I always competed in sport whilst I was at school. I was never really good at a particular sport, but I loved trying things and being part of a team and hanging out with people. At university I had a bike for transport, but never really cycled for fun apart from the time I cycled next to my friend Helen whilst she was running. I was barely able to cycle at the speed she was running on our way to Jonkershoek. :-) On our way back I cycled past a friend and he was holding his hand out for a high five, but instead of clapping my hand he held my hand and as a result I landed flat on my face with 2 touch rugby teams witnessing this spectacle.
My bike took me everywhere on campus, but I got negligent by leaving my bike locked up at the student centre for weeks whilst I was driving around with a university vehicle, needless to say by the time I wanted to cycle it back to my halls of residence the one pedal was stolen off. The next time I walked past where my bike was parked, it was gone. Months later we retrieved the bike after I spotted a young kit riding around with it as we were on our way to church. Unfortunately it got stolen again as my tight university budget only allowed me to buy a dog collar as a chain. Seriously what was I thinking, but so you live & learn from your mistakes?!
I moved to England after university and I lived here for about 2 years before I started doing any exercise. I literally lived next to Wimbledon Common for 2 years, but didn’t know nor had any interest in what it could’ve offered me. I was one of those people that thought exercise is for other people, definitely not for me!
As I have a bigger bust than most women this was one of the things that held me back from running until a friend introduced me to Bravissimo! I was no longer able to use that as an excuse. My friend Elisca told me how important it was to run with the correct running shoes and offered to take me to Sweatshop in Teddington. I was still running with my 7-year old trainers needless to say every run almost ended in tears. I bought the ugliest and most expensive shoes I’ve ever owned, but decided that I would get my monies worth from the £85 I spend, in order to do so I had to run!
Shortly after that I started a training program that a friend from work, Ali gave to me. My roommate, Hilda and her sister Cecile started this with me and we literally started from 0 minutes – 30 minutes in 12 weeks. In the beginning 1 min of running felt undo-able, moving up to 2 and 3 minutes running was a huge mind battle! Eventually we did our first 5km race before the end of the 12 weeks and never looked back. This was revolutionary!
Four things that I am most grateful for and that I think contributed to the success of this training program
- Training partners - we never cancelled on each other even when we really didn’t want to go we would meet and go
- The weather - we met at 6:30 and somehow that summer we missed the rain every time
- Training program – the loading was perfect, we never got stiff or injured
- Experienced friends who encouraged us and making us feel that we are doing great even though they were training for marathons
Looking back at where I've started in 2007 today makes me so thankful and incredibly proud of the things I've taken on in the past 8 years! I would've not done many or any of these things if it wasn't for the friends I've made along the way.
|2nd 5km run with Elisca (trainer buyer advisor) & Wilma!|
|JP Morgan chase with Sasha, Ali (giver of the amazing program), speedy Flora & Pippa|
|Hellrunner South with Beatrice, 2008|
|2 years later and I run my first Half Marathon, Surrey Badger at Leatherhead with Jeannine! 2009|
|Bath Half Marathon earlier this year with Jules, 8 years later and I am still not looking back! 2015|