Friday, 27 September 2013

Why do I run?

My running story is much, much shorter. I've always been pretty active; enjoyed sports at school but wasn't anything special at them, dedicated all of my free time during my first degree to the university lacrosse club and have cycled to get around London for the past few years. But I'd never even considered running as an enjoyable pastime. I'm a bit too short and heavy, and besides my joints are a bit useless. And it'll ruin my knee. (I tore my ACL playing lacrosse in 2010 which required surgery). I'm just not made to be a runner. 2 things changed this.
1) My wonderful boyfriend. He is very much a runner. Parkrun on Saturday mornings, regular(ish) 10ks, and our first holiday together was a trip to Stockholm with one of his friends and his wife so the three of them could run the half marathon. He has a collection of medals and T-shirts (and a mug) and has done the remarkable; run a marathon. In short, he is a bit of an inspiration.
2) Peer pressure. I'm currently studying physiotherapy; the stereotype of physios being young, fit, beautiful people? It's so true. I felt such a misfit. All the girls at lunch times were chatting about their ironman training, or what time they ran their 10k that week, or which gym classes they'd been to that morning.

Basically I started running because I didn't want to be left out. I didn't like being left behind at the start line.

It was very much fuelled by my boyfriend's unshakable belief that absolutely anyone can be a runner, and his repeated assertions that I certainly wouldn't embarrass myself if I gave it a go.
Having started running I discovered a few reasons to keep going;
- It's incredibly satisfying. It's true, 99% of the time you'll feel better after a run than you did before.
- It's quite addictive. Not just those endorphins, but the 'maybe next time I can go a bit faster' feeling.
- You look extremely talented. Well, maybe not, but before I started running I never saw a jogger and thought, "They're rubbish". Because they were doing something I couldn't. No matter how slowly they were doing it, it was still more than me. Now that I do run, whenever I see a jogger I think "I bet they look better than me".
- There's something for everyone. From walk/running a charity 5k to running ultras, trail to barefoot to track athletics, there is something for everyone. And it's not like you're going to run out of places to run, it's a big world out there!
- You're part of a club. I'm still struggling with this. Because I'm new part of me still believes that there's some sort of initiation test, a rite of passage, something that marks you as a 'proper runner'. But there's not, everyone's welcome - my first Parkrun showed me that. Despite there being plenty of serious runners, everyone was so friendly and welcoming and encouraging. All you have to do is take part.

So I've been running for about 4 months now. How long have you been at it?

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