Every story needs inspiration. It comes in many forms and it is unique to each individual. I often say that I can help provide the how… what I can’t do is give anyone their why.
The inspiration for this blog entry came from some of my social media followers. After I published my last post about the cycle of dieting and breaking free of it, I was asked lots of times.. “how did you start?” and “what keeps you motivated?”. So here it all is… not quite in a nutshell but I’ll try not to go on for too long!
My Grandma was my inspiration to change my life. In September 2015 we had set up a Badminton net on the lawn and my sisters and I had a go. The realisation that, at 33, I was much less fit and able than my 84 year old Grandma was a massive wake up call.
That day I finally admitted to myself that I needed to do something to lose weight and to improve my health. I couldn’t keep pretending that my back and knees didn’t hurt daily or laughing off the fact that I needed a defibrillator just walking my little girl to school.
I didn’t do any exercise to begin with, I lost several stone through diet alone and continued to avoid exercise as much as I could. In my very first blog I wrote a bit about how I started running. I’m really grateful that a friend asked me to go with her for a run one evening in April 2016. Gayle was my inspiration to start running and to keep trying… I longed to be able to run 5k so we could head out together for a ‘proper’ run or go to parkrun.
Gayle and I trained together for my first half-marathon in May 2017 – Liverpool Rock & Roll. Entering that event taught me an awful lot about how having a goal race motivates me. I ran that first half to raise money for a local charity which supports children with cancer – the knowledge that friends and family had sponsored me was all I needed to make me get up and out for a run on those cold winter mornings.
Now, I’m inspired daily by the incredible people I follow on Social Media – by Super Mums like Sophie Power and Liz Yelling. By Olympians like Sir Mo and legends like Eliud Kipchoge – when he said “I would like to tell every living soul in the world that anyone can do whatever they want. All they need is to believe in and trust in themselves” he really struck a chord with me.
But mostly, I’m inspired by ‘normal’ runners. By the people who support and encourage me, who pick me up with a kind comment or a little message after a tough run or when I’m doubting myself. I see you all juggling family life, work, volunteering commitments and running and that’s what really inspires me. There is always someone busier than me, someone with more balls in the air than me – and they’re still out there, getting it done… and that’s so inspiring. The running community is inclusive, encouraging and incredibly supportive. I feel very fortunate to be part of it.
After inspiration comes motivation and mine takes many forms. The constant one is my girls; my desire to set them a positive example and to show them the benefits of leading an active life. I want the girls to see me exercising and working towards my goals and I want them to grow up to know that they can be anyone and do anything… as long as they’re prepared to work hard.
I mentioned earlier that I’m motivated by a goal race and entering an event is something I often recommend when someone messages to say they’ve lost their running mojo. Other things which work for me when motivation is lacking:
- Running a new route – if you’ve never tried trail running give it a go! I used to think I didn’t like it but I’m a total convert.
- Trying a new session – something like one minute efforts, mixing up my training always seems to help.
- Doing something other than running – trying a new class, going swimming, or, heaven forbid, dusting my bike off.
- A new piece of kit… in my case, it’s usually a new pair of leggings which I can’t wait to wear, but whatever works for you – I know not everyone is into leggings brighter than the sun!
- Arrange a run with friends or consider joining a local club. Running has brought some amazing friends into my life and if enthusiasm is a bit low, knowing I can meet one of them for an easy, chatty run makes it seem much more appealing.
- Try and remember how you’ll feel once it’s done – I know it’s been said hundreds of times but nobody ever regrets going for a run, even the rubbish ones are worthwhile.
- Lastly… just go. Put your kit on and tell yourself you’ll just do a mile and then see how it feels – I bet more often than not you’ll end up doing 5k before you head home.
Finally, I want to finish this post with a little bit about determination and this phrase in particular…
“She’s obsessed isn’t she!?”
I know people think it, heck some people are even bold enough to say it. And you know what? Yes I am. Completely and utterly obsessed with becoming the best that I can be.
I finally feel like I’ve found me, like I don’t need to be smaller, or quieter or less.
And more than that, I’m obsessed about getting my message out to as many people as I possibly can. Obsessed with educating people about how the latest fad diet isn’t helping them. Obsessed with helping people realise how good exercise makes them feel.
Just over here working my socks off to try and brighten up the world, one person at a time.