Your Stories

Tracy's
Story

I’m a 44 year old woman with a wobbly bum and a much more frequent smile on her face thanks to running

I didn’t think that I was able to be ‘active’. That being active, fit and strong was something that other women did, other confident women, women who had their act together, not women like me. I also didn’t think that I’d ever have the energy to exercise. My mental health was such a drain on my energies that there was nothing left. I have been diagnosed with CPTSD and PMDD, as well as awaiting a diagnosis for autism and attention deficit disorder.

Some days I would get home from work and barely have the energy to cook dinner. I’d be so utterly drained from the effort of getting through my work day and holding my shit together without having a meltdown or panic attack that I’d be disassociated and numb. I was so self conscious and my self esteem was rock bottom. There was no way I was putting my wobbly backside in Lycra and making a fool out of myself in a gym!

My friend Elspeth has been a massive inspiration to me. She is a mental health and fitness advocate, and an all round amazing woman! She encouraged me to exercise to help with my mental health, insisting that I would benefit massively from being active. That I’d have more energy and self confidence once I started. I joined a gym in a moment of clarity and started going every morning before work. It changed my life!

The days when I felt the worst (with my mental health) were the days I needed to get to the gym the most.

I soon learnt this lesson! And like my friend said, “you’ll NEVER regret a decision to get yourself to the gym and be active”.

After about 9 months of going to the gym I took the decision to start running. I love being outdoors and I know that being outside is a great thing for my mental health. I thought that combining exercise and being outdoors would be good for me…. And save me a gym subscription. I was on long term sick from work and was on half pay. I soon got the running bug!

I no longer feel like exercise wasn’t for me, like you have to have a figure like Jessica Ennis-Hill in order to be active.

People come in all shapes and sizes and I no longer feel self conscious when I’m out in my Lycra leggings. There’s a lot of myths about being active. People think it’s difficult, there’s so much that you need to know before you can even think about getting a pair of trainers on. It puts a lot of people off! It put me off for years! I just never felt good enough to even start!

Now I try and get out for a run at least 3 times a week. I prioritise it in my life. I exercise for my head first and my body second. I know that part of my recovery has to include being active. Running works for me, it’s never easy, sometimes I still wonder (mid run) what the hell I think I’m trying to do! But I ALWAYS feel better for getting out! I’m going back to work next week after being off for 6 months with my mental health. I’m super nervous but I know that continuing with my running routine will help me so much. I’m planning on going before work when it’s quiet. It will set me up for the day and energise me. Once I’m back in the swing of it I’m planning on getting back to going to a yoga class each week too. I’m a 44 year old woman with a wobbly bum and a much more frequent smile on her face thanks to running.