Writing a section entitled ‘About Me’ seems a little self indulgent especially when I cover some on the Home page, but then again starting a blog about my – now I am unsure how to describe it, is it a hobby, a pastime or a sport – is pretty self indulgent. So as alien as it is, here is me talking all about me!
My name is Kenny, most people on Instagram know me as @bigkenny1975. I like to think I have a sense of humour and hope that this will come through in my posts but I will keep it straight here, you will have to wait a wee bit longer for the post about how to get out of compression tights in a dignified manner (spoiler – you can’t).
Where did my running story begin? Like many races it probably started with a false start. I started running a bit in 2011 – there is a whole story behind that which I will tell one day – and I ran on and off for the next four years, running 3 Great North Runs and a handful of shorter races. But injuries (tendonitis about 6 times in various places, a torn calf muscle, and various other niggles), a young family and losing close family members meant I just lost the urge.
Then there was the restart.
My mental health had taken a battering. It has never been the best but like many people who suffer with less than perfect mental health I have grown pretty skilled at hiding it. But various personal setbacks, culminating with the unexpected death of my mother made it impossible to hide and led to me seeing a consultant psychologist for 6 months. I started to feel like I got a bit of me back. My mental health had improved a bit unlike my physical health. I had put on about 5 stone since I stopped running. Various connected conditions led to me being on first name terms with my GP. I had high blood pressure and recurring unexplained UTIs – unusual for a man. Something had to be done.
Three things that led to it being running that saved me.
- My wife was in the middle of a challenge she set herself to run 10 Half Marathons in a year. This was to raise money for TOFs a charity that supported us when our eldest daughter was born with the condition and spent her first two weeks in Intensive Care.
- A friend at work (Mark) knew I used to run. He badgered me into taking part in the 10k Movember Run in Edinburgh in 2018
- And most importantly, I have two young daughters and I’m in my 40s. I realised that if I want to see them grow up into young women I need to sort my lifestyle out. And I need to set a good example for them.
The Movember run was twice around Arthur’s Seat in Edinburgh. That is not a wee hill. I decided that I would need to train properly as I wanted to run the whole thing without stopping. So in late September/early October 2018, I started running again. Having been a runner a few years earlier I thought I could go straight to a 5k – I managed 4.3k, and it took me 40 minutes. I loved it. I kept training and training and ran the Movember 10k in just over an hour. Less than a year after that run I ran my first marathon at Loch Ness in 4 hours 5 mins.
Where has running taken me?
In the 16 months since those first Movember training runs I ran the following:
- Four Half Marathons including a trail half
- Edinburgh 7 Hills Race – evil
- The Berwick Law Race – a 3 mile Hill Race
- Three 10k Trail races
- Loads of Parkruns
And I have been able to get a PB at every distance I have run.
I have lost 8 stone, sitting in the ‘normal’ category for BMI for the first time in my life – I know BMI is not a great measure but it is a measure most people understand. I no longer have a chronic illness and my mental health is better when I run than when I don’t.
Oh, and my children occasionally ask to go for a run with me.
I still find it hard to call myself a runner, but I know I have a story to tell and this may be the place to do it. Hopefully, I can help inspire someone else to take the steps towards a more positive life balance somewhere along the way. I also have picked up some valuable experience along the way and I will be more than happy to share it, such as:
Never trust a fart after 18 miles. Ever!