|From being a nervous Beginner in our Learn-to-Run Class in 2011, Denise has now become a ForgetTheGym regular at classes and events. From Dublin to Beaujolais, Clontarf to Paris, we are so proud of Denise and all she has achieved in the past few years. Well done Denise.|
2 marathons down and thinking of a third. How did I get there? All I had wanted was to be able to run for a bus and not loose a lung! Step in my work colleague Nikki and her suggestion to join the Forget the Gym Learn to Run class. My first class was in July 2011 which I faced with some trepidation. However the welcoming personality of Mary Jennings and her band of merry instructors made the experience very pleasurable. Homework, I hadnt done any since school. Only one thing for it out of the bed early and head off before any of the neighbours could see me. By the end of 8 weeks I could run 5km and didnt care who saw me. I kept up the classes and began to enjoy running further and longer. At home during Christmas I saw an add for a 10 mile race in March 2012. I mentioned it to Mary, she helped with a plan and I followed it religiously. The 10 miles was hard but the end was one of the best experiences of my life and I got my first Tshirt! I was now a runner!
An injury setback in May meant progress was slower than I hoped. Once cleared up Mary mentioned the Dublin marathon. There must be something hypnotic in her voice. I signed up for her marathon training workshops. We got the plan at the first workshop and oodles of information. The other workshops came at the perfect time in the training plan. Mary was able to impart the tools to get you through the tough training and the self doubt. A great gang of girls met every Saturday for the long runs. We had lots of chats about every topic under the sun and supported each other if we were having a tough day. I had to do my 18 miles alone but all the support from Mary and the Forget the Gym girls drove me to keep going and I finished exhausted but really pleased with myself. My last run before the marathon was in Lisbon but it meant missing Marys baking!
The weekend before the marathon was nerve racking but meeting Mary and the girls at the expo settled (some of!) them. The marathon itself was quite tough but visualising the finish as Mary had shown us kept me going. Seeing Mary and all the FTG running chicks at Grand Canal Bridge at the 25 mile mark meant I ran taller and faster! The end was such a rush! Couldnt believe I had finished. My brother in law had managed to persuade the officials to leave him wait for me just over the finish line. I think he thought he might have to collect a body! But I was alive and smiling! Trust the Training was Marys mantra and she was right. The workshops and training plan were really valuable. Completing a marathon is a great achievement but with Forget the Gym it gives you structure and support. You make lots of new friends and everyone has a story to tell. You even miss the Saturday morning longs runs and the chats and the coffee and cakes!
I swore never again but after a weekend of celebration at the Beaujolais half marathon I had signed on for Paris Marathon. How did I end up eating porridge in the pitch dark at 6 am on cold Saturday mornings in January and then heading for circuits of the Phoenix Park? It was all worth it when crossing the line at Avenue Foch in front of the Arc de Triumph, another t-shirt in the bag and a medal! One word of advice : do not have your MP3 on random or you may end up listening to Silent Night by Andrea Bocelli in the April sunshine in Paris as you head into a tunnel by the Seine!
Denise continues with our Strength and Speed Classes keeping fit and motivated with the rest of the girls. She may not know it, but Denise motivates and inspires our new joiners, making our new beginners feel comfortable and welcome at class by sharing her stories of her running journey. Thanks Denise.