Why I wish I’d found Virtual Runner sooner

Jane Kimberley recently told us what finding Virtual Runner has meant to her and below she talks in her own words.

Earlier on in the year I discovered some health issues with my heart, at the age of 35 being told I may have a pacemaker fitted in a couple of months, you can imagine it was a bit of a shock. Six weeks ago, I had an implantable loop recorder fitted, which is just monitoring my heart rate. However as I have had some faints when sitting down, I am not allowed to drive for a minimum of 6 months. As an independent singleton, this crushed me. I know what you may be thinking, it’s not the end of the world, there are worse things to happen. Plus, it’s the sensible, safe option, not just for me, but other people too. But to me, not driving is like losing a bit of a lifeline, as I am quite social and always off out in the car visiting friends and family, locally, but also up and down the country too.

For the first few weeks I was very down about it all, and feeling very sorry for myself. However I came across Virtual Runner UK on the internet, to be honest I’m not entirely sure how I got there. But I am glad I did. I found it interesting and a great idea. I have always tried to do my bit for charity, be it Race for Life for Cancer Research UK, (I’ve done a fair few over time) or two cross country walking marathons, Memory Walks, the Great North Swim and an abseil all for the Alzheimer’s society. My plan was to do a Skydive at the end of this year, but my consultant put a stop to that.

It got me thinking, what can I do to keep active, but without putting too much pressure on my heart? When I read that you can walk the races, I had a light bulb moment. Why not enter some races, get the motivation I need to get out of the house, and embrace this not driving situation. Not only will it help me be active, it will also help clearing my mind and be positive. Plus, as I won’t be spending money on petrol, why not give to some great causes.

I was too late to sign up to some of the October ones, however I dusted off and charged my Fitbit and went out walking. I have signed up for the Bring back the bling 5km (31/10-06/11) The Poppy Challenge 33km (01/11-30/11), Xmas Day 2016 and New Year, New Unicorn races (01/01 – 31/01/17)

I have been out walking every day for the last two weeks, and racking up the mileage and am looking forward to submitting my results. The competitive side of me is coming out too, I know I am only competing with myself, but I want to keep pushing myself to cover more miles. I live a 32-minute walk from work, and have found myself altering my route, and leaving a little bit earlier too, just so I can get more steps and distance in.

With the weather taking a slight turn, now that we are in November, I am determined to not let that stop me. Just in the last two weeks I have felt better, both physically and mentally. I have slept so well; it must be all the fresh air!! I’ve also “read” three books, as I have been listening to audiobooks whilst out walking.  So, all in all, so far, Virtual Runner UK has been a little lifesaver, and I’ve not even got the first medal yet. I’m starting to see that this health issue, maybe a blessing in disguise.  I only wish I’d found Virtual Runner UK sooner.