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NEW BLOG! – People frequently ask me “why do I run” – By Team Member Melissa :)

People frequently ask me the question “why do I run?” The answer is simple; I run for quiet time, an escape from a hectic life and most importantly I run to inspire my children. I truly believe that if I can run, absolutely anyone can.

To explain, I’m a 40 year old mum of three young children. My life is a constant juggle between nursery and school runs, work commitments as a professional musician and trying to fit in a few runs each week.

I started running after my children were born, only a 15-20 minute jog around the local park. But as a new mum, these minutes and time away from hungry babies and demanding toddlers became increasingly important to me and I slowly started to fall in love with both running and the freedom it allowed me.

These small runs, which were very sporadic, became more important after my third child was born. When he was two, I threw caution to the wind and, on a complete whim, entered a half marathon, despite never having run further than 10k in my life. Training was really tricky as my toddler was home with me every day, so I did my best with the limited time I had and tried to do one or two runs each week. One thing I had on my side was determination. I wanted to finish, and I wanted to finish somehow under two hours. To this day, I don’t know how I did it, but I did finish and achieved the time I wanted, but I felt dreadful! This, I realized, wasn’t the ideal way to prepare for a half marathon. But, I’d got the bug. I started to wonder if I could possibly run what I’d always thought of as unachievable – to run a marathon. It’s been a lifelong ambition of mine to run the London Marathon. I’d grown up watching the race in London but never dreamt I would ever be able to run the distance. I decided to go for it. To mark my 40 th birthday this year I entered the London Marathon and aimed to raise money for a very special local charity.

This is where Charlotte and Adam came in. I had no idea how to train for a Marathon. Could I even do it on the limited time I had to train? After speaking to Adam, he assured me that, despite only being able to run on three days per week, I could still complete enough training for the Marathon, and their flexibility in scheduling my training has worked brilliantly with my family and work commitments.

I joined Purdue Performance in November 2018, and for the first time ever have been consistently running a few times per week. Suddenly, I was running intervals and tempo sessions, which I’d never heard of before, but soon grew to enjoy since I could tell the difference it was making. It turned out I love working on speed sessions.

Over the past 9 months, my running has transformed. I ran the same half marathon a year after my first attempt, and with Charlotte and Adam’s guidance, completed the course almost twenty minutes faster. More importantly, I felt so much stronger than a year earlier. Having completed many other races along the way, I subsequently faced my biggest fear and ran the London Marathon in April, raising almost £4,000 for my charity.

I’m not going to lie; the training hasn’t always been easy. It has been a big commitment and involved many hours especially during weekends leading up to the Marathon. I learnt that training always has its ups and downs. I enjoy the majority of runs as it’s still my escape, but there’s been a few – especially leading up to the Marathon – which didn’t go quite to plan and were really difficult to get through. I remember one run in particular, my last big run before the marathon, 20 miles on tired legs. It was one of the hardest runs I’ve ever done. I got home, cried and sat in a heap. You have to sometimes take the good with the bad. The week before, I’d run 21 miles in a great time and felt on top of the world. Not every training session goes to plan, but that’s ok. Just part of the many ups and downs which are all part of running.

The most positive thing about running and training has been taking this journey with my family. My 9-year-old now runs Parkruns with me, and my 6 and 4 year olds run junior Parkruns. Running is becoming the norm to us as a family, part of our lives now. Despite all of the races, PBs, medals, etc over the last 18 months, my proudest achievement is when my little girl said to me after watching me run the Marathon “Mummy, when I grow up, I want to be a Marathon runner and be just like you.” I smiled to myself as I’m absolutely sure that she will.

Running the London Marathon was meant to be a one-hit wonder. But it turns out I can’t stop, and am now training for my second marathon in November. I can’t thank Charlotte and Adam enough for helping me achieve what I thought was impossible. As I said, if I can run, absolutely anyone can.

Quick Fire Questions

1. Favorite Race : London Landmarks Half Marathon

2. Favorite Post-Race Food : Prosecco

3. Hardest thing you’ve found about running : Managing my own expectations

4. Favorite Film : Bridget Jones’ Diary (now you can tell my age…)

5. Pre-Race Song : This is me

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