So yesterday was my birthday. I hadn’t really been looking forward to this one, as I was 49. The last year I could claim to be in my forties, next year, I will be 50! Really? But that sounds so old. I sometimes catch myself thinking, “Have I got that right? Maybe I counted wrong” but yes, it’s true, and the fading eye sight, three grandchildren and the odd hair that keeps growing out of my chin confirm it!
However, instead of feeling down about the inevitable ageing process, I’m looking at the positives by comparing the person I am now, with who I was 20 and 30 years ago I married young (at 20) and had two children within the first five years. I had no sleep, no support and no time for myself. This carried on for the next 15 years (and a third child) and it wasn’t until my 35th birthday that I had any inclination to do anything about it! I remember actually crying on my 35th birthday. I was unhappy with getting old (funny how young that seems now!)and I was jealous of the ‘yummy mummies’ at the school gates.
I distinctly remember watching my neighbour, slightly younger than me, blonde, pretty and slim, going running and again I was jealous. I wished I could do that too. Among the voices in my head that said, ‘No you can’t, you’re too fat, too unfit and everyone will laugh at you’ was one lone thought that said, ‘Go on then’. That grew the seed in my mind. I decided that if I went at night, when it was dark, no one would see me. So I did! The first time I ran, I didn’t even manage 100 yards before I had to stop, but I kept at it. Eventually I was even confident enough to run in daylight.
Fast forward to today and I have completed 11 half marathons, my first full marathon and various adventure races including a Spartan race within the last 12 months. This coming year, I will be doing more half marathons as well as two full marathons, two weeks apart so that I can gain entry into the Marathon Maniacs group. I will also be participating in Colour Me Rad with my daughter and a further Spartan race with my husband and son. My birthday present from my husband was my first ever road bike and I am going to gather the courage to enter the world of triathlon!
I am now a qualified personal trainer and am lucky enough to work with some great clients, many of whom are in a similar situation to the old me, and the best advice I give them is to be kind to yourself. Love yourself and love your body and you will want to treat it well. Also, set goals. Make them small to start with and each time you reach one, set the next one! Who knows what you will be capable of!
And for me, next year will be the big 50… Disney’s Goofy Challenge, here I come!