Every International Women’s Day there are an abundance of pictures, memes and quotes all about amazing women doing amazing things.
Many were celebrating of women achieving an incredible range of sporting achievements, from scaling mountings, to cycling across tough terrains and running marathons. Looking at these images rarely had the desired effect of inspiration on me though, ‘I will never be able to do those things’, I would think to myself, normally whilst eating a doughnut. Besides, I thought ‘those women are probably all boring exercise freaks’.
Imagine my surprise the night before this International Women’s Day to find myself running around the bay on a chilly Cardiff night, legs burning, heart racing and reciting 80’s power ballads in my head to keep me going. This of course is what happens when you sign up to become a Run Wales champion, you get outside and out of your comfort zone.
So how did I go from exercise sceptic to a beginner runner and Run Wales Champion and blogger you might well ask? Well, as detailed in my first Run Wales blog a good friend of mine, as well as several family members, have been affected by the dreaded C. My young friend has been battling with Hodgkin’s Lymphoma and has thankfully started to come out the other side but it was this shock diagnosis that prompted a change in me. Firstly, I decided I was going to run a 5k for charity next year to raise money for a cancer charity, to show my solidarity and secondly to try and get fit.
My fitness over the years has slumped to a shocking level. I was tired of always making excuses ‘I’m too tired/I hate the rain/Game of Thrones is on’, it was time to take responsibility for myself, instead of hiding in a blanket fort and eating chocolate.
The amazing I Run Wales have been supporting me ever since with advice, encouragement and support in the form of their amazing Communications Officer Rebecca Williams, out with me in all weathers, teaching me how to run. This to me is exactly what International Women’s day is all about, highlighting those lovely ladies who lift us up, who support and nurture us, you ladies rock and Becca you are the most brilliant motivator and friend a newbie runner like myself could ask for.
In joining a walk to run group run by Becca I am slowly starting to learn that exercise itself is indeed a powerful way to alter your mind-set, ‘Exercise is all up here’ Becca tells me, pointing to her head especially when I proclaim I am ‘dying’ after 2 minutes of solid running and she’s right. For me running has always been a mental barrier, it’s long been labelled as something I can’t do and it’s slowly but surely changing to something I can do, it’s all about changing my attitude, saying ’yes I bloody well can’ and strapping those neon running shoes. Maybe I’ll never scale a mountain or row across the channel but what I can do is take baby steps towards my goals without being too sacred to try. A few months ago running a 5k seemed an impossibility but thanks to Run Wales it’s starting to feel that bit closer to being achievable and that feels like a win to me.