Throughout my twenties I did very little exercise, but I read a fitness magazine every so often, which convinced me that I was quite healthy. I ate whatever I wanted and steadily put on weight. Shortly after turning 30, I'm not sure why, but I started doing occasional exercise videos, one of which was by a tv expert, Joanna Hall. After a few months of enjoying the video, I bought her book 'The Exercise Bible'. It was a selection of basic information about all different types of exercise. There was a small chapter about running, and there I read about a beginners' running programme. This put forward the idea that you could actually learn to run.
The programme had you starting with a run-walk combination, and gradually increased the amount of running, building up to 20 minutes. I decided to try it. I ran off down the road with an eye on my stopwatch. After about 2 minutes, I had to stop and walk for a few minutes, and then I ran again, and carried on this way for a total of 20 minutes.
I remember how I dreamt of being able to run continuously for 20 minutes - it seemed ridiculous and unattainable, but I didn't give up. I started to go out regularly, although I found it difficult to stick rigidly to the programme. Essentially, I ran for as long as I could; walked until I had recovered, then ran again. In hindsight, I was probably running too fast, and if it had ever occurred to me to slow down, perhaps I could have gone further.
I was very motivated - I just had a burning desire to be a proper runner, and I thought that if I could keep running for 20 minutes, and do that a few times a week, that would be enough to stop me feeling embarrassed. After a number of hiccups and a few months, I eventually got there. I was elated the first time I ran round the block and kept it up for a full 20 minutes! It felt like an incredible achievement, something I'd never really though possible for someone like me.
By that stage I was hooked. I must have been serious because I bought another book - The Runner's Handbook. It seemed to me that running for 30 minutes would qualify me for that most desirable accolade: 'a proper runner'. I had a new goal.
Over the next few years I changed jobs, moved countries and had 2 children, and running often fell by the wayside. Whenever I picked it up again, I'd have to add in some walking, but I was always able to start with at least 10 minutes of running, never having to revert to 2 minutes.
Then, a couple of years ago, I got more serious. I ran my first 10k in 2009 - a distance I hadn't thought possible 2 years earlier when I watched my husband do it. 4 months later I ran a half marathon. Shortly after that I joined a running group, and in May 2010 I completed the Edinburgh marathon.
During the training I remember running continuously for 3hours 30 minutes. How incredible that a few years earlier, I'd though of 20 minutes as wishful thinking. I honestly believe that if I can do it anyone can. All you need is motivation, desire and determination (and an understanding partner). I just wish they'd taught me how to run at school.