did it, in 1 hour 13 minutes. I did the impossible.

I didn't run again after my 10k, and I kinda figured that was it for my running "career". Winter set in and I slipped back into bad habits (lots of wheat, no cycling, no yoga). My body started to show signs of slipping back to where it had been, and my lovely, toned curves of the summer are now long gone.

Somehow, I completely forgot what happened the last time I asked the CF Trust if I could run for them, and, assuming they'd say no, I asked if they had any Great North Run places left for this year.

Of course they did!

Hence the running bug came out of my subconscious and whacked me back into action. It will be hard, and I will hate myself for signing up at points I'm sure, but the fact is, by running this race I can prove to myself and to anyone else reading this that our bodies are stronger than we think they are.

You are stronger than you think! (Thanks to Angela for that piece of advice)

Now I know that running isn't for everyone, but what I want to share with you is that we all have reasons why we think we can't do something. Sometimes it's because of lies we're told when we're younger (You can't do that, You'll never be as fast as so and so, You're not the sporty type), sometimes it's because of fear (What if I fail? What if it hurts?), sometimes it's because we just can't be bothered (I want to be slimmer and healthier but I like my life how it is) and sometimes, it's because it appears that our bodies just won't do it.

Now obviously, if it's the latter, you might want to seek medical help first, but I want to challenge you to try and find solutions for those problems that stop you for plunging into a healthier lifestyle - to work out how you can exercise and give it a try!

If you're a runner, how did you catch the running bug?

If you're not exercising at the moment, what's stopping you?

As a cheeky side note to this post, if any of you lovelies fancy sponsoring me for the Great North Run (and the York 10k as I'm running it again this year) you can do so here and I'll be eternally grateful xx


  1. Such an inspiring post - congratulations on the 10k run, must have been such an amazing feeling crossing the finishing line :)
    I started regular running in February this year after not being able to afford my gym membership any more and I love it - I'm going to enter into a race this summer to motivate me to train more frequently as I don't want to lose the running bug! x

  2. Fab post, running IS amazing isn't it?!

    I've ran all my life ever since I was teeny weeny because my Dad was a crazy obsessed marathon runner who used to drag me out with him against my will every weekend. And I HATED it when I was younger, it's only within the last year that I've finally realised the buzz he got and knew why he loved it so much :)

  3. I'm in awe of you and I literally cannot think of a better charity to donate to. I lost one of my best friend to CF when she was only 20 and I really don't think people realise how devestating CF can be. I am extremely impressed! Will sponsor you as soon as I get paid. xxx

  4. Lily - thank you sweetie :) Haha it wasn't that amazing - I was in so much pain by the end (from some unfortunately placed chaffing that I barely even registered crossing it! Entering a race is definitely the best way to keep the running bug strong! I wish I'd entered some more over autumn/earlier this year as I just stopped after my 10k!

    Becky - thanks lovely :) It really is utterly fab! I love love love it :D

    Curly - Awww *blushes* thank you sweetpea and thank you for sponsoring me (in advance). I'm sorry about your friend :( I'm utterly blessed that Peter is so strong and healthy but I get so worried about him and his sister. When they were younger, their friends were told they probably wouldn't make it to Uni, but both of them have graduated with Firsts and are loving their lives. The CF Trust is doing some amazing stuff and it's such a shame that it gets nowhere near the coverage of say heart disease or diabetes and yet is the most common genetic disorder in the UK :/


Your comments and thoughts are really appreciated :) Thank you for taking the time to chat xx