What a difference a year makes….
“I promised myself for years I would get out running, lots of my friends had got into it and were taking part in events all over the country and even doing marathons around the world, sounded like great fun! Problem was I was full of excuses – not enough time, too big, 2 kids and my best excuse ‘I can’t run’! I really believed that one. I tried loads of couch to 5K apps and failed each time…nothing to do the with the app. After having my second baby I decided now was the time to get out and go. I tried again and failed again. I also had a foot injury that I had had on and for 5 years revisit me, it had also been part of my excuses over the years. This time I did something about it and went to a surgeon and after lots of steroid injections I pleaded to get it fixed properly. Ironically enough, it was a runners injury and I didn’t even run! I had surgery scheduled for September 2012 and had 6 months to let it recover before I could run….great another 6 months of an excuse and no guarantee it had worked!
Six months came and I got my couch to 5 K app back out again, I failed…again. I looked into finding a womens running group and in May 2013 came across Forget the Gym and the beginners running classes, I signed up straight away, there were no more excuses as the class started that same week.
Showing up my first night I was sure I wouldn’t stick at it because I was sure that I couldn’t run. I was greeted by smiley faces and positive affirmations I was told everyone can run and you will do it! Running those first one minutes were torture, I thought I’d die, then we were given homework. It didn’t look too bad. I took each class, each run and each homework day by day, still not expecting much or still not really believing I could do this. Gradually and with lots of moaning I made it to 30 minutes. I couldn’t believe it.
Next I was encouraged to sign up for my first race…’of course you can do it, you’ve ran 30 minutes already, sign up…’. So I did. It was the Docklands 5K run. I was terrified for days before it. I couldn’t sleep the night before and had to wait all day long to get ready to go as the race wasn’t until the evening. Finally I got there, so terrified. I met the Forget the Gym girls and Mary in the docklands for a chat beforehand and we all headed to the start line together. It was really great to take part in a real event…getting a race number and goody bag were all new to me and it all added to the hype and excitement. Even at the start line I was still considering pulling out! Off we went and the crowd carried me the first while, after that I fell in with other girls I had never met before all in the Running Chick shirts and each one got me through another few minutes. I ran that whole race with a massive grin on my face and was elated to cross the finish line. I had done it!
After that I kept going to classes and joined the Fun Run group, I still wasn’t very confident and still didn’t really believe I could ever make running fit in to my life. Mary organised the Forget the Gym Parkrun Picnic in Griffeen and I went along. More nerves and excitement, but I did it and even a little faster. We had a fabulous picnic afterwards and soaked up the sunshine. Perfect start to a Saturday morning!
I started running the Parkrun regularly in September/ October 2013 and it became part of my weekly run. I decided to make it non-negotiable (ie wasn’t allowed talk myself out of it or make excuses), each week I did either St Annes or Malahide Parkrun and my Forget the Gym class. It meant I only had to do one run per week by myself. I was always nervous before the Parkrun, some I ran all the way other times I ran and walked, eventually I started getting faster and feeling more confident. I found it amazing that when Aoife, Mary, Lorraine and now Anne were at a run that they would encourage me and even run with me to help me achieve my goals. Parkrun has really help me to improve my running and put into practice all the tips I was learning at class. I started to feel like I could run further….
I set my sights on a 10K in January 2014, I was still doubting I could really do it. It took me a couple of months to really commit and start adding on the kilometres. Aoife suggested I get to a Parkrun early and run an extra kilometre or do a lap before the race started…I thought she was mad! Gradually I added on the time. It was sometimes hard to get time as my husband travels and we have to small kids. I found myself going out before he went to work…something I thought I would never do, or getting up before everyone on a Sunday morning. Running has changed me a lot!
I felt the exact same way about the 10k as I did about my first one minute run and my first 5K…terrified! I went out one evening to do about 7.5K in preparation for the race and ended up doing 10K, I was thrilled. Every traffic light I came to I told myself I’d stop at the next red light or crossroads. Fortunately there were no red lights that night and I kept going, even going around in a circle at the end to make up the time. The Samsung 10K race was the next week, still feeling nervous and unsure I headed off and met the girls. Another lovely, encouraging, fun bunch of like minded girls and we set off. I really enjoyed seeing the sights of Dublin city that night and what better way than to run. It was fantastic and I felt great. I was rewarded that night with my first medal! Delighted!
I’m not sure what is next for me…at some stage I’d like to go further, maybe even a half marathon who knows! This summer I have committed to a faster 10K. Joining Forget the Gym has made me believe that I can do more than I think I can, the encouragement and support from all of the coaches & other the girls is fantastic. I now feel fitter and better than I have in years. I also feel I am setting a great example to my two girls, at aged 6 & 3 they think every runner we pass is my friend and they love to hear about every race and come to cheer me on at a few races too. They are still asking me if I won though…responding with ‘but it’s ok mammy, you did your best’!
Getting out in the evenings and early mornings has given me a major boost, I love the head space. It’s not always easy to fit it in but I just do it now as it’s part of me and what I do. I‘ve practised yoga for years and never thought I would find something else to fit in and stick to too, but I have and they are the perfect combination. I find I am planning other things around my runs and everything still happens the way it used to. I probably fit more into my day now than before I got up off the couch.”