Intro Lorna

MAY 2019: Although Lorna Jenkins has always been quite active, unexpected setbacks during and after childbirth has meant taking her running right back to basics.

I’m delighted that she decided to join RunBrghton’s Spring 2019 Introduction to Running course.

Lorna, what was the extent of your running or other sport, prior to joining RunBrighton?

I was a very keen runner at school, mainly sprinting. I also loved team sports like netball and rounders. Every Saturday morning, I played for the school. However, that changed when I discovered the joys of going out on a Friday night. In my 20s, clubbing was my main exercise!

When I became pregnant in my 30s, I began looking after my body better and I’m grateful I did.

I was seriously ill after catching a hospital infection during the birth. It was a terrible time, where my body just couldn’t cope, and they finally stabilised me after trying 13 different IV antibiotics. The consultant confessed to my husband that that was the last option. It was nicknamed ‘domestos’, as it’s like bleach for the body.

The infection created a hole in my leg and also attacked my vision. It was a long recovery with numerous operations. And I was left with double vision and restricted sight in my eye. It did a huge amount of damage to me mentally and physically, and I also missed out on my new son’s early weeks.

To help me deal with it all, I needed to be outside, especially after being cooped up in a hospital for so long. So, wearing an eye patch, I started running. At first, I could only walk/shuffle around one square of Hove Lawns and slowly I built it up. After every operation and set-back, I started again. My first ‘race’ was the superheroes run, because I could wear a mask and no one would see my eye patch. My wonderful family were all waiting at the finish line.

I then slowly moved up distances; I did park runs, 10ks, Tough Mudders and two half-marathons. It made me feel strong and more confident about my body again.

Sadly, after my daughter was born, I became seriously ill again. Sepsis made my body start shutting down, but I’m still here today thanks to my husband and the two amazing paramedics who had had Sepsis training the week before! I feel incredibly lucky.

So, slowly, I’ve started again, doing the odd run. But the double vision can make me feel really sick, so it’s often put me off or reminded me of tougher times. That’s why I decided to run with a group!

How did you hear about RunBrighton?

It was one morning, when I ran past the Sunday group assembling. I thought they looked like a friendly bunch!

What prompted you to sign up to our Spring Introduction to Running course and what did you hope to gain from it? 

For me, it was running with a group to push me on and make me get out there and run. Also, I decided it was time to start focussing on rebuilding my strength again, so I liked the idea of the mixture of runs and exercise/strengthening. I wanted it to help with my confidence and I aim to do the Brighton Half Marathon in February, just after I turn 40.

What would you say you were most anxious about before we started, and have those concerns been overcome?

I was anxious about being a bit rubbish and unfit! But everyone was so friendly and clearly feeling the same. We were all made to feel great for just turning up and it’s a really supportive group. And the joy of running has returned! I’m never that keen to start, but I know I’ll feel a great sense of reward afterwards.

What aspect of the course would you say you’re enjoying the most?

I’m actually enjoying it all. Weirdly, I smiled after Ruth made us run up hills! It’s been great for me personally, actually making time for myself and learning about my body.

And how have you found running in a group, as opposed to running on your own?

So much better, such a lovely bunch! Although, it’s been weird running without music and having to listen to my heavy breathing! There’s no way I’d be working towards running for an hour on my own in this amount of time. There’s a great sense of encouragement.

As regards the strength & conditioning classes every Monday at Riptide, how useful do you feel these have been for you?

This has been so useful and really interesting. My body has changed a lot in the past years and I’ve been learning to still push myself but with the correct technique. My posture has hugely improved and I’m using that in my running. Matt is super positive and creates a great learning environment.

What has surprised you most, so far?

That I am still fit and sometimes it’s my mind holding me back. I feel excited about continuing to improve and starting to get more miles in.

What are your goals, going forward?

The main goal is to be strong and healthy. I’d also like to do a few races, 10ks and, of course, the Half in February.

My consultant once told me that the reason I survived was because I was fit. This will always, always stay with me.

Lorna, thanks so much for sharing your story. It’s great to know our Introduction to Running course is having a positive effect. And hopefully you’ll stick around with RunBrighton as you train towards the Brighton Half Marathon next year.

By Mike Bannister