10km tomorrow, if I can run so can you
The panic has started to settle in, as I run a 10km run on Saturday! Yes that is tomorrow EEEKKK! I kind of forgot about it due to the busy, weird week I have had. A 10km run is maybe not long for some people, but for me it feels like an amazing achievement. I have only ever ran this distance 3 times before in my entire life, you see I only started running in the beginning of this year, at the end of March. I have always been ridiculously unfit and never played any sports. I used to find any excuse not to do PE. Gyms make my skin crawl, with unease and I just feel so uncomfortable and out of place there! As I was turning older and feeling older, I decided that I needed to find something to help improve my fitness. I was also really looking for something to fill a void, where I could meet people and have some routine in my life. All of this came as a shock to everyone, most of all me.
I decided to look around and ask friends for tips and advice. A few mentioned running, I have to say I have never, ever in my life wanted to run. I always said it was nothing for me, you had to be way too fit and I was way too self-conscious to run in public. So I kind of put the idea to the back of my head. Then a friend mentioned that she had done the Yakult Start to Run programme and enjoyed it and that it was a good way to start running and see if you like it.
I toyed with the other options and then looked for the nearest group. There was a group really close by and you could go for 1 free lesson to see if you liked it. Should I do it? I was running out of excuses. What people find hard to believe about me is that I am actually really shy, especially when it comes to meeting new people, so I was filled with dread, factor in also that I had to do this alone and in my second language, scary for me. However, I pulled up my big girls pants and decided I would go. I was expecting to be greeted by a load of skinny athletes, so I was over the moon to find the group was a nice mixture of “normal” people, all shapes, sizes, ages and most importantly of all, abilities. Everyone starting the new group was in the same boat, at the beginning of the process, whether they had ran before, or like me never, (I used to be out of breath running for a bus). So I actually thought, “you know what I can do this, join this group and do the 12 week course”. That is exactly what I did and I have never looked back.
I had some really rough times, what people don’t tell you about getting fitter is that you suffer so many injuries you feel extremely unfit and frustrated, also that when you find a sport you enjoy it becomes addictive. I had some serious struggles, especially in the beginning as I was simply so unfit, I couldn’t run for 1 minute. Then we slowly built up the running time and I remember the first time I ran for 5 minutes, you would have thought I had just beaten Mo Farrah, I felt a sense of achievement, I could see the improvement, all be it slight. I kept going and stuck with it I am extremely proud of this fact alone, believe me there were times I wanted to quit. As well as the physio season ticket I needed, the painful injuries and not to mention the ingrown hairs in places no one wants, I had days when just leaving the house to go was the last thing I wanted to do. I never gave in though, I kept going.
At the end of the 12 weeks the aim was to run 5km without stopping, guess what people, I only went and bloody did it, like never stopped once, think Forrest Gump. At the end of the course, I was thinking what now? Should I actually become a member of a running group? I did! This is something I never, ever imagined I would be, but I am. In fact I have just signed up for 2018 too. Even stranger in September I decided to run my first ever 10km race. I say race I was under no illusion I could win, believe me there was nothing competitive in me, apart from that I wanted to finish and not die. It was so, so hard and I loved it all at the same time. The fella and friends came to cheer me on, they will never know how much that meant and how much motivation it gave me. I remember thinking between 9 – 10km someone had moved the finish line, it was so close, but so far. I have never felt emotion like it when I crossed the finish line. I had just completed my first 10km run, survived and even enjoyed it! I even paid for my medal to be engraved, to mark how special it was and I kept saying it was my first and last “race”. I know I sound like such a nerd, but I was proud, I had set a goal, that I never believed I could do, I not only achieved my goal, but I smashed my time and was so happy. I have always doubted my capabilities and this time I had proven myself wrong. I guess this is how and why I am still running and I will be doing another 10km tomorrow, with a goal of improving my 1 hour 3 minute 26 second time, to be precise. What I have learned throughout this experience is I can set my mind to things, stick with them and achieve them. I can enjoy sports and even turn into a bit of a running geek. I can set goals in all areas of my life and achieve them. I should have more confidence in my abilities. There are genuinely nice people out there, strangers and family and friends who will support you. Lastly if I can do it, so can you. I will let you know how tomorrow goes. Have a great weekend.