On the 24th September HMIY's own Jenny Howard, her mum Angela, sister Katie and friend Jade are going to be running a half marathon to raise money for us at Hello Me, it's You! You may have read Angela's post previously on our blog, now it's Jenny's turn to give a bit of insight into her 'training process' ....
Things I really like: lie-ins, early bedtimes, sunbathing, curling up with a book.
(are you sensing a theme?)
Things I don’t really like: getting really out of breath and sweaty, repetitive movements, being bad at something.
A person might take up running for many different reasons; for greater fitness levels, as a hobby, for improved physical and/or mental health, or maybe, because they want to slowly torture themselves. Sometimes (most of the time) it feels like the latter for me.
It’s been a few months since I received a text from my mum asking if I fancied running the Winchester half-marathon in September, to which I optimistically replied something along the lines of ‘yeah go on then!’ with a running person emoji. In the meantime we managed to recruit my sister Katie and my friend Jade for the team and the four of us will be running 13.1 miles on the 24th September in order to raise money for the charity closest to my heart, Hello Me, It’s You.
I want to say the past few months have been an incredible journey of awe-inspiring, self-discovery and the unleashing of a great love and passion for running, but unfortunately this hasn’t been the case for me. It’s difficult, it’s sweaty, it’s hot and in all honesty it’s pretty boring.
You’ve probably heard it before; whether from a friend, relative, doctor, counsellor, the internet and anywhere else you get your information, that 'being more active' can be hugely beneficial for your mental health. Something about endorphins and stuff. You'll hear amazing stories about how running and jogging changed one individuals life drastically for the better, that the euphoria and satisfaction they got from running doesn't come close to anything else they've tried. These also tend to be the people who say 'you just have to stick with it, you’ll start to love it eventually!’. It wasn’t that I was in complete doubt that I’m totally incapable of finding running tolerable, it’s just that I wasn’t convinced that I particularly want to get to that point.
In summary, and in no particular order, the main reasons that I don't like running are;
1. My face goes incredibly red when I run, apart from my upper lip which stays bright white. It's not a look I enjoy.
2. In the past, my personal struggle with depression and anxiety has often prevented me from leaving the house. During some of my worst periods, that thankfully no longer occur with such force and to such an extent, I just couldn't leave the house. The idea of going out and anyone seeing my sweaty body, red face and white moustache was more than I could bear. Whilst this isn’t a completely debilitating restriction for me anymore, it is still on my mind.
3. I come up with a playlist for a run, and end up hating some of my favourite songs.
4. I’m not very good at it, and I hate not being good at things instantly. Which I understand is childish and irrational, but nevertheless it puts me off.
5. it's stressful. whilst i understand how running could be seen as relaxing, i don’t enjoy feeling pressured to go running even when I just simply don’t want to. there’s also the stress on your knees, on your routine, on your joints and in all honesty, on your bowels.
6. It's boring. It’s repetitive. There's only so many places in proximity to your home that are suitable for running, once I’ve done a certain route, I don’t want to do it again the next day, and the next day, and the next day, and the next day….
7. It just hurts. whether it’s breathing cold air, a dodgy ankle, hay fever, chafing, a stitch, gas, black toenails or joint pain, I can guarantee that I will always experience at least one of these physical discomforts every time I go for a run. Yes it will often be very minor pain but that won’t stop me from complaining about it.
You're probably now thinking 'jeeez, cheer up', why are you you even doing it if you hate it so much?
Well mainly because I was asked to, by a 52 year old, and felt that I couldn't say no. I am in a position of privilege in that I can run; I don't have a physical disability or condition that means I cannot run, I am a young, relatively fit person who, if she set her mind to it and trained enough, could run 13 and a bit miles. But also, despite all my moaning, I have enjoyed the sense of achievement I’ve got from hitting a few goals; getting out of bed, running a mile, running up hill, running more than once in a week. I’m still not sure running is the sport for me but I could be wrong, with under two weeks to go there is still the potential of catching the famous ‘bug’. I’ve massively improved thanks to my albeit minimal training over the past few months and I am determined to complete the entire course.
But definitely most importantly- It's for a charity that is very important to me and that deserves all the funding and support in the world to try and help more and more young people with their struggles with mental health. The money raised will go towards being able to send schools and libraries free copies of the HMIY book, holding events and workshops to raise awareness of mental health issues in young people, the creation of a second book in the future which will include more letters and advice for young people suffering (submissions opening soon, watch this space…!)
So if you could, we would be incredibly grateful if you could part with a few of your pennies to sponsor us. Frankly I need the motivation, and it would help a great cause a considerable amount.
Stay active! (Or don’t) x
Jenny is 22 and recently graduated from the University of Leeds where she studied Graphic Communication & Design. She has been involved with Hello Me, It’s You from the start when Hannah asked her to help brand and design the book and charity and is loving working with her best friend on something so important and inspiring to many! She hates running but loves proving herself wrong, please sponsor her for the Winchester Half Marathon!
Hello Me, it's You
Welcome to the brand new shiny Hello Me, it’s You blog! We are launching this blog with weekly content from different contributors, giving their opinions and experiences on all things Mental Health.