by Joanne Wellbeloved
I’ve watched my partner Glenn complete half marathons over the past few years and I have always said I would love to be able to do that. I was out cheering on some of my Slimming World members running the Cardiff Half in October 2019 and I thought to myself let’s do this before I’m 50. A years training should do it right?!
I was browsing on Facebook that evening and saw a post about She Runs. I always find sometimes things pop up on Facebook exactly when you need them too! I joined the group, set my alarm, pulled on the only pair of running trainers I had along with an old pair of leggings and went down to Penylan Library absolutely terrified. I was thinking will I even be able to run? Will anyone speak to me?. It was a daunting thought at first.
I met the ladies there, it was lovely to see a friendly face as I already knew Sam Haines, everyone was really welcoming and off we went.
Elaine and Sam chatted to me the whole way, I was listening to them but didn’t really say much as I couldn’t breathe! I managed to complete the 5K route which i’ll admit wasn’t easy. It took 41 minutes but I was happy with this as I hadn’t done any running in many years. The next day I couldn’t walk down the stairs but I felt amazing and I couldn’t wait to go out again next week.
As well as running on the Sunday morning, I joined the She Runs Wednesday evening run and even started going out on my own on a Friday. I caught the running bug and started to slowly increase my distance and….. signed up for the Cardiff Half for 2020.
November 2019 I ran my first 10k and I haven’t looked back. Then in March 2020, the UK went into lockdown. She Runs had to stop but the fabulous run buddies have supported us with virtual run clubs and virtual challenges. The group has really kept me motivated especially as all of our races were cancelled/postponed due to COVID-19. I even bought a treadmill in a panic just incase we were banned from leaving the house altogether!
One morning on May 22nd, I went out on a long run and ended up completing my first half marathon at 13.1 miles.
One of the virtual challenges was the ‘Race to the Stones’ Ultra Marathon which was 100k over a week. It was hard work and I managed to complete the equivalent of two full marathons over four days. However this taught me a valuable lesson of not to overtrain as I ended up being poorly. Always listen to your body! Again, the support during this time was incredible and they even dedicated the last 9 miles for me as I couldn’t run it.
My PB for a 5k run is now 28 minutes so this shows how far I have come since my first run. The Facebook group are so friendly and encouraging and they really make you feel part of such a great running community. It’s great to have a hobby which I enjoy, that has benefits for both my physical and mental health and I have even lost 1st in weight since doing this. Now that really is a perk!
So, I started off being not a runner in the slightest (The only thing I could run was a bath) to running half marathon distances within 7 months. I have run three half marathon runs and I am on course to complete 1000 miles in 2020. Although I may not be the fastest or the fittest, I now class myself as a runner and If I can do that, anyone can!
Happy 1st Birthday to She Runs Cardiff. Here’s to many more!