I have always hated exercise and sport. At school I was in the choir, the orchestra, the Swing Band and was the music geek that performed in assemblies. The "cool" girls were on the hockey team, the netball team and excelled at the 100m. Not me. I was the one who was to be found at my friend's house drinking tea on the cross country route and who would feign sickness on a cold rainy day to avoid hockey.
I went through a period of playing badminton and doing aerobics. But then again that was more to do with the fit boys at the Sports Centre or the drinks with friends afterwards than anything else.
But earlier this year, I was persuaded to take up running. A friend of mine had run a Marathon. She was so slim, yet she ate what she wanted and drank loads of wine and she convinced me that if I started to run, I could do the same.
Always one to find a way to have another glass of wine, I decided to have a go.
Full of enthusiasm, I took myself off to Sports Direct and bought some Adidas leggings, Asics Trainers and a Tesco Value Sports Bra and I was all ready to go. I registered myself for a Race for Life with my friend and made the fatal mistake of telling my husband that I was going to run it - no way would I walk.
The first time I ran round the block, I was ashamed of myself. I ran with my 12 year old son and I think he reached home about half an hour before me! It was shocking. I knew I was unfit, but I hadn't realised just how unfit.
So the quest to run 5k began. At first I just ran around the block - sometimes I had to run and walk but eventually I cracked the block and although I wasn't the fastest woman on earth, I managed to run the whole lot. It less than one mile, no big deal to some people, but to me it was a big step.
I am quite lucky where I live. We live next to a set of fields which have paths running through them if you want a pretty route, but also next to a cycle track which goes alongside the main road. While this is not a pretty run, it is very easy to gauge how far you are running - to the garage and back is one mile; to the industrial unit and back is two ; to the street turning where my friend lives and back is three - that was my aim: to my friend's house and back without stopping before I did the Race for Life. I tried really hard, I did. My enthusiasm wasn't always there - I am a bit of a fair-weather runner and this year's atrocious rain hasn't really helped me with my take-up of the sport. But little things spurred me on. A colleague saw me running and said I looked good; I managed to run two miles without stopping. I wouldn't say I was enjoying going out running every other day, but I was enjoying the achievements - I liked the glory.
But the Race for Life was getting closer and I still hadn't run three miles. One day my husband suggested we all go for a run on the two mile route round the lakes. So out we went - however, I soon realised that we weren't on the planned route. The crafty thing had worked out a three mile route and was just going to force me to do it. I had no choice. I had to keep up. He had a cunning plan - I would run as far as he challenged me, even if it killed me. And I felt like it very nearly did! But I did it and I survived. And the Race for Life no longer frightened me, as I knew I could do it.
The day came and I was nervous - it was a route that I had never run before in a strange town. I was with my friend and we had both vowed to run it all and not to walk. It was hard. It was one of the warmest days of the summer so far, but the atmosphere was great. A warm up in the crowd and we were off. What overwhelmed me was the amount of support all the way along the course. It was a fantastic feeling. Towards the end, I really thought that I was going to have to walk a bit. I have only ever run on the flat and parts of this run had been quite hilly, but my friend motivated me and kept me going. As we got towards the finish line, I saw my family and friends all cheering me on - it was such a buzz. Definitely worth the pain that came the next morning.
Since that day, I have carried on running. For me it is the only sport that I have stuck to and continued. I still haven't got to the point where I live and die for it, but I haven't got to the point where I want to give up either - which for me is good.
I think 5k is my distance - and I am definitely better on a flat road surface. I tried a 10k in Wales over fields. Oh my goodness - it was too far; up hill, down dale. I ran with my friend's husband and I was pathetic. I was begging him to go on without me, but he wouldn't and he almost dragged me round. Even my husband's ex-girlfriend limbering up at the front in her fancy gear didn't spur me on enough to win that one! Maybe as I have been running longer, it will get easier, I don't know - but that was definitely a step too far, too soon.
I have noticed many benefits of my new sport. I have more energy, my stomach is definitely flatter which can only be good and I feel generally more toned. I no longer a couch potato and my husband and son are very proud of me. Knowing me as they do, they realise what a huge effort this has been.
I still eat cake and drink wine... but I feel that at least now I deserve it!