The same friend then asked me if I would like to enter a running event which was due to take place a month or two later. It was a 10km (6.1 mile) race in Staines, Middlesex. I somewhat nervously agreed and devised a training plan to increase my mileage in preparation for the event. I will never forget the feeling I had as I stood at the start line with some very serious looking runners alongside me. To be honest I felt like I shouldn't have been there as I knew that there was absolutely no way I was going to be able to compete with all the super fit people around me.
However, I quickly realised that the race wasn't actually about how fast I was in comparison with others - it was all about me achieving a personal goal and competing against myself to see if I could push my body just a little bit further and a little bit faster than before. I soon also saw that by entering such events I was able to motivate myself to keep running throughout the year as there was always a goal to work towards. Therefore, over the next 2 years I entered and participated in a number of different races and at the same time increased my race distance to the half marathon (13.2 miles).
Eventually I became determined to reap the benefits of structured exercise again and put my trainers back on, but this time to power walk my way around the local neighbourhood. I found that this didn't aggravate my old injury and I was also pleased to find that I actually still appeared to be relatively fit. Within a month of starting to train again I completed the Windsor Twilight Walk, a 13 mile walk around the beautiful sights of Windsor and its Great Park. Spurred on by this I then entered the London Moonwalk in 2011 (I was a volunteer at the event in 2010). This annual event starts at Midnight and involves mostly women walking either 13 or 26 miles around London in decorated bras to raise money for breast cancer research. I was very proud to complete the full 26 miles in a fraction over 6 hours and at the same time raise funds for such a worthy cause.
This week my friendship with running has shakily become reacquainted. I have started a brand new journey, which has some similarities to the one I commenced back in 2007. This time however I am a little bit older and somewhat heavier than I was then, but after 3 consecutive nights of walking out the door to pound (or plod!) the pavements I am beginning to remember why I used to like to run so much. Maybe completing 5km in 34 minutes is a far cry from the 27 minutes I used to be able to do it in but I know that it will get easier as the days and weeks pass by and that gradually the walking breaks I currently need to take will reduce and disappear. I may now be 40 but I am determined to get my body back into shape and can't wait to be able to show off a leaner and fitter me over the coming months!!