In the middle of November, one of my daughters (Harriet) asked if I would like to go to Hockley Woods with her and the dogs at the weekend.  Without giving the idea too much thought, I agreed and didn’t think any more about it. 

On the Saturday evening before the planned ‘visit’ to the woods, she started getting together the kit for her and Trevor ready for the next morning.  This looked to be quite a serious trip requiring water, running equipment and a huge collection of straps and leads.  She loaded the car and off we went. 

This was NOT what I was expecting…we arrived to find all sorts of dogs and their owners looking extremely sporty and I felt this was going to be a really huge mistake.  “Just jog along mum, you’ll be fine” she said.

Fast forward eight weeks and I find myself at the start line of the South Woodham Park Run with the gorgeous Mia (Tori’s collie) attached to my belt!  Several of my new found canicross friends were there and everyone was so kind and friendly – not at all how I thought a running club would be. 

The sun was shining and it was beautiful – a perfect day for a first timer.  I was nervous about so much!  Would I be able to run that far, would I trip somebody over with Mia, would I face plant on the first downhill, would I even survive at all?  We set off at the back trying to keep a low profile.  Quickly the runners spread out and we started to make our way through the crowd and caught up with the other Tailrunners.

They were all so encouraging and everyone was looking out for each other.  The course was stunning, with the winter sun rising over the water and a pair of swans even flew just above my head.  We had the most perfect run – and I survived.

So far I have been running with one of my three daughters’ dogs and I am very grateful that they have all been patiently showing me the ropes.  They have all been canicrossing for quite a while and have been the perfect partners to get a beginner out running.

Father Christmas (aka super-duper hubby Tim) was very kind to me and suggested it might be the time to start looking for my own running buddy.  Of course I graciously accepted the offer and two weeks ago another gorgeous ESS has joined our mad family.  Skye is just 15 months old and will start her canicross journey very soon.  I can’t wait to be hitting the trails with my very own dog!

I have never been a runner and haven’t run since being forced to back in my school days.  I once tried couch to 5K and did not enjoy it all and had given up by week 2 – I couldn’t cope with being told what to do by my phone! 

If you had said to me three months ago that by January I would have completed my first park run, I would have suggested you that you go and see a doctor!  But it has happened and I am hooked. 

Thank you so much Tailrunners for welcoming me into the expanding canicross family (a big hug goes to Amanda) and of course to Harriet for taking me to that very first ‘jog’ at Hockley Woods.  Also, not forgetting Tori (and doggies Mia, Trevor and Ziggy) for all their enthusiastic encouragement.  I am nearing the completion of a PhD and have been thinking for a while that I need to find something to fill the gap when I am finally finished – and I think I have found it!