On the 23rd of January 2015 something changed inside of me. Tired of lacking energy and despising the way I looked in the shop changing rooms, I ignored my coffee and cake cravings and went off to buy a running jacket. I could very easily have cut myself some slack, my 2nd baby wasn’t even two months old yet. I was also still very puffy, swollen and tender having had my first major surgery, an emergency c section. I was feeding my wee dude constantly and craved sugar big style. I deserved cake and as much of it as I damn well wanted. It didn’t matter though as I had become overwhelmed with a desire to get fit – to get strong and to be able to finally buy clothes I felt nice in. That day my running journey began – Keep on running
A year later and that same jacket that I could hardly zip up is drowning me. I have just given a bag of size 16 clothes to charity and the last jacket I got was a size 12. I have gone down several cup sizes too which means I am actually on the road to being able to buy some decent bra’s – honestly designers these days for bigger busts should be sacked #offensive #grannybragalore. Being a typical woman I am still not satisfied with my body. Those kids did some serious damage to the abs! It doesn’t matter though as I am on the road to a healthy weight and my whole attitude has changed. I feel so much fitter already. If I have a bad day, a bad week or a fairly bad month (it has just been Christmas and I have a new found love for brandy butter and brandy cream and don’t get me started on goats cheese from Iain Mellis, red wine and expresso martinis). I now no longer feel guilty about enjoying life a little too much at times. I have been running for a year now and it is part of my life. I feel I can call myself a runner. Those bags of clothes are long gone and I have no intention of going back there. I am going to have another picture comparison in early 2017 which makes me feel proud.
I love those friends who say things to your face that you need to hear. Words can be very important – sometimes they stay with you and come back to guide you when needed. In 2009 I was doing really well, I was working out a lot (much easier to get super trim fast pre kids btw). Everyone was telling me how great I was looking ‘wow have you been working out’. I was and yes I had been running a lot. However after a few months I just stopped. I started to take it easy and I lost my routine. I remember my friend Louise giving me some serious straight talking. She said ‘Jojo when you put your mind to something you are one of the best I know. You put effort in like no other. Then you give up -it frustrates the hell out of me’. Wow. The office went quiet. I was a little taken aback by her honesty. She was right though. All that effort, all that hard work was quickly wasted. Fitness has to be a lifestyle choice as it takes a lot of hard work to get fit but it can be so easy to lose it. I guess pre kids it didn’t bother me that much as I was still in the healthy weight category – just sometimes at the higher end of the scale – ah the days of child free holidays eating, drinking and lying in the sun napping and reading. They were worth a few extra pounds. Once I had kids it was a game changer – the baby weight was SO hard to get rid of. I had hit a level that I didn’t feel happy with. I lacked energy, I hated my wardrobe filled with clothes I didn’t like but clothes that would ‘skim’ over my worst parts. It’s a sad state of affairs shopping for flattering clothes and not the ones you really like.
Running does become addictive and it is not only great for the body but also for the mind. For those of you who have been following my journey -raising awareness for mental health is a huge passion of mine. It can be so easy to judge people about something before we personally experience things first hand. Has someone ever given you unwanted parenting advice? Even though you know your kids better than anyone and what they need? Well that is like someone telling a person with mental illness to lighten up and appreciate life. Until you have experienced an illness like depression first hand or cared for someone with it is so hard to understand. I love the fact that through the Edinburgh Marathon Festival I have met so many great runners who also want to raise awareness on what sadly is still a taboo subject. Running helps to prevent mental health problems, I have spoken to many people who suffer from depression who have found running to be an absolute God send. I know personally that when I feel super stressed, if the kids are being really hard or I am hurting I find that running clears my head. I can head off out and by the end of my run I feel ready to face the day. I am so grateful to my husband and the grandparents for allowing me this time to run. I am not only fitter but more tolerant of two beautiful but very demanding kids. We all need to escape and running is perfect for this. I often get my best ideas when I am running.
Last May a 10K distance seemed so far for me and now it is a normal part of my weekly exercise routine. I did my first half marathon a few days after Christmas and this May I will run my first marathon.
If you are unhappy with either your physical health, your BMI or your mental health then running might be for you. Start slowly and build it up. Run like nobody is watching. It doesn’t matter if you run slowly, if you walk some of it or if you mix it up. It is your personal journey. Some days going out in the cold can be hard. I just pace myself and find that after about 15 minutes I am fully in my stride and loving it. I forget how cold it is and enjoy the fresh air. Lots of people will cheer you on. I remember one of the first 5k runs I did when my wee boy was around 2 months old – towards the end I was in a bit of pain. I was still pretty tender from the birth and my mind was telling me to stop. I think that running is 70% mind and 30% body. A guy from across the road shouted ‘keep going you can do it’ and it got me through the last 1K. It is a lovely community and I am proud to be part of it. Give it a shot – you have nothing to lose except a bag of clothes in your wardrobe #keeponrunning