10 km, 6.2 miles, 12,040 steps. That is the distance I’ll be running on Sunday 7 August around our fine city of Norwich alongside 3,000 others.
It dawned on me earlier this year that I will soon be turning 30, and this informational nugget didn’t fill me with joy. As with most 20-somethings I had not taken the best care of my body, instead relying on the benefit of youth to get me through each day. I made a promise to myself that I would get fit and healthy, and start taking better care of my physical and mental wellbeing.
I have always been envious of those who could run long distance without appearing fatigued or out of puff. I am a sprinter at heart and have never completed a single run of more than 200m in my life. Anything longer than 400m positively gave me the chills. But I promised myself I could change, and take my fitness to a whole other level.
Back in February I made my ambition known to the world. I would be running in a 10km race. To ensure I didn’t back out, I paid my entry fee, told everyone I knew and even encouraged colleagues to take up the challenge with me.
Training started in earnest in March and I slowly increased my distance into April. My first recorded run on my app was the grand distance of 1.64km, with a half smiley face.
A combination of walking and slow jogging enabled me to run through my village but I knew this wouldn’t be enough. Later in April, into early May I increased my distance and I soon completed my first 5km. The time was terrible. The smile was not there. But I did it.
By June I was regularly running 5km non-stop, come rain or shine. I really started to feel better in myself. The freedom of being out in the fresh air surrounded by beautiful Broadland countryside really made me feel positive.
July saw the miles really ramp up and I completed my first 10km ever just one week before race day. This was a huge milestone and I proved to myself I could go the distance, non-stop. That day I became a runner. The time wasn’t the best, but my app recorded a very smiley face.
Exercising has not just improved my physical fitness, but the time I take for myself has improved my emotional wellbeing too. I have experienced anxiety and panic attacks since my teens, and thankfully since becoming a Swan these feelings have all but disappeared. Working with such a wonderful team, who view wellbeing as an important part of happy and healthy employees, makes a refreshing change.
When Mind Norwich became our charity of the year, I knew I could complete the race and raise funds for an important cause at the same time. Everyone is affected by mental health issues either directly or indirectly, and it is time mental health was openly discussed.
Mind Norwich won’t give up until everyone experiencing a mental health problem gets the right support and respect, and I won’t give up until I reach the finish line on race day.
Having started training in March neither Aimee or Sarah have done anything like this before and the level of commitment they have put in has been amazing, please show your support and help us raise money by donating even a couple of pounds, anything is greatly appreciated.
Hope to see you there.