We’ve talked about this before, how much I love running. I think it was a regular item on my Things That Make Me Happy blogs earlier last year. I tend to think I need to give myself goals in the past to motivate myself to run, actually if I don’t, I find I start getting quite antsy and stressed out and have to run. This year, to give myself further motivation to push myself more, I’ve signed up for a half-marathon. Well, you might remember if you read my New Year blog that I was maybe going to think about it, possibly look at doing one next year, but that was a rubbish goal, a real cop out goal so, thanks to two very good friends who pushed me, I’m doing it. In October.
The main reason I wasn’t committing to it was that I was worried I might not love running as much if it became ‘difficult’. That if I had to run it’d become a chore and I’d stop doing it and I’d lose something I loved very much.
What I’d not taken into account was the fact that, one, if I set a goal I tend to stick with it no matter what, and second, I REALLY love running.
Context – I’m not by any means a sporty person. At school I was the slowest on cross country, got picked last for all team sports and did everything I could to avoid P.E. If someone I knew suffered a minor injury through sport I’d wisely joke that it was further proof that sports and fitness are really bad for you. I was a couch potato and proud of it. When I got a dog I started running so I could take him for longer walks in the little time I had. On days when I had maybe 20 minutes, half an hour to spare – basically Monday to Friday during term time – I could cover the same distance running as I would in twice the time walking. Brilliant.
Somewhere along the way I went from taking my dog for a 20 minute run to leaving my dog at home because he couldn’t keep up when on the lead, plus picking up dog poo really kills a good run time. Gradually 20 minutes turned into 5k, turned into 10 maybe 12k, turned into faster times, greater distances, struggling to see anything below 5/6k as even worth putting my trainers on for and finally 10 mile OCRs turned into signing up for a half marathon.
It’s not even like I’m particularly good at it. I am motivated, that I can’t argue with, despite the fact that I can spend a whole day cooking up valid reasons not to run – it’s a Tuesday, Mondays are terrible days for running, I’m already hungry and I can’t add rungry to that, the cleaning REALLY needs doing, Netflix needs me all evening, because reasons dammit. For the most part I average 2-3 runs a week, about 20 kilometres in total, but most of the time I’m running I’m wishing I wasn’t. There are frequentish moments of Forest Gumpesque Joy, times when I am, in fact, running down the road grinning like a loon but, generally, the soundtrack in my head is, why are we doing this, we don’t even need to be running, we’re not in a hurry, not being chased, there’s no prizes for getting to where we’re going faster, it’s a lovely day we should take time to enjoy it, it’s raining what sort of mad man/woman would go out in this?!, you know what, we ran 3k we can stop now, alright stop at that tree, the next corner, it’s almost 5k that’s good enough right, and so on… I don’t even look good running, I’m not one of those sylphlike, Paula Radcliffe build runners, who strides powerfully down the road. I shamble, I shuffle, sometimes I stride, but mostly I do it looking drastically more potatoey than when I’m walking down the road. It is not a pretty sight. I’m red faced, huffing and puffing fit to blow all the houses down, sometimes swearing and snotting everywhere. It’s gross.
But I love it. I do. Even though I sometimes don’t want to do it and even though I’m not anywhere near as good at it as I want to be. I love the freedom, the knowledge that, if I can just survive my crappy day I can get home, lace up my trainers and get a good clear 30 plus minutes, just me, Sam, and the zombies. And I’m going to smash that half marathon, just like I smashed that medal goal last year.
Full marathon next year anyone?