August 10, 2018
Self-proclaimed 'Unfit Mum of 2', Stef Langdon, talks about her fitness journey
I’m a very unfit Mum
I have 2 gorgeous children who are my absolute world and a husband who has been my rock for the last 11 years. I am very fortunate to have an incredible family and friend unit around me, especially when some other people aren’t so fortunate.
I’ve been a regular hockey player for 15 years but I’ve always seen myself as unfit. I can just about run around like a headless chicken for 70 minutes every Saturday afternoon with kids on the sidelines shouting their support....ha, who am I kidding! The never ending calls of ‘I’m bored, I’m hungry, when is it over, it’s cold, its wet, can I play on your phone, what’s your password, has this place got WiFi, where are my snacks’ and so on and so fourth. Hockey had always given me an out. Something other than being mum. I had a social group, a new family, a place to chill and giggle with the girls and it was amazing being able to share this with my husband and children (on the odd occasion!). My daughter soon caught the bug and now also enjoys a knock about in the clubs academy.
At 17 I had a cancer scare
At the time I never really thought much about it. It was just a word to me. I am very fortunate to not have the big C affect too many of my family or friends, so didn’t truly understand the devastation it causes to so many lives. I remember looking to my mum who had accompanied me to the special unit at the hospital, and seeing tears in her eyes and thinking “Okay, this is bad”. The Dr who I saw told me to not make friends with anyone as they might not be around at my next visit. Again, I didn’t think too much to this as I just thought they might not have been in on that day. How naive I was. I’m one of the lucky ones, it was just a scare and now I live with a scar on my back from it all. This has made me keep cancer charities close, always popping change in a pot when I see one, donating clothes to shops who can gain vital funds from their sales etc.
I’ve always pushed myself to do crazy things in the name of charity
When I was 18 I endured a 6 hour sponsored silence, I ran the London marathon in April 2016, I also took part in a skydive that same year.
Like many people I have a bucket list. I have normal things on there, see the northern lights, climb a mountain, see Paris at night. Equally I have some slightly bonkers things on there, complete a tough mudder course, ride on a motorcycle, be accepted to donate bone marrow, take part in a boxing fight....
Why boxing? Why not!?
Last year whilst thumbing through Facebook a sponsored post caught my eye; "UWCB - ULTRA WHITE COLLAR BOXING, SIGN UP HERE". So I did.
“You’re absolutely mental”
“But you have such nice teeth”
“Oh god why would you do that”
... just some of the comments I've received so far.
I didn’t know anyone at this point who had taken part in the event itself but lots of testimonials on their website urged me to fill in the sign up sheet. A week after signing up I chickened out. What on earth had I done, I can’t box, I’m the biggest whimp going!!! So what is different this time...
I was at a close friends house one night, playing poker and waiting for the Anthony Joshua fight to come on the telly and we got talking about this UWCB stuff. A friend of mine had recently fought in one of their organised fights and my sister was part of the way through her training for another event so I was talking everyone through what they had both experienced so far. The fight was building up on the screen and the buzz from the programme and my friends was just amazing. I really felt like I wanted to do that, I wanted to fight. To walk out to music, people cheering your name, lights, cameras, the whole shabang. I sat there watching, thinking it’s now or never. During round 3 I signed up to the UWCB for August 2018 and immediately told my closest girl friends. I knew if I told someone I then couldn’t back down. That’s it, I had bit the bullet, no backing out now!
I won’t lie, this has been one of the hardest, most challenging experiences of my life
...and I have had 2 babies!!! The guys who train you ask that you commit to 2 sessions a week with them for 8 weeks leading up to your fight. This doesn’t seem too much at the time but there is so much more to the training then you initially think. You have to make sure you eat right, train in between their sessions, keep your fitness up and also NO ALCOHOL!!! That alone is a shocker. At my first session I felt positive, I’m a hockey player I can do this....I think I nearly died 2/3 times in that first hour! As the sessions have gone on I have felt myself getting fitter. I have noticed changes to my body that years of dieting have never done. Don’t get me wrong, there have been so many ups but equally there have been a huge amount of downs. I felt pain in places I didn’t even know I had muscles, my back gave up on me weeks ago and I’ve been dealing with strapping that up to see me through sessions. Trying to drag yourself to training after working a 10 hour day is so tough, but you just have to remember why you’re doing this.
I’ve always aspired to be like a lot of everyday people. My family, close friends
A lot of my friends have these huge inspirational figures whom they look up to, be it singers, actors, athletes and I’ve always thought it was amazing. Me, I’ve never really looked to anyone like that to draw my inspiration from. My mum has always inspired me, she has 6 girls and has always made sure that we never went without. We weren’t a wealthy family whilst growing up, but she never showed when she was struggling. She managed to keep us all fed, clothed and a good holiday each year all by herself not once asking for a break or any help at all. I think this is where I get my stubbornness from really!! My best friend never fails to baffle me. Her past is a very colourful picture, yet she always puts her best smile on and takes everyday with this incredible energy and such a positive outlook on everything. People who have lost loved ones but manage to live their life to the fullest inspire me. Those who pick themselves up from the darkest of places, they keep me going on my bad days. I think there are hundreds of truly inspirational people around every corner, we just need to stop and listen.
As the years go on it is just incredible to see more and more backing from huge companies in promoting women in everyday things. The #ThisGirlCan campaign really is my favourite campaign ever and makes me love the internet so much more. Whilst I was training for the marathon I joined several running groups on Facebook to try and get inside runners heads for hints and tips. The best group I found was ‘Run mummy, run’. This group was a real life line for me. If you ever felt like tapping out you could pop a message onto the group and within minutes you would have 100’s of replies from women all over the country supporting you, boosting your confidence, encouraging you to keep going. There was so much positivity on this page, from everyday women who just wanted to help others out. Women boosting women is the most genuine and beautiful thing and the future generation will learn so much more from such positive actions.
Just do whatever makes you happy, don’t let anyone steal your glitter
I’ve never written anything like this before, I have felt like I have waffled a lot but it has also felt amazing being able to put my small experience into writing. I would love to inspire more women to go out there and try those wacky ideas out. Go shave your hair off for charity, ride a bike naked, run in your bra, or simple bake loads of cakes.
Have fun making your own rainbows, signed Unfit Mum of 2 xxx
Want to donate to Stef's Just Giving page? Click this link and give what you can for Stef's challenge, which will be happening in Berkhamsted on April 18th.
Inspired by Stef's story or have your own experience to share? Please comment below.