At school, I played a lot of sport; I was in the hockey team, netball teams and kept as fit as I possibly could. It was the best thing I could have done at the time to keep my cystic fibrosis under control.
However, during university, staying fit made way for late nights, drinking and dancing, and before I knew it, exercise was only a distant memory. Not long after university, I moved to London where the drinking and dancing still took priority over exercise.
For someone like me, with cystic fibrosis, this lifestyle was clearly neither recommended nor encouraged, and something had to change…
After some time, I decided that enough was enough and I needed to do something about my fitness, so I joined a gym and took part in high-intensity interval training (HIIT) classes. I found that I loved them.
At the same time, my husband, Craig, decided to start running. He ran the Great North Run, and then the Blackpool Marathon twice (each time raising money for the Cystic Fibrosis Trust). I went to the gym a lot (nothing motivates you to exercise like having a wedding dress to fit into), but I had never even considered running.
After seeing what Craig achieved with very little experience, I signed up to a 10K in Regent’s Park and two more 10K races quickly followed in the same year. Then I took on a half marathon with some of my colleagues at Synergy Vision. I trained religiously and ended up finishing faster than my target of 2 hours, so I was thrilled. Craig ran with me and when we crossed the finish line at Wembley Stadium, it was so exciting! As much as I enjoyed it, I thought it could be the end of my running career, because it was very tough indeed.
A few months later I reluctantly applied to enter the London Marathon. When I received an email telling me I had not been given a place, I thought “Brilliant – I’m off the hook!”
However, my friend, Sarah, had different ideas and wrote to the Cystic Fibrosis Trust asking if I could run for them. Within days of hearing about my story, and how I have cystic fibrosis, they got in touch to offer me a place – thanks Sarah! I now had a place in the London Marathon!
I’m raising as much money as I can for the Cystic Fibrosis Trust with a target of £15,000. As someone with cystic fibrosis, it’s very much a charity close to my heart.
I started the Hal Higdon training programme on 19 December 2016, which consists of three fast, short runs during the week and one long run at the weekend. I have only missed two of these runs due to a holiday (so that’s allowed, I think!). Now I have two days to go until the London Marathon and I am feeling ready!
If you had told me this time last year that I would be running the London Marathon I would have told you that pigs were more likely to fly. My cystic fibrosis is very well managed but it really does feel like a huge achievement that I am well enough to run 26.2 miles. I am extremely lucky and proof that with enough determination, anyone can run a marathon.
Train properly and don’t cut corners and you can do it.
Look out for me on Sunday – I am race number 39,465 and I will be wearing a Cystic Fibrosis Trust yellow running top. See you at the finishing line!