“I Want To Learn To Love My Body For What It Can Do”

BMC team member, Caroline shares how running has helped her to love her body again after her 5 year struggle with fertility

What made you decide to enter the Big Marathon Challenge (BMC)?

My husband and I have just called an end to a five-year fertility journey. After four rounds of IVF and one pregnancy that ended in a miscarriage, it’s time to gracefully bow out of the emotionally and physically exhausting cycles of treatment and learn to accept and embrace the life we have, instead of wishing for something different.

I entered the BMC in the hope of having something incredibly positive to focus on, and the chance to learn to love my body what it can do instead of being so angry frustrated at it for letting me down.

Tell us about your running background?

I’ve been running on and off for several years, but had regular periods off during IVF treatment cycles. I began running primarily to get fit. At the time, I lived in New Zealand and running outside was a great way to explore. Since then, running has been incredibly helpful for its positive impact on my mental health. This will be my first marathon. I’ve run several half marathons – the Robin Hood Half in Nottingham three times and a memorable half in New Zealand through vineyards where there was an option of wine at every water station!

Are you fundraising for charity?

I’m raising funds for Fertility Network UK (fertilitynetworkuk.org), and I’d like to raise awareness, through sharing my story, of how common fertility struggles are and to show that IVF or miscarriage shouldn’t be stigmatised.

So many people remain private about fertility issues, and I completely understand why, but I also really believe being more open helps people to feel they aren’t so alone. It’s an incredibly isolating journey, even with support from friends and family, as it’s one of those things that’s impossible to understand unless you’ve been there. There’s a lot of support for people still going through the process, but very little for people who might be reaching the end of their journey and accepting a different life from the one they had planned. I hope that by doing something positive I can encourage others to feel the same way.

How did you feel about being selected for the challenge?

Completely shocked, utterly delighted and a tiny bit terrified! A marathon’s been on my bucket list for years, but I never thought I’d have the motivation to do it.

How did you find the recent photoshoot?

It was great! For someone who hates having photos taken, it was way more fun than I expected. The ASICS staff, the Women’s Running team, the coach and photographer were all so lovely, and it was so exciting to meet my teammates and hear their reasons for entering the competition.

What is your goal for the marathon?

I have given myself the very ambitious goal of completing the marathon in under four hours, but I guess that’s just to have something to aim towards. It’s going to be very special as it’s my first marathon, so the most important thing is to soak up the atmosphere and enjoy it.

THE COACH’S VIEW

Richard says: “Caroline does a lot of strength work, so even though she hasn’t had a great deal of running experience, strength sessions aren’t a chore for her and that’s a positive.

“Caroline will be doing longer blocks of threshold running during her first four weeks of training and some specific hill work, as she’s not done a lot of hills before. Instead of just doing steady-effort training she needs to vary the intensity and pace.

“As she’s self-employed and works from home, Caroline can be more flexible with her time. Sub-four hours will be tough, but it is achievable, so long as she stays consistent with her training, and I’ve no doubt she will. One thing all three ladies have in common is that they are highly motivated. Mental determination is 80 per cent of the battle.”


Melody Smith

Written by Melody Smith | 23 articles | View profile

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