I am a woman who is also transgender and spent 20 years struggling to come to terms with that.
I used food, smoking and binge drinking to cope with my depression and self-loathing.
When I got signed off work with anxiety, I knew I had to confront my issues or I wouldn’t live to see 40.
My GP said exercise would help manage my mental health, so I started walking regularly then signed up for a Fun Run. That gave me the running bug and I’ve never looked back.
I started slowly, walking. I was shouted at from cars by strangers, but I just kept my focus because all that mattered was getting healthy, saving my life. I got up to 40 miles per week then suffered a leg injury that took a year to overcome, which was heart-breaking, but I took up cycling and now I’m back!
In ten years I have gone from walking at pace, to jogging and then running. I have run marathons in New York, Berlin, Paris and London, completed several half marathons and at the moment am just running because I love the feeling it gives me.
Running has honestly saved my life.
I spent several years during my transition to being the woman I am today dealing with stress, depression, people’s negative attitudes and running has kept me strong. It makes me happy, keeps me healthy, and it gives me goals to aim for. The feel-good factor is so addictive and it’s free!
If you’re thinking about running then just do it! On your own, with friends or in a club. Just do it. Don’t worry about how fast you are or what you look like. None of that matters. How it makes YOU feel is what counts and I promise you will be buzzing once you start. Sure, we have days when we don’t want to do it, but lace up your shoes, ignore the doubt and once you’re out there you’ll feel unstoppable!