If anyone had told me a year ago I would find a love of running I would have laughed and probably gone back to eating a bag of crisps and sitting on my butt watching terrible reality tv. And yet here I am, excited to get up at 7am on a Saturday morning and go to Parkrun. I’ve signed up to 3 separate 10km runs and 2 Race for Life’s and set myself a target to cover 1000km in 2017. In addition the horse riding that for 18 years I had told myself I could no longer do, is now my Sunday morning routine. My life has had a total transformation and I feel amazing.
We spend so much time focussing on what we aren’t and what we can’t do, I think we can forget to look up, pause, and celebrate the things we are and what we do achieve. But last year I was very much stuck in the ‘I’m not’ and ‘I can’t’ mindset. It became the norm to not even try. Media representation of fit and healthy reinforced that exercise wasn’t for me. At seven stone overweight there seemed an impossible mountain to scale to get me off the sofa and improving my health and well-being. But at 40 years old, what did that hold for my future? As the mother of two daughters what example was I setting for them? In reality, and I can look back now and say this about myself back then, I was letting me down and I was letting my girls down.
Ironically, the metaphoric crow bar that prised me from the sofa and out of my comfort zone was not to help myself, but was when my Step Mum was diagnosed with Stage 3 Ovarian Cancer last March/April. I needed to do something, I needed to show my support, so signed up for the Pretty Muddy Race for Life. I thought the giggles and the mud would cover up the pain, sweat and grumpiness that I was expecting would be the format of my ‘run’.
You will be as shocked as I was that somewhere along the training plan, I realised I quite enjoyed running and the sense of achievement and pride I felt by getting out there and doing it. Don’t get me wrong, it wasn’t easy and it certainly wasn’t pretty but somehow it was fun. I worried that once I had completed the race, with nothing to aim for my life would return to the inactivity and I didn’t want that. I’m not sure I could have handled that crash downwards.
So that kind of brings you up to where I was running pretty regularly, still not fast and still pretty sweaty and wobbly but the smile was developing mid run. Then ‘that photo’ happened. Now I’m a pretty shy person and we’re taught very young not to be boastful and to be modest, so to talk about being good at something or celebrating my own success felt very peculiar. But the amazing messages I got from people who were touched, inspired or motivated by my picture or that my story was a mirror of their own and they had been encouraged to make changes made me park all that stuff that would have stopped me putting myself forward to celebrate and share my successes. I am now trying to get around to parkruns around the country and say hello and share my story as wide as I can to continue to reach out to people and show that making small changes can have huge impact on your health, well-being and overall happiness. My comfort zone is being stretched every day and I am living experiences I couldn’t have imagined, being on TV and radio, and meeting the most amazing, warm and kind people, who are sharing the journey, success and achievement alongside me.
So if I was asked for what the message I wanted to leave with everyone from reading my story was, there would be two:
A #ChasingFitnessStory by Dawn Nisbet for Jordan Joseph