Now's News Editor is a plus-size exercise-phobe. Each day she shares her experience of training for her toughest challenge - Now's half marathon

My second proper run was a disaster.

I was giving the gym a break and was venturing to the great outdoors (where you can actually see the terrifying distance you’ve got to run).

Worse still, I was running with people.

And not even just normal people who would be witnessing me turn 50 shades of red, but my bosses.

Yep, another wildly good idea of mine.

On my first run a week before, I’d managed reasonably well – even overtaking a couple of people (they were probably OAPs, but I take my victories where I can get them).

On the second run however – with my bosses beside me – it all just went to pot.

Every footstep reverberated through my body and around my head, my legs felt weak after 30 seconds, my breathing was short and when I saw we were heading up some steps I genuinely wondered whether it was worth jumping in the Thames beside me to escape.

Weil’s disease versus falling to my knees, crawling, crying and eventually fainting in front of my bosses? Close call…

There had been no physical change between my first run and the second, so why was this so much harder?

Was it because I was running against my speedy superiors (who could sprint along happily like care-free deer prancing through a meadow, while I lagged behind with all the grace of a three legged hippo on valium)?

Mmm. A tad.

But my main problem I realised was good old positive thinking.

For reasons I won’t share, I was pretty damn angry that day and every thud as I ran was only making it worse. The very act of running was bringing me to the edge of a Hulk-like transformation. Every 10 metres felt like a mile.

I was convinced I couldn’t do it and I was losing before I even began.

So – with the risk of sounding like I’ve been locked up, tortured and indoctrinated with Disney DVDs – the lesson I did learn that day was to think happy thoughts, keep positive and tell myself that running the Royal Parks Half Marathon won’t be all that bad…

And if that fails I’ll go back to my fail-safe plan for getting round the ordeal/race – imagining a topless Ian Somerhalder waiting around every next bend.

The Vampire Diaries‘ Damon Salvatore and his bare torso? I’ll be like Road Runner…

Just for fun: here’s my top five men I want to see in running shorts:

Ian Somerhalder (Vampire Diaries)
Ryan Gosling
Tom Hardy
Emmett Scanlan (Hollyoaks)
Ashton Kutcher

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* Jess and the Now team are running the Royal Parks Half Marathon to support the National Rheumatoid Arthritis Society (www.nras.org.uk)

* Special thanks to Garment Printing for our beautiful vests

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