Ordinary Women Being Extraordinary
Shelly Hynes, 47, is mum to Bladen 17 and Liliana 14, and married to Dom, 47. They live in Rickmansworth, Hertfordshire. Shelly took up running and got the bug in a big way, running marathon after marathon. Then injury stopped her in her tracks. But being an endurance woman, Shelly, tenaciously worked out how to get herself back to running and found a new direction in the process.
‘When I fell pregnant with Bladen I stopped smoking and started the journey to a healthier path. Once he was born I wanted to get out and about and shed the baby weight, and headed down to the David Lloyd to get fit. It was here I met Debbie, who looked amazing, and I asked her how she’d got a body like that. She told me she’d lost five stone just by getting out and running – and that was it, I joined her running group.
‘At the start I was right at the back, but I didn’t let that bother me, I just set myself the goal of getting to the front. I’m not sure I’m competitive, but I do like to have a goal, and I think it works to be with people who are faster than me if I want to improve.
‘Soon I was at the front in the running group, and decided I was ready to enter Race For Life. I had stitch and had to walk a bit, but I loved it. It wasn’t long before I’d entered a 10K, then a half marathon and by 2006 (five years after starting running), I’d entered my first marathon. But I had made the classic first-time marathoner mistake of doing too much too soon and ended up with shin splints – earning myself the name, Shelly Shins. In training I only ever got to run 14 miles as my long run. I limped and walk/ran around the marathon and finished up with egg-size blisters and a time of 4.45.
‘I swore I’d never do another marathon, but a week later as we sat having coffee at the David Lloyd, and showing off our medals, talk turned to the next one. Like childbirth you quickly forget the pain of running a marathon.
‘Over the next few years, I ran marathon after marathon, running 4.20, then 4.09, then 4.06 and finally 3.59.58 – which was followed by 3.49. I was on a roll, then when training for the Valencia marathon, injury got a grip.
‘It was a groin injury, and at the start I couldn’t even walk properly. As things improved I started aqua jogging, which made me a feel a bit stupid. I had to go the local pool in the morning when the elderly crowd went in and ‘run’ up and down in the deep end with my aqua belt on. I tried all sorts of treatments and experts, but it seemed that nothing was working. And if I’d listened to some of the people I saw I would have given up. But I was determined to get to the bottom of it.
Running had been something I’d learnt to rely on to deal with stress, so without it, I needed an alternative to running. It was over this period that I discovered Emotional Freedom Technique (EFT), which involves tapping your temple, under your eyes, around your nose, on your chin, and on your wrist, whilst saying positive mantras. (Ed: EFT is sometimes referred to as Psychological acupressure, find out more in this article from the Energy Therapy Centre.). I’d never have found it if I hadn’t been injured and it’s something I use to this day. Injury also meant I wanted to find something useful to do that felt positive so I started volunteering at a the Herts Inclusive Theatre (HIT), helping people with learning disabilities to get involved with the performing arts.
Eventually, after 15 months of no running, I found a treatment that worked. It involved taking my blood, ‘spinning’ it, then injecting it back into the injured area. It worked! And soon I was back to running.
Last year I raised over £2,000 for HIT. Taking time out and having to dig deep to get back to what I love helped me to be more holistic in my approach to running. I also got very into yoga, particularly Ivengar yoga which focuses on stretching the faschia and on alignment, which is the perfect balance for running. Now, I’m looking at creating a new business, creating yoga clothes which I’ll sell online. Without running or my injury I’d never have found this new path.
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