That was the sound of the light bulb turning on suddenly, back in Jan 2011. As a morbidly obese, single gal, who was nearing the big 3 0, I knew I had to sort myself out. I gathered my courage and joined a small, local gym. And I started walking. After a while I could comfortably cover 3 miles in around 54 minutes - not the swiftest I know, but it was a start. I went 3 times a week, covering about 9 miles. After around 7 months I had lost over 2 stone and was a size 16 - the smallest and lightest I'd been in a long time. This increased my confidence no end and I bagged myself a boyfriend. I couldn't have been happier.
In late 2011, I moved out of my parents house to live with my boyfriend. People worried it was too soon but I'd waited so long for this man that I just knew I had to give it a go. If it didn't work out, then at least I'd tried. The gym sessions were abandoned as it was too far to travel to regularly and I was walking to and from work every day (2 miles every day). However, my body missed those gym sessions & I was eating more again as my boyfriend cooked us lovely meals. The weight started to creep back on. I had to do something.
April 2012 saw a new leisure centre opening near to us - it had a pool! We signed up and I went swimming 3 times. I love, love, love swimming but I hated it there. The slow lane was too slow, the medium lane was full of Michael Phelps wannabes and the fast lane was, well, too fast. And I couldn't see because I didn't have my specs on! So back to the treadmill then. I got back into my 3 mile walk routine but it wasn't the same. I tried rowing too, but something just wasn't right.
"You should try running"
"Don't be daft, I don't DO running"
Then, while not actually working in work (you know what I mean!), I found the NHS Couch to 5k plan. 30 seconds of running? Surely even I could do that? So I downloaded the podcasts and gave it a go.
HELL ON EARTH. That's what I thought I'd found. Lovely Laura and her naff music conned me into inflicting physical suffering upon myself. I thought I was going to die. BUT I'd done it. I had RUN (albeit very, very slowly). I had done Week 1 Run 1. The plan is 9 weeks long but I gave myself an extra 3. Just in case.
18 weeks later I finished Week 9 Run 3. Yes, it had taken me much longer than I had hoped but I was quite poorly throughout 2012 and some gym sessions were missed. I also repeated some weeks because I didn't feel ready but Lovely Laura told me that was okay - she promised I would get there eventually. And I did.
I now run for 30 minutes, 3 times a week. A proper runner if you will. I have, since Jan 2011, lost around 4 stone. I have spent a fortune recently on new clothes as I am now a size 14. I am LOVING the new, healthy me!
There is however one small problem. I am still a 5k virgin. I am just too damn slow. I cover 3 miles in around 38/39 minutes, running at 4.8 mph (doing the warm up / cool down walks at 3.8 to 4.0 mph). I've been trying to increase my speed to 5.0 mph but I can only maintain this for 15 minutes max. My last run was terrible - my legs died and I had to stop after a paltry 10 minutes. I was crushed.
BUT I am determined to keep going. I WILL run 5k. After 18 long weeks doing the plan, I know that it's 50% physical exertion and 50% mind over matter. I think I will change tactics, and try to increase my time instead of my speed. My little legs are obviously struggling at the 5.0 mph pace!
So thank you NHS, thank you C25k, and thank you Lovely Laura. You and your cheesy music helped to focus my mind and improve my health. I am forever grateful.