My head is empty once I run (Picture: Emmie Harrison-West)Wrapped in a foil blanket – moist to the core and aching – I felt shell-shocked.
I used to be lastly on a practice dwelling after an exhausting day stuffed with highs and lows.
Clutching a Paw Patrol paper cup of prosecco, I wore a medal round my neck.
I’d simply accomplished my first half-marathon – the Great North Run in my hometown, Newcastle. It’s one thing I by no means thought I’d be capable to obtain as a plus-sized girl.
I can’t absolutely describe how operating makes me really feel.
I hate the thought of it. Hate preparing for it by pulling on too-tight leggings and sports activities bras, and making an attempt to psych myself up earlier than hitting the pavements.
But after the primary few kilometres of heavy techno in my ears, I begin to really feel… effectively, free.
People ask me if it’s a very good time to suppose, and I say that I take into consideration completely nothing. I don’t fear about what I appear to be, if my respiration is simply too loud, what components of me are jiggling for the world to see, or what’s been bothering me that day.
My head is empty and I simply run.
I assumed I’d by no means be capable to run 21km with a physique like mine (Picture: Emmie Harrison-West)Though I’ve been operating for years – since my late teenagers – I’ve not at all times had a wholesome relationship with train.
I’ve let different individuals’s presumptions of me and my physique overwhelm me and cloud my judgement about utilizing train as punishment – relatively than as a launch.
As a approach to torture my physique for being chubby, not improve it. Make it stronger.
I’d finished 5km charity races previously with household and pals, however by no means dedicated to long-distance operating. It wasn’t for individuals like me, I stated – it was for lean, fitter, athletic individuals. Those with a ‘runner’s physique’.
I assumed I’d by no means be capable to run 21km – or 13.1 miles – with a physique like mine. Yet, earlier than turning 30 this March, I realised I wished to dwell a lifetime of ‘oh wells!’ not ‘what ifs’.
So, holding my breath again in January, I signed up with one in every of my greatest pals and efficiently secured a spot to run for Mind, the psychological well being charity.
What practically despatched me over the sting throughout my coaching was my operating gear (Picture: Emmie Harrison-West)Training for a half-marathon over Summer (Summer is Here SALE)r is just not the one, although. Not when you’ve got a flurry of thirtieth birthdays, engagements, weddings, child bulletins and Glastonbury competition tickets.
But whereas following a coaching programme for a stable 16 weeks earlier than my large race (I did three shorter runs and a future every week, with energy coaching and two relaxation days in between) I managed to run practically 16km in a single sitting – my longest distance ever. With loads of stopping and bush wees, no much less.
I received’t lie, it was a reasonably horrific two hours and 19 minutes. But I’d finished it, and a shower had by no means felt so good afterwards. On the day itself, I assumed I’d be carried by the crowds for the final 5km – and I used to be proper.
What practically despatched me over the sting throughout my coaching was my operating gear. Everything felt too-tight – even XL males’s vest’s and Women (Women attire Here)’s t-shirts I used to be despatched to run and symbolize in. I had loads of tears over my again rolls and flabby bingos earlier than the race had even begun.
For as soon as, nobody doubted me, or my capacity (Picture: Emmie Harrison-West)It hit dwelling that possibly, simply possibly, this race wasn’t for me in any case. Oh, that and a relatively tasty bout of plantar fasciitis – it’s when the tissue on the only of your foot turns into irritated and inflammed, inflicting heel ache. It’s brought on by unsupportive footwear and onerous surfaces.
Never once more, I saved telling myself.
But with the love and help of my husband, Jethro, my family and friends, the day flew round faster than I might tie up my shoelaces.
Walking to our beginning pen on Newcastle’s Town Moor, my buddy and I did 8,500 steps earlier than we even crossed the beginning line an hour later – within the blazing sunshine.
As ever, I used to be nervous about being the elephant within the room. A continuing nervousness for anybody who has a physique that’s larger than society’s idealised determine.
My coronary heart soared as whole strangers cheered my title (Picture: Emmie Harrison-West)Except, I couldn’t have been extra fallacious.
My pen was an ideal instance of the styles and sizes of very regular, on a regular basis individuals – grinning, laughing, joking with one another. Wishing luck to pals and strangers alike. For as soon as, nobody doubted me, or my capacity.
We have been all completely different, however we have been all runners. We might all do it.
My coronary heart soared as whole strangers cheered my title, handing out jelly infants, orange segments, ice pops and lollies within the baking warmth – forgoing water invoice worries to spray stress washers and hose pipes over us. I choked again tears as pals and my husband met me on the Tyne Bridge with sweaty hugs and kisses.
In the midst of the race, tempo doesn’t matter, both – whether or not you’re into ‘gradual operating’, or must cease for wee or water breaks. What issues is getting previous the end line, and you’ve got loads of help from the crowds to assist.
I handed individuals dressed as rhinos, holding a mannequin of the Tyne Bridge, and a 102-year-old-man briskly strolling it together with his household. I used to be even racing with a person who carried a washer on his again the entire means. I by no means noticed him cease for a break as soon as.
I couldn’t have been prouder of myself (Picture: Emmie Harrison-West)And, three hours later, 400m from the ending line, because the heavens opened and biblical rain that adopted was like nothing we’d ever seen earlier than, I used to be hysterical.
Hysterically laughing at the truth that I did it, that my physique had made it by way of one of many hardest challenges but, despite the fact that I might hardly see.
Sobbing in my husband and buddy’s arms, clutching soggy (however unbelievable) donuts and a bottle of prosecco within the pouring rain, I couldn’t have been prouder of myself.
Family despatched me photos of selfmade banners, and gives of a heat mattress after they’d tracked me the entire means. Repeating that it was an unbelievable achievement to be pleased with.
That I needs to be pleased with my stamina, dedication and power – even at a dimension 16-18.
I’d finished it with the physique dimension that I used to be set to fail with, primarily based on different individuals’s expectations and fallacious, dangerous presumptions of fats individuals.
In reality, regardless of being scarred for all times from the journey chaos afterwards, and my telephone freaking out within the flash floods, I’ve determined I would do it yet again subsequent yr, too.
Even with the unexplainable chafing of my bum cheeks.
To donate, go to Emmie’s Just Giving web page right here.
Do you’ve got a narrative you’d wish to share? Get in contact by emailing [email protected].
Share your views within the feedback under.
MORE : Mo Farah’s Great North Run time revealed for his remaining ever race earlier than retirement
MORE : Oh sh*t you’ve obtained a London marathon place – now what?
MORE : Man who was advised he ought to ‘by no means run’ turns into oldest Brit to do 100 marathons