If someone had told me even 3 years ago that I would be running marathons I would never have believed them. This time 3 years ago I was quite happy running 5kms and the occasional 10km (not even quickly I might add!). This was also around the time I started taking my fitness a bit more seriously, so I started looking for my next challenge - which happened to be a half marathon held in my local city every Autumn. So I signed up, thinking it would be fine as I had months to train and get my distance up... but this didn't really happen - I managed to do some longish training runs on the lead-up and that was about it. My goal for the race was to finish in 2 hours, and I managed to cross the line in 1.51! Looking back now it was quite funny - I was wearing trainers I had since I was 15, a cotton t-shirt & no GPS watch (safe to say that all changed pretty quickly!).
I was hooked, I joined a local running club and started looking for more races to enter, although I was still convinced that 13.1 miles were quite far enough! The next few months were a bit bumpy, I had an injury that prevented me from running for about 4 months, and I felt that any progress I had made, disappeared just as quickly. So I was back at square one!
During the spring of 2015 was where I discovered my next passion - obstacle course racing! And I pretty much spent every weekend of that summer traveling up & down the country, running through mud, chucking myself over obstacles and meeting lots of new people (including my now fiance!) and alongside all that, my running was coming on leaps & bounds too! As well as my local half marathon, I was also lucky enough to get a ballot entry to one of the biggest & best half marathons in the world, the Great North Run! I loved seeing my times come down and the progress in my running, it really pushed me to keep going and to keep trying to get PBs, and I did, at my local half marathon I knocked 10 minutes off my 2014 time - result!
This was when I really started to think about going up to the next challenge - the marathon! But I didn't want to just do any marathon, I wanted to do the big one, the one everyone wants to get into, London! I had missed out on the ballots, but a local charity was looking for someone to represent them at the 2016 London Marathon, and I was lucky enough to get the spot! That's when the real fun began...
Fast Foward to April 2016, I had lots of new PBs under my belt & had worked really hard to get me ready for the main event, I felt ready and couldn't wait to take on the challenge. At the time it was physically & mentally the hardest thing I have ever done. I finally realised what people meant when they said about hitting the wall, it happened at mile 18 and I honestly didn't know how I was going to run for another 8 miles, but somehow I did. My goal for that race was to achieve a good time for my age (3:45) and I finished in 3:39:49. I was so proud of what I achieved, and I think no matter what I achieve in the future that will always be the race I am most proud of.
Completing the London Marathon really was the start of the marathon, and now ultra marathon journey, once I completed that I honestly felt like any distance was achievable if I put my mind to it! So far I have completed two 24 hour races, both times reaching 100km+ distances, along with the Paris Marathon & London again this year!
2017 hasn't been the best year performance wise for me, and with little niggles & injuries popping up its made it hard to get some consistent training in, so right now my focus is to get back to 100%, get stronger and get back out there and get those miles in! I will be on that start line for the 2018 London Marathon and I have a goal time in mind, and I also want to achieve 100miles in 24 hours, it's going to be a fun year!
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