My First Park Run

You may have read in one of my earlier blog posts about becoming a Superhero that I have been trying to get fitter and healthier by doing more exercise.

As a child I was quite athletic. I was involved in a lot of sports at school and also enjoyed extra curricular activities such as dance and netball. I also had two dogs growing up that I used to spend hours walking on a daily basis and even spent time horse riding. So being fit and healthy to me as a child was second nature and I never worried about my weight. Even through school I never once remember thinking ‘oh I need to lose weight’ or ‘my stomach looks to flabby’. I was genuinely happy with my body and my family and friends were all fit and healthy so I lived a very energetic  life.

Fast forward ten years and we have a different story. I made some poor life choices as a rebellious teenager and took up smoking at the age of sixteen to impress a boy I fancied at the time. It’s a part of me I am not proud of and you will read in my earlier blog post ‘Quit Smoking’ that I battled with this addiction for nearly ten years! It took a dramatic effect on my health especially my diet. When I was smoking, the cigarettes would often decrease my appetite meaning I would skip breakfast and eat at random times of the day. Because I was skipping meals I would often reach for fast food when I was hungry such as crisps, biscuits and junk food. This path seemed to spiral over the next ten years and I became incredibly overweight and unhealthy. The smoking had damaged my lungs and I had been admitted to hospital twice with pneumonia! My weight was getting heavier and I was becoming increasingly insecure and unhappy. To be honest I was bloody miserable!

However, as you will know if you have read my other blogs there is light at the end of the tunnel! I managed to quit smoking and I changed my diet and began to exercise more. Little by little I was starting to feel better and healthier!

I got back in contact with an old friend I knew from my teenage years who is now a Disney Blogger and runner. She is pretty inspirational and after seeing she had just ran a half marathon I wanted to get in touch! We started chatting on Twitter and she mentioned about Park Run which was a running event held every Saturday morning all over the UK for people to go and run 5k or 10k. The best thing is it’s free!!! Seriously all you do is register online, print off your barcode and turn up. The barcode is so you can give it to the volunteers and the end of your run to email you your time. I know right it’s all very professional!

Here is me starting my Saturday morning off with a smile. I was just impressed with myself that I managed to get up and out of bed before 9am! It was the weekend after all and everyone who knows me know that I like to catch up on my sleep on the weekend.

Here is a picture of a very cold me listening to a volunteer explain the running course and how everything works. It was so cold that day and I was really just wanting to get going.

A super enthusiastic me wanting my picture taken next to the Park Run flag. My friend takes awesome pictures!

The volunteers were all very friendly and I was shocked to see so many people turn up. It was if I was running an actual marathon or something. We had volunteers and signs telling you where to go and people stood at different points of the course cheering you on and keeping you motivated!

I found the first mile OK. I was pacing myself and trying to regulate my breathing but I found that it was the pain in my legs that were holding me back not my breathing. After doing no exercise for ten years to try running a 5k my calf muscles kept seizing up and I found I had to slow down to a walk a few times through out the course to free up my muscles.

This was the final lap and as you can see my spirit was up even if my legs were dead!

I was determined to run the last lap and the closer I got to the the finish line I could hear everyone cheering me on which was an amazing feeling to know that even strangers were supporting you!

Crossing the finish line! The feeling of accomplishment was like no other. If someone had said to me a year ago that I would be getting up earlier on a Saturday morning to run a 5k I would have laughed at them. I was definitely a bit emotional afterwards to have achieved something I didn’t think I could and very very proud of myself.

The whole running event was brilliant from start to finish. Everyone was super friendly and professional and it caters for all people no matter what your running capability is. Even though I was a complete beginner I was not made to feel like I wasn’t good enough to be there. I 100% recommend it to anyone who’s up for it. I feel like I have found a whole new community of people that just want to get healthy and will help each other along the way.

If you want to learn more or would like to find a Park Run event that’s local to you then take a look at the their website below.

http://www.parkrun.co.uk

I hope you enjoyed this blog and feel free to leave me a comment. Also if you’re not already then take a look at my Instagram page and Facebook!

So I suppose there isn’t much left but to show you my finishing time for my first ever 5k run. I’m proud of it and I can’t wait to beat my personal best!

Lots of love

Jess xxx

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