“You don’t need to be a runner to start, but you need to start in order to be a runner”.
Many people of late have asked me how I got into running and moreover, how I’ve managed to stick with it.
I’ll confess, I used to hate running, it was such a slog and didn’t enthrall me in anyway. Sure I dabbled in the occasional Park Run or fun run, but I always felt it was never my true calling and I was pretty proud of myself if I managed to even finish a 5 km (which included a lot of walking).
So what changed you may ask?
I had been battling to lose weight, and it was not for lack of trying. I had been religiously following a training & eating program and still no drastic results were showing. I decided that there had to be something wrong. The only findings the doctor had (after copious amounts of blood tests) was that I have a severe iron deficiency. She suggested I try get into running. After my mopey “I hate running argument” she said that the only reason I hated it was because it’s hard. This was a very true statement and my general findings with anything in life is that if something is hard, or I don’t know what I’m doing, I switch off and generally just pass it off as something I “suck” at doing.
But, nevertheless, I took docs advice and adopted an “I’ll try” attitude. Attitude is really everything! I’ve also never been the type to back down from a challenge.
And so my running training began. I started off by doing time trials. I was the last person to cross the finish line for the first few weeks, they were hard but I endured . I signed up for my first ever 10 km and decided to do an intermediary 5 km race. I was super chuffed because for the first time ever I hardly walked. Progress!
Then the magical thing of getting addicted to running happened! During my 10 km race (it was the Soweto marathon run and still the best race I have done to date) I experienced my first runners high!
I had promised myself I could have a walk break if I needed to after the first 5 km’s because I knew I could at least run that distance without stopping but I managed to keep pushing through and the few walk breaks I did take after the 6 km mark were short and generally at a water point . At around the 7 km mark that’s when I felt the runners high, the high my running friends had been telling me to watch out for. It is one of the most exhilarating feelings you can ever experience. Pain escapes you, time eludes you, you feel invincible and unconquerable. In short you can take on the world and nothing can stop you. I have never, nor will I partake in taking drugs, however I have heard of people’s experiences whilst high on cocaine and to me it sounds like a similar experience to the runners high. Upon more research and talking to a person who has a professional understanding in Neuroscience and psychology, he agreed that the “symptoms” are similar and concluded that this is the reason a lot of recovering drug addicts take on doing extreme sports (such as iron man, The Comrades marathon etc.) as part of their recovery process. They continuously search for that state of euphoria. There have been studies preformed to demonstrate how the endorphin’s released during a run have certain powerful affects on your brain.
Setting New Years Resolutions
At the end of last year I had much time to ponder about my goals for 2017. I set the intention that I wanted to complete my first half marathon and thought that perhaps I would sign up for the Soweto half marathon as it was my favorite race and would give me ample time to train for the November event.
I started off the year literally hitting the ground running. I entered numerous 10 km’s and by February I felt that I was already fit enough to take on the challenge of a half marathon and so I signed up for the Birchwood half marathon that was to be run on the 26th March 2017. I also dragged my running friend into this challenge with me and so we both began to train more.
Birchwood Half Marathon
Not only did I complete the half marathon but I felt like I smashed it! I ran the entire way without walking, and completed it in a time faster than I what I had hoped for. I was aiming to run a sub 2:30:00 and managed a 2:24:17.
Where to next?
Naturally, I wanted to achieve more. I wanted to see how far I could push myself.
I had managed to inspire myself by completing a goal I set, 8 months ahead of schedule and I know that there is more to come.
And so the ambition of wanting to enter MAD2Run was born. To find out more about my “WHY” for this journey please read the two previous posts on this:
Where I currently am
I am still doing 10 km’s races as well as my own long runs. I have two half marathons that I’ve signed up for before the end of the year and there is a promise of more to come. I still do time trails and have educated myself more on how to train correctly. I include strength training and stretching into my routine which really aids in my running performance.
In short I am a runner. I might not be the fastest, but I am consistent and passionate. I am so excited to be on the MAD2Run18 team and feel that the next few months will push me, surprise me and see myself grow in ways I never imagined possible.
Please leave a comment or share your story as to why you started running. You can also tell me why you would like to start running and list your worries or concerns that I can help give you advise on.