I had never led a particularly active lifestyle since my teens - it simply didn't interest me. I was much more into TV programmes with snacks or takeaway, than coast path walks and playing sport. During my time at college, I even declined the offer to be put through my lifeguard training when working at the local leisure centre and opted to stay working in the cafe with the cake!
Unsurprisingly, by the time I reached my mid-twenties I had gained a lot of weight and was wearing a size 18, and if I am being honest - they were becoming rather snug! It was at this point that I decided I needed to do something about it, and started going for long walks at the weekends.
Around this time I also received an e-mail through my work regarding the 'Get Active Challenge' with Cornwall Sports Partnership and decided to enter as a team with 2 of my colleagues. This challenge became a significant turning point for me. It was a fun way to get more active and record our progress, and it encouraged us to try new sports. This actually led to us receiving a prize for the 'most variety of activities during the challenge', including running, cycling, boxing, badminton, Piloxing, circuit training, trampolining, and it even got me motivated to do the housework! It allowed for a bit of friendly competitiveness and provided a great way of motivating me to be more active. Our team started to meet for lunchtime walks at work for extra active minutes and showed us that despite being extremely busy with work and home life, with forward planning, you can fit in time when you need to.
It was through trying all of these activities that I started to realise that I enjoyed running the most, and a friend of mine encouraged me to join the local running club. I became a 'Hayle runner' and very shortly afterwards entered my first 10k race. I really enjoyed training for this event with the support of the club, and I have made some great friends this way.
It was a mental challenge as well as a physical one, and the health benefits were apparent very quickly. My weight came down, my fitness level went up and I was feeling much more confident in myself. I completed that first race and was ready for more! I then entered several more races of further distances, including my first half marathon, and through doing so was awarded my first ever trophy!
With motivation still high and confidence ready to face another challenge, I entered my biggest race so far - the Bournemouth Marathon 2013! Training for this event was tough, and I experienced every range of emotion during this time, but I will never forget that feeling of elation and pride as I crossed the finish line! Since then, I have completed the London marathon twice, Edinburgh marathon, New York marathon and the Cornish marathon, and am currently training for the Paris marathon this spring. Keen to keep myself challenged, I have also entered my first 'ultra-marathon' of 32 miles on the coast path for later in the year. I am now in a size 12, and enjoy my active lifestyle. I still enjoy a night in front of the TV -and that will always be there, but it is part of my more balanced lifestyle now.
Motivated by our #ThisGirlCan Cornish girls? Then why not visit www.getactivecornwall.co.uk and search for an activity near you or get in touch and we can get you started.