Meet Caroline – founder of Run With Caroline
Hey there! I’m Caroline and I started Run With Caroline in 2018 as a way to share my love of running and it has grown from there.
Running has helped me in so many ways throughout my life and has given me the confidence to achieve my goals both personally and professionally.
My love affair with running started back in childhood. I loved running and I excelled at sprinting and long distance running.
I regularly entered athletics and cross country competitions and in secondary school I was voted the most promising female athlete.
I continued running and other sports like football well into my teenage years, then I went to university…
The university years
It’s safe to say that my interest in exercise and sports disappeared during my time at university, which I greatly regret now.
I was too busy meeting new people and going to parties to care about my physical wellbeing.
In hindsight, this was a pretty stupid thing given that exercise today gives me so much enjoyment.
In 2008 when I graduated from university, I took up running again and boy was it hard!
Following years of partying, poor food choices, nights sitting in front of the TV and a virtually non-existent fitness routine, my fitness had taken a huge hit.
To say it was hard is an understatement. I remember that day when I went for my first post-university run so clearly.
I couldn’t even run for more than 10 metres without getting out of breath. I remember thinking at the time how could this get any easier?!
My whole body felt like one giant, immovable lump. Seriously.
But I knew something had to change.
My physical and mental wellbeing was at a low so I set about running more regularly.
I loved how it felt to be in the great outdoors, doing something that was not only good for my health but for my soul too.
I soon clocked up the miles and with them my confidence, inner strength and self-esteem grew.
My first half marathon
In 2010, I decided to train for my very first half marathon.
At the time I had been running for just over two years so the thought of training for a half marathon terrified me.
But sure enough I did it and in the process I changed my life.
I’ll never forget the feeling of euphoria when I crossed the finish half marathon line. All those months of training, sweat and tears had paid off!
My confidence was at an all-time high.
Fast forward to 2022 and I’ve run countless Parkruns, 5k and 10k races and half marathons.
Sharing my passion for running
In 2018, I decided to become an UK Athletics Run Leader so I could share my passion for running with others.
I started leading weekly beginner and intermediate running groups in my hometown of Cambridge, UK.
A year later I became an UK Athletics certified Run Coach and Level 3 NASM Personal Trainer.
I work with hundreds of women each year – from those who have never run before and those that are getting back into running following a break, to those that have been running for several years and just want to be part of a community.
Bumps along the road
Despite all my successes with running, it hasn’t been a straightforward journey.
In 2018, I was diagnosed with a severe form of endometriosis – a painful, chronic illness that causes tissue similar to the lining of the womb to grow in other places in the body, such as the ovaries, fallopian tubes, bladder and appendix.
Endometriosis has had a significant impact on my life.
It’s a long term condition that causes severe pain, heavy periods, nausea, brain fog, infertility and a whole host of other symptoms.
As a result, my ability to run long distances is limited.
Luckily, I was able to have endometriosis excision surgery in 2022 – something I am truly grateful for every single day.
Since my diagnosis in 2018, I have become passionate about raising awareness of endometriosis and showing women that even with a chronic illness like endometriosis, you can still lead an active lifestyle, albeit with some limitations.
Although there have been moments of self-doubt and crises of confidence along the way, I am determined to keep up the running as it is my release.
What does the future hold?
Today I am still running and running is one of the few things that gives me absolute solace and inner peace.
Following my endometriosis diagnosis, running has become much more of a spiritual, mindful activity. I no longer obsess about pace and distance!
I’m looking forward to happy and healthy future 🙂