A few weekends ago I did something I've been wanting to do for ages - take part in a long distance run!
A 5k probably doesn't sound like a big deal to most but I have never been a long distance runner. I used to be really sporty at school but long distance running is just something I've never been adept at.
I don't go to the gym as often as I should, though would still consider myself to be reasonably fit. I was therefore devastated to be out of puff in less than 5 minutes on my first outdoor run (of the past year or two).
I stuck at it and although I sucked hard, it did get easier - still, I was dreading the big day.
The cause made it easier. Cancer Research is a great charity and although I've thankfully never lost anyone as a result of this awful disease, I don't think I'm alone in saying that there's plenty of people I know who have, and I've seen the devastation it brings.
My Race for Life took place in Manchester's Heaton Park.
Scottish Power, an official event sponsor, kindly offered to pay for my entry fee - which I decided to put into my sponsorship donations, as I'd have been happy to pay this myself.
I had no idea at all how I'd fare. Even during my practice runs, I'd never even got to 5k!
I had plenty of energy at the start line. I put myself with the 'jogging' group and seeing all the other runners who came in all shapes and sizes and across all ages, I felt part of something really special and that I had to do my best.
Within the first half a mile, I'd already felt that pang of exhaustion; my head repeatedly telling me that I couldn't do it, that I needed to stop and walk - I ignored it.
I used my Nike running app and hearing an update at each milstone I reached spurred me on. I pushed on and was proud to reach 1.5 miles without stopping to walk. At this point, it hit me that I was already halfway there (5k being just over 3 miles). When I passed two miles, I wondered if the whole thing was something I could complete without walking.
I would have never found the motivation to carry on if it wasn't for my surroundings; seeing all the other women with heartfelt messages and photos of lost loved ones pinned to their backs somehow gave me more strength to push on.
I had a bit of a struggle towards the end. My running app told me that I'd reached 3 miles and knowing this, I used my last bit of energy to speed up and push for the finish line. Following this, I saw a sign for 4k - what?!
I powered through but had to succumb to a bit of walking after my app told me I'd hit 3.75 miles. Still, I crossed the line proud at bang on 40 minutes. That is probably a very poor time to most runners but I was pleased to have completed the track in what I felt was a decent time.
Thank you to Scottish Power for the experience, hopefully I'll be back next year to beat my time!
For anyone wanting to take part, look out for 2016's events on the Race for Life site, or in and around the North West, there's still a 'Pretty Muddy' 5k race open in Cheshire's Tatton Park which takes place in September (so enough time for a little training) Though if you'd like longer to gear up, the races start again in June next year.
Have you taken part in any running events this year or would you like to?