I am Martha and I am an ordinary girl who enjoys taking on extraordinary (and frankly crazy) challenges.
I started this blog before my first ever marathon in April 2017 to document my experience as I made the transition from half marathoner to fully fledged 26.2 status. I then took the biggest leap ever and tackled my first ever 100km ultra marathon. Gulp.
You might think I have been doing this forever. But I am actually still relatively new to the running game. I taught myself how to run in 2013 when I watched my husband complete his first 10km. I went to the race to watch him and had such a good time cheering on all the other runners. My previous preconception that all runners had perfect bodies, ran really fast and owned all the best gear was blown out the door. These people were normal, like me. I was curious. Could I run too?
How I started running
I decided to take the plunge and go out one evening. We lived on the harbourside in Bristol and there was a lovely 4km route which went the whole way round. I put on a baggy t-shirt, some tracksuit bottoms and a pair of old trainers. Off I went, up the road towards the harbour path. I probably got about 20 seconds in before I got a stitch. Ouch. This hurts. Is this what running is like? Heck no, I can’t continue this. I think I probably turned round and went back inside, ashamed and embarrassed that I couldn’t even get to the end of the road. I decided running wasn’t for me.
Until the following week my husband said he was “going for a run” and I thought i’d give it another go. I was under no illusions this time. I told myself if I could run from one lamp post to the next, I could have a break. I could then walk to the following lamp post and start running again. This time I managed to run between a few lamp posts. I probably only covered half a mile, but I felt amazing. I felt proud. I had lowered my target, dropped my expectations and proved to myself that I could do it.
Over the coming months, I gradually increased my runs until I could eventually make it the whole 4km round the harbour. In a moment of madness (and possibly due to drinking too much wine), I signed up for my first 10km. I wanted to be like those people I had watched all those months ago.
As soon as I had signed up, I realised I would need to increase my training runs. So in April 2013, I decided to attend my first parkrun at Ashton Court in Bristol. I had been to watch my husband do it a few times but had been too scared to do it myself. In fact, I distinctly remember going to Ashton Court the night before parkrun to test the course out and make sure I could do the distance.
I had no idea how life changing attending that parkrun would be for me. This was the first time I had run with other people. I was so nervous that I would be last and everyone would be waiting for me, wishing I would hurry up. But I couldn’t have been more wrong. The other runners, the volunteers, even the passers-by were cheering and offering words of encouragement. I am proud to say that many of the people I spoke to that day are now my close friends and have continued to support my running journey.
I progressed from parkrun to my 10km later that year. It is fair to say that I was a fair weather runner, so I didn’t actually attempt another 10km until 12 months later. A further 6 months after that, I ran my first half marathon. It certainly wasn’t a fast process and running didn’t come naturally to me. I still struggled through every training cycle I did. I decided to join a running club in 2015 and enforced some structure into my training. Ever since then, I have continued to run consistently and throughout all four seasons. It is fair to say that running has officially taken over my life.
As I start 2018, I want to spread the message even more about the positive effects running and exercise can have. I hope you can see from my story that runners come in all shapes and sizes. It doesn’t matter how far or how fast you go, it is about what you get out of it. Running is so accessible and (even though it feels like it sometimes), I want to show you that you don’t have to choose between family, career and training.
For me, it is important to make time to get outside, engage my body and my mind, challenge myself to try new things, meet new people and visit new places. As I become stronger and more confident in my own running, I am also able to give back to this wonderful community who have supported me for all these years.
So thanks very much for stopping by. Please have a look round and check out some of my recent blog posts before you go.
If you have any questions or you’d like to contact me, head over to my contact page. I’d love to hear from you!