Zoe

IMG_776106451598931When did you start running and why?

I always got out of cross country due to Asthma and other illness when I was younger, and anyway I hated running and PE at school and the thought of it made me feel physically sick. But in September 2013 I started running again in preparation for the X Runner Mud Run, which was a 5k obstacle course through mud. I was a size 24 then.

And now…

I’m a 16, 18 or 20 depending on where I shop. I am not sure what my BMI is but I am still clinically obese

What do you love and hate about the sport of running?

I love the fresh air, it clears my head and nothing else matters during the time you are running. No phones going, people asking this that and the other. Just me and ipod or me and my mates righting the wrongs in the world and having a good old fashioned gossip 😉

Hate is a strong word, I dislike the people that are nasty to me. It takes a lot for us big ladies to put ourselves out there. Also really dislike the hip pain I get after a good run.

IMG_776114121108061How often do you run?

I try to go twice a week does not always work as I do a lot of other gym training. But Friday night is run club and every other sun is run morning while husband at gym class and I try to run to my gym on a sat but that is a hard one to get up for so does not happen all the time 😉

What kind of distances do you run in training?

My regular route is 5k and to my gym is about 3k.

Do you parkrun? 

I am registered but due to other classes and work I have yet to make it too one. It would be Mansfield park run when I make it.

IMG_123476958490639Tell me about some of the races you have taken part in?

Race for life was my 1st and then the 5k mud run which was amazing fun but so hard and I have not entered purely running race since then. I have just done my 1st triathlon, a super sprint but still a triathlon never the less and am now in training for my 1st 10k . Scary stuff

Have you had any negative experiences whilst out running?

I once ran up the big hill I live on past the local fish & chip shop to be pointed at, laughed at and called names, young lads driving round in their cars are always good for horn honking and abuse especially on a Friday night, they seem especially good at this at that time!!

What are your biggest worries about being a plus sized runner?

It used to be people laughing , pointing etc and not being able to make it home, I also used to worry about finding clothes to fit that actually looked half decent (at the start) and then that didn’t ride up as I ran!!!   I now find when I run with a smile on my face people smile back and have words of encouragement.

What’s more important to you and why? Frequency, speed of running or distance?

It used to be all about the time but again I have changed recently and now its more about how far I can go and the time does not seem that important. I still like too know and will always tell people how long it took but defo more interested in how far.

Friday night run club is great we go out on magical mystery tours of my area and I have no idea how far we have gone till we get back to base camp.

IMG_123532101048332What could the government, local authorities, sports clubs etc do to encourage more people to take up running and sport, especially overweight and inactive women?

Sports companies could make more clothes to fit us for a start no one wants to go out in stuff that does not fit or that is uncomfortable. I do believe more larger people would get out there if they could wear nike, addidas, new balance, aldi own brand etc, often we have to make do with random stuff we just pull together and that doesn’t make you feel good about yourself.

Local authorities could set up more small local beginners run clubs, I was very lucky my personal trainer set a beginners group up with Ann our amazing coach (the crazy lady does silly long races week after week) but before that all the run clubs around me admitted they were not for beginners. Defo put me off starting for a long time.

Sports centre’s could be more inviting, I recently qualified as a gym instructor and have people come up to me asking where I work as they would come to the gym if I was there simply because I am not a thinner person and they would feel more at ease.

What are the biggest barriers for plus sized women?

Confidence or lack of it and poorly fitting bras 😉

What would you say to other runners just starting out?

Do not let anyone tell you that you can’t do it. If anyone does turn it around and prove them oh so wrong. My personal trainer Dan has the best saying that I say to myself daily in exercise and work

Dig In Don’t Give In.

IMG_71109033339449What have you learned about yourself through running?

I am more determined and confidant then I ever thought I was and am still growing week by week in to a new healthier, happier and more confident person. The Fat Girls Guide to Running blog has helped and you have been on the end of facebook messenger many times.   Always a reply, always truthful, helpful, encouraging.

The other ladies on the facebook page are amazing, again supportive, encouraging. Learn new tips, tricks and I am inspired by other peoples achievements. If they can do it so can I. The whole thing is a brilliant idea and I wish I had heard about it in 2013 when I started. Please keep sharing and supporting all of us as our journeys move forward.

What is your ultimate running goal and whats stopping you from getting there?

Funnily enough until this morning I actually didn’t know what my ultimate goal was but I decided at some point I want to run a marathon. What is stopping me would have to be my brain saying you want too do it but you cant and the battle that follows in my own head. Since reading about you I have thought that would be amazing and the battle began. Now I actually feel this will happen, Not sure when but I WILL do it at some point in my life.

I am sure she will too. It has been great getting to know Zoe a bit better, and she will be joining me in September at one of my Fat Girl Running clinics. Please join me in congratulating her on becoming my first of many (I hope) runners of the month!! If you have an interesting and inspiring story to tell please get in touch.

  1. June 16, 2014

    Wow, very inspiring and motivating too, well done Zoe.

  2. great to have inspiration from a fellow cuddly lass 😉

  3. June 2, 2014

    Fab job Zoe, it’s lovely to read of others who aspire to do more, despite their size like me lol! What can we do to get sports companies to make affordable bigger running gear? That’s something we need to tackle!!

  4. I really enjoy reading about Zoe! I’m so there wtih you about they need to cater for us for proper exercise clothes.

    It is always encouraging to read about other bloggers also battling the point, laugh and mock from others. The fact that I know I’m not alone is what keeps me motivated.

    Thanks!

  5. June 1, 2014

    Well done Zoe – you really are an inspiration to all runners with your ‘can do’ attitude. Good luck with achieving your goal of doing a marathon

    Great feature – it’s good to find out more about those who follow this blog or who are on your Facebook page

    • Hopefully we will do a lot more of this on the new site (launched towards the end of the month), this whole thing shouldn’t be about me, as there are so many other awesome runners out there helping to change the perceptions of running.

  6. June 1, 2014

    Well done Zoe! You really are an inspiration to all runners with your ‘can do’ attitude. Good luck with getting to do your goal of doing a marathon

    Great feature as well – it’s great to find out more about other runners who follow this blog or are on your FB page.

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