Tahlia’s running journal PART ONE: How I got into this running malarkey

SO, I’ve decided to document my running journey from here on in, to help motivate myself and hopefully you to get your trainers on and get running!

Here’s my back story. I was always a sporty child, running cross country, trampolining, playing Hockey and Tennis and Squash, and I absolutely loved athletics! It was all good on my fitness journey until I reached the age of 18 and found booze, boys and clubbing, and at university things went down hill…

At the age of 27, I finally realised that my fitness was something that I needed to take more seriously and I joined a gym with my mum. I managed to loose three stone at that point, but always weighed a bit more than I’d liked to because of my love of food and wine. Since then, I’ve always hovered about a stone above my ideal weight, but that’s fluctuated quite a lot in between having my three children.

In 2015, I saw post on Facebook from someone looking to get a team together for Dirty Dozen, a muddy assault course to help raise money for a little girl with Neuroblastoma, and so I replied. At that point, it was too late to change my mind. I was accountable to my team, and so there was only one thing for it. I got my running shoes on.

Some days it was painful, some days it felt plain impossible, but the April deadline of the race kept me focused, and I got my shoes on again, and again, and again and built my runs from 2 to 10k over a course of three months. Looking back, I can’t say I found these runs particularly enjoyable, but I felt a sense of achievement that I could run over a distance.

Race Day came, and I felt sick.

You know that awful sinking feeling, the feeling of dread and disbelief and “What on earth was I thinking, I’ll never do this.” My family and friends come to cheer us on, and the reality of what I’d signed up for finally kicked in. I should probably mention at this point that high obstacles really aren’t my thing. I hate heights. I’m terrified. Getting me up a ladder? No chance. So looking at these huge obstacles to climb and navigate was a really daunting prospect. My team (particularly my gorgeous little sister) guided me up and down the obstacles with care and patience and we did it. We all finished the obstacle race together – muddy, aching but elated to have done it (and from what I remember, we had raised over £800 for the Neuroblastoma charity too).

Later on that evening, when I was sitting in the bath looking at my bruised and battered legs a real sense of pride and achievement came over me. Maybe I was good for something after all. Maybe I was braver than I thought. Maybe, just maybe I was more than ‘just a mum’. This might sound a bit of a cliche, but it was a real turning point for me and I’ve never looked back.

After that day, I felt determined to become fitter, stronger and to set an example for my children to lead fit and active lives. I joined a post-natal yoga class and learned that my body needed some serious work to put it back together after my three babies – my diastasis (the gap between my stomach muscles) was three fingers wide. Lots of yoga (and two years later) this went back to a more normal state. I was able to plank for one minute (to start with I could’t even hold the position) and the persistent back aches and pains I’d had since my 20s seemed to go away. Pippa, my yoga teacher was amazing – she taught me so much about my body and also my mind. How to relax, to let go of things in my daily life which were causing me stress or upset, and because of Pippa I feel I’m a much more calm and balanced person than I’d been before. I’m able to deal with things much better too. Thanks Pippa for all you did to help put me back together both physically and mentally.

Anyway, I’ll fill you in on what happened next in another instalment – I think that’s probably enough of my fitness story for now. Next time we’ll talk about Bootcamp and running my first half marathon! See you soon, Tahlia x

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