Tuesday, 6 January 2015

Health | I am a runner

Welcome to January. For the already fit amongst you this will no doubt be the season of dread. The New Years resolutions are in full grip across the nation, gyms that were beautifully quiet two weeks a go are now bursting at the seams, the gentle lunchtime run has suddenly become a fight to the death against flashy-kit-wearing newly resolved fitness fanatics. 

In 2014 I became a runner. I don't mean professionally, nor do I mean that I created a New Years resolution that altered my life. I began running back in 2010 where, on a whim, I entered a marathon and suddenly found myself with a training plan. I had been working for a boarding school at the time and was asked to take part in their cross country race. Having played sport at uni but never really run I thought - 3 miles; easy! It took me over an hour and I was so completely shocked at my inability that in that moment I thought I had to prove to myself that I could be fit because if I didn't do it now, I'd never do it.

Ready to run to work
Fast forward to 2013 and I had run a marathon, 2 half marathons and a handful of 10k and 5k races. But I was still painfully slow and I would fall in and out of training through injury and simply lack of drive. Then in January 2013 something began to change my running pattern: I transformed the way I ate. I joined Weight Watchers at the time as I was getting married in the June and felt I still ate like a child - desperately in need of sugary snacks to survive the workplace. I learnt what a difference increasing the amount of fruit and veg I eat can make on my diet, health and, as a consequence, weight. The week before my wedding I broke the hour barrier at 10k, now a stone lighter, and practically wept for joy.

Then in 2014 for the first time ever I followed a training programme - not to the letter in terms of activity but I did hit the mileage required each week and began to run regularly. I went in to the Cambridge half marathon in March hoping to beat my PB of 2:33 and ran 2:14. I was totally shocked at how quick I was. Guttingly, two weeks after that race I had horrible foot problems and had to pause the running completely for 6 weeks after medical advice. But that made me look back to my diet and I embraced a new diet I'd heard about - "Vegan Before 6".

Royal Parks Half Marathon 2014
I started training again in June joining both a Sweatshop Run Club and running my local Parkrun regularly and worked towards breaking my PBs at 5k, 10k and half marathon. 
At the Royal Parks Half in October I ran 2:01. Then I did the Saffron Walden 10k also in October and smashed my PB achieving 52mins. This week I broke the 25 min barrier at 5k achieving a 24:56 time at Cambridge Parkrun.

So now I am a passionate runner, I think about running when I'm eating, I run to work, I follow a training programme, I care about split times, I'm passionate about getting others to try running and I own lycra shorts. In short, now I am a runner.

Hampstead Heath Parkrun on Christmas Day 2014

2 comments:

  1. Well done! I've recently started running and I have to admit, after years of being Michelle "I don't run" B*****t ... I actually quite like it. I like the being outside and the simplicity of only having to step out your door to begin. I'm still in the stage where I don't mind too much about time and distance because any running is an achievement over no running, but I'm hoping to do my first ever 5k run this year.

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  2. That's brilliant Michelle well done! I think it's really powerful to take yourself seriously - that's what I'm trying to do. I'm trying to say: I love running, I love feeling healthy and I can do it. Hopefully that will encourage others to do the same.

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