Run fat girl RUN!
Sorry, couldn’t help but start with that. Anywho… firstly a big shout out to my good friend Erin King, the girl who got me into doing trail running and is a brilliant running buddy. She is an inspiration to anyone who runs, especially when she does 70k (Exeter to Plymouth) in a single day! Check out Erin’s awesome blog here >
A few months ago Erin and I ran the Plym Valley Park Run, a 5k trail run held every Saturday morning. I absolutely loved it and have found many benefits from running which I never thought I would find. Prior to this I have not enjoyed running an awful lot, I would find myself a bit bored with it and much more interested in exercise through sport, often team sports. However now, perhaps partially due to the mental state I find myself in at present, I have really begun to enjoy running.
Erin an I go to the events together, but during the running itself we separate, for most people running is a solitary activity, not only due to people’s different levels of ability. I find that whilst running I am focussed, centred and very at peace with myself. Sometimes my thoughts cycle through challenges and obstacles that I am overcoming or need to overcome in life. Running is physical and difficult, I use it as a kind of physical metaphor for the psychological difficulties that I am going through (being transgender, there can be quite a few). I get tired while running and perhaps feel like walking, taking a break, but I think ‘come on Amber, this is hard but you can get through it, if you can do this you can do anything’, at the end of the 5k runs that I do I feel empowered, I have pushed myself, sometimes more than I even thought I could. This gives me a real confidence and belief which I can bring to the rest of my life and help me overcome all the other difficult things going on.
Running under my female name
Erin signed me up for ParkRun and did so under my female name, thanks girl! It’s great to be participating in something under the correct name and the correct gender. There have not been any problems at all so far, although, it’s a casual race so I’m not sure anyone has really noticed. The 5 seconds it takes to scan my barcode at the end of the race isn’t long enough for anyone to have a second look at the name printed above it.
Doing this new activity correctly gendered and named means a great dealt o me and having ParkRun on Saturday morning means it’s a fantastic way to start the weekend.
Prepared to forfeit prizes/position if I win
The more technical side of running as a trans woman means that if I were to compete in a competitive race then I would voluntarily forfeit the prizes and finishing position if I were to win. I believe the rules at present are that the competitor has to have been at a female hormone level for at least 2 years before they can run competitively in a female classification (do correct me if I am wrong). I am a fair way off this so it would be a while until I could do so, however it’s not about the winning for me, I very much do this for enjoyment.
I did compete in a Maverick race on Dartmoor a couple of months ago, I was in the female category in the 6k distance. To my surprise I finished 2nd! Just over a minute behind the female who won. Honestly, I was so relieved I didn’t win, I did not think I was anywhere near good enough to finish that highly and had not mentally prepared for my running female to come into question that day… phew!
Running bra soon?
Well, when I planned to write this article I hadn’t yet bought a running bra, and now I have! Woohoo! With the breast growth I’ve had already I actually feel more comfortable running in one, it also give me a great boost running in a running bra and a women’s running top. Girly Amber = Happy Amber.
My target in the coming months
So far my Personal Best for the Plym Valley 5k has been 25mins 26secs. With a bit more training and consistent running I am hoping to break that 25 minute barrier! That’s a big milestone for me and will be a really great achievement.
Thanks again to Erin for getting me into trail running and a big thanks to all the events I have been to, you may not have really noticed me, but as a trans woman it has meant a lot to me running as female, long may it continue.