Rosie’s Story

Rosie’s Running Story :

How I ended up peeing on the Rue de Rivoli in Paris in the middle of the day.

I was never a runner, it wasn’t that I didn’t want to run, I wanted to but I simply couldn’t run. My early memories of running was taking part in community games as a child where I progressed from coming last in a race to the following year not even finishing it.  So that was that, It was decided I can’t run and so it remained until…. one drunken night out, myself and a friend decided we were going to take on this running lark as our newest fitness endeavour.  We were going to conquer the 5km. Couch to 5km app was installed on the phone, new runners were purchased and we were off. Day 1 – run 1 minute, Ok I got this easy peasy. At 48 seconds I thought my lungs were about to burst out of my chest. That was the longest 12 seconds of my life till I got to walk. I followed the programme and got to 5km. To date, this was the hardest running I’ve ever done, no training compares in level of difficulty as my couch to 5km.  I had no idea all the mistakes I was making, not warming up, running way too fast, cos obviously to be a runner you have to be in a constant sprint, not eating correctly, basically just making life unnecessarily hard on myself.   I got to 5km and decided to see where I could take this running thing. I had lost my friend at this stage and was going to alone. Not happy with just getting to 10km, I decided half marathon was where I was going to aim for.

At this point, I knew I needed help, either psychological help to get me to realise the ridiculousness of this decision or actual running help to get me to 21km. Trawling Google I came across Forget the Gym and signed up for the half marathon training programme.  Deep down I didn’t really think I would actually ever do a half marathon, I’d do the workshop and then realise I can’t run, remember and this running idea would go the same way as all previous exercise projects of mine and I’d be onto the next thing.

But that’s not what happened. Mary’s programme made so much sense and took a lot of the intimidation out of running a half marathon.  I left that evening not with the “ah well sure that’s that” feeling I was expecting but an “I can actually do this, I mean really do this” excited feeling towards the half marathon.   The race series came round and I registered for the 5 mile in the phoenix park.  Mary invited me along to meet up with the group but I decided against that. I didn’t want to be walking into a group of “real runners” who all knew each other, I just wanted to be under the radar so I just went and done it by myself. I felt great finishing that race but slightly deflated walking out of the phoenix park with no one to share it with. So when the Fingal 10km came round I decided to join the Forget The Gym girls in Starbucks after the race.  Everyone was great, so welcoming and inclusive and full of energy, it was exactly what I was missing from the previous race.

From this point I never looked back, I started training on a Saturday morning in the Phoenix park, most of the gang were aiming for the Dublin marathon in October but there were people there training for all sorts. The day of the half marathon finally came and I was there on the start line, equipped with all the knowledge from Mary’s workshops, the training I had done in the park and my new buddies to run with.  I was taking on my first half marathon!!  When I finished instead of leaving the park, alone and slightly deflated, we all went for coffee and cake and talk excitedly about the race.  I was actually disappointed to have reached my goal in a way. I wanted to keep going towards the marathon but I was going to be away that October so I couldn’t.

As soon as I got back from travelling, I was straight onto Mary to see if there were plans for a marathon in the spring. I felt if I waited till the following October, I’d have lost interest in this running thing. So I signed up for the Paris Marathon in the spring of ’13. I was so excited about starting training, thinking I was going to pick straight up from where I left off. The first long run out (9 miles) I thought would never end. I hated it, My knee hurt, my lungs hurt, I can’t run, remember.  Mary and her never ending supply of information and support along with her calm consistent manner got me through this and I continued on my path to Paris. Some runs were great, others were awful, I suffered with a 3 week period of bad knee pain. Again consulting Mary and investing in a foam roller torture machine I overcame all this. Soon it was April ’13 and we were off to Paris to run 42km. Nervous doesn’t even come to describe how I was feeling, as always Mary was there to be the voice of reason, “Trust the training” she would say. This was great advice cos it meant I didn’t have to trust myself, I could trust Mary and the training. It really did take the pressure off.

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So this is how I ended up going for a pee on one of the busiest street in Paris in the middle of the day. I didn’t take Mary’s advice that you don’t need to drink a gallon of water the morning of a race. That said it was a great bonding moment between myself and another running chick. We are now official Pee buddies.

I crossed the line that day in Paris absolutely shattered but elated, it was and still is the best day of my life. I cannot even start to explain the emotions I went through.  I just loved every minute of it.  I wanted to do it all over again (but with a brand new body).  I wasn’t back in Ireland but I was signing up for the Dublin marathon in October.


2 years on from when I signed up for the Mary’s half marathon workshop, I have 2 marathons, 6 half marathon, countless 5kms and 10km, running holidays to Milan, Limerick and France under my belt. I have made some absolutely amazing friends, people I know will be part of my life for a long long time.  Forget the gym is like one big family, to me it’s a social group that do a bit of running. There will always be either tea and a cake or a beer at the end of every race.  My old mantra of I can’t run has changed to I can’t imagine not running.  I love to see the new girls joining and am quite envious of the fact they are at the start of their journey, the doubt, the disbelief that they can run 5km, 10km, half marathon, full marathon, whatever their goal is.  The journey to achieving this goal is so rewarding and the feeling when you complete it is the best feeling in the world.

The only thing you need in order to reach your running goal, is to want to.  Once you want to and with the help of Mary and the Forget The Gym family, you CAN do anything. And you will have a great time along the way.

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