Nickie’s Story

3 years older, but 10 years younger ….

Last year I asked Nickie how she was feeling about her running. She turned to me and mentioned that it was 2 years since she started Forget The Gym Classes. “I’m 2 years old but 10 years younger”. That stuck with me – and one more year on,  I have seen Nickie continue to stick with the running, improve and enjoy it. Here is her story.

When my otherwise unathletic friend, Emma took up running with ForgetTheGym, I was surprised. When she got me to take up running I was amazed! Ah well, I thought the real challenge to get me running is theirs not mine! I turned up at my first class with a 3 litre bottle of water and my dog and other half standing close by to rescue me if there was any shouting which there wasn’t. After week 3 I knew I’d finish the Learn to Run classes. On week 7 I had to stop and walk during the 25 minute run (twice) but week 8 I did the 30 minutes without stopping and did it twice to be sure. This taught me early on that there are good days and bad days and I have had only a few bad ones since.

I finished the classes at the beginning of September 2011 and did my first 5k race 2 weeks later. After that I just kept putting my name down for 5k races as I reckoned if I didn’t keep committing myself I might have just stopped especially at the beginning. Next milestone race was the Raheny 5 (8k) in January. In February Emma (her again!) informed me she had put both our names down for Dingle half-marathon in September. I complained loads to her but then I realised what I had moaned about most was the training I would have to do over the summer not the actual distance so gradually I got on board with the idea and eventually forgave Emma.

Next ‘big’ race was the Great Ireland Run in April – I really got a buzz out of this one as I enjoyed it so much and felt really strong finishing. At this point I was thinking to myself ‘a half-marathon is twice this distance with a 1k glory run at the end’ and it just didn’t seem so big any more. Just before the Dublin Race Series started I did Mary’s half-marathon workshop and for the first time saw what my summer of training would look like. I was pleasantly surprised that apart from one increasing one long run a week it was no different to what I was already doing.

So the training kicked off . . . each long run was such an achievement each week it was like finishing a race I was so pleased with myself. I was ready for the Dublin race series as they came up, 5 mile & 10 mile and got a feeling for how the big, long race was going to feel. Dingle half-marathon dawned on 7th September & wasn’t too hot which was and still is my biggest running dislike. Everything went so well … the atmosphere was fantastic, the scenery was breathtaking, the people I met along the way were all so encouraging, the locals giving out water and oranges and the bands playing the rousing music all helped spur me on. The half finishes on a downhill and I sprinted in feeling I could have run another couple of kilometres. As with all races and especially this one I was too excited to do any cool down or stretches so I got on the bus back to Dingle. The bus dropped us off about half a kilometer from the BBQ and as I went to leave it my legs wouldn’t work. I was mortified and made a superhuman effort to get one foot in front of another and by the time I was back to the party my limbs were in full working order again . . . a cautionary tale!

Since then I have completed some more half-marathons including 2 Beaujolais wine runs and even a couple of half-marathons without wine. I’m heading off in November for the 10th running of the Beaujolais races with Mary and the gang. It’s the fun highlight of the running year for most of us.

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There’s so many of Mary motivational sayings I like but I think ‘You never regret a run’ and ‘The first step out the door is the hardest’ are the ones I think about the most.

People say to me when they hear I’m still going to Forget The Gym classes ‘have you not learned to run yet?’ but what I get out of attending Mary’s classes is encouragement and a sense of community and a lot more. I will continue to go to classes and have also done a number of Mary’s workshops including 10k and ChiRunning. Mary and her team (Lorraine, Aoife, Anne and we can’t forget Owen) continue to inspire me and most importantly make it fun for me. Running has changed my life in lots of ways – my weak ankles are stronger, I have more energy and like being outside more. I’ve lost over 2 stone and if I ever get around eating a bit less/dieting I could reach my goal weight but I do enjoy life more now thanks to Forget The Gym – instructors and members.

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