My running journey

I am now a believer that anyone can run. Seriously. If I encourage one person to take up running, then I will be a happy bunny. If someone had told meΒ all those years ago that I would be a keen runner then I would have laughed in their face! But now I can, and I love it! And so can you! And here is how it all started…

I was always one of those kids who dreaded PE. I never minded getting active, and as a family we did lots of walking, swimming and cycling. But I was not good at throwing, catching or anything, so I dreaded all the team sports and was not very sporty at all!

Back in 2007 a colleague asked me to join her when she did the Race for Life. I had never heard of it, but I gave it a go, and we walked the whole way. During the race I was so inspired to all people of all ages, shapes and abilities running the 5K distance, and secretly decided that the following year I would run the race.

As the race got nearer, I found a training plan (look here) and diligently followed it to the letter! The last week of the plan was 15 min run, 1 min walk, 15 min run, so I had not run non-stop for more than 15 minutes at a time. But I wanted to run it all for myself, so even when I was waiting in a queue to cross a narrow bridge, I kept jogging!

I managed the race in 35 minutes, which for me was an amazing achievement, as I did not view myself as a runner.

I thought that I would stop running after completing the race, but by then I had begun to enjoy it, so I continued running 3 miles, a few times a week, and even kept it up during the winter. Then I was looking in the back of Runners World, and saw that there was a local 10k in the spring. “Could I do that?” I thought to myself? I was so nervous even entering it that I kept it a secret from most people, but I gradually increased my weekend run until I could run 6 miles. The race day came, it was tipping it down with rain, Andy came along to support me, and I was so nervous. It was such a different experience than the race for life- there were men, first of all, including men in incredibly serious racing gear, there were running club people, and everyone looked so professional! But I ran the whole way- it took me 70 minutes- and the running bug had well and truly bitten me.

I then ran several 10k’s but soon the longer races began calling to me. Could I run a half marathon? I saw a local one in March, and signed up. By then my long run was 7 or 8 miles, so I had decided that I could make the step up. I found the longer runs (11-12 miles) really draining, and it took me a while to find kit to wear in the winter that kept me warm, but not sweaty, during those winter long runs.

I completed the half marathon and I was so proud of myself when I finished. I had found the training really hard, and there were some long steep hills (it was the Berkhamsted one for anyone that knows that race)- my time of 2.32.44 was around my estimated time, and I was so proud of myself again for running all the way and finishing it.

I even completed a full marathon in 2011 (Stockholm) and another in 2015 (Brighton).

At the start of 2012 I was unwell, and needed an operation, and so from December 2011 to May 2012 I didn’t do any exercise except for gentle walking (running was banned until I had the all-clear following the op). I was back to square one (walk one min, run one min) but I was so happy to be out running again. There really is nothing like it to clear your head and to make you feel better.

I joined the local Sweatshop running group (which was free, and fab) and later on joined a local running club (OH ladies).

My Dad introduced me to St Albans parkrun (a free, 5K run each week) and although in 2013 we tended to go perhaps once a month, once it started in Panshanger I was going regularly, and I really do not like to miss one now. I can’t imagine Saturdays without parkrun.

I aim to keep my Race Calender page updated with race reports and times, and my parkrun touring page shows all the parkruns that I have been to.

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8 thoughts on “My running journey”

  1. Fantastic and very inspiring story, you sound exactly like me!!!!
    I’d second what you say about recreational runners too, I was sooo worried about that in my early races and actually the bonus of being slow is that there are loads of my club waiting to cheer us slowcoaches over the line!


    1. Hi! It is so true about other races- perhaps I have chosen well, (plus I never push right to the start, I always try to estimate my time and actually start by that time) but have always felt really welcomed in all the races I do.

  2. It’s really good to read that! I’ve been running since May and have just done my first 10k, I have another in a few weeks.

    I want to do a half marathon for Parkinsons next year, but I feel really unsure if I can manage the distance!

    1. I am sure that you will be fine πŸ™‚ Getting up to a half marathon sounds like a lot, but it is really 2 10K’s (and a teeny bit more), and with the training you will be surprised how quickly your body adapts to it πŸ™‚

    1. Thanks πŸ™‚
      Yes, I think most people would surprise themselves if they gave it a go.

  3. hey just found you. I’m really heartened to read your story-very similar to my own although I haven’t yet run a marathon. I am just back after 14 months of injury and just not getting back into running regularly (which is crazy because when I’m out I love it). Really glad to hear that your speed is picking up again-my stamina is back but not the speed yet.
    Keep on runnin’! x

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