Before all this, the blog, the channel, my love for running, I was a sprinter.
A sprinter who loathed long distance running, would look away whenever it was on the TV or would make comments whenever I seen track runners or folk running in inappropriate shorts – that was in 2012.
Flash forward four years later and I’m currently in love with running. Week in, week out you’ll find me either on the roads, gym or sometimes, running a Parkrun, all for the good of, not just my health but because I love it.
It never used to be like this though…
In the summer of 2012, as part of my recovery from tearing an ACL, I ran a 10K for Sport Relief. I did it under an hour, the first time that I ran that distance. I enjoyed it, it was fun, but hot! Little did I know, that the 6.2 mile distance would be something I’d enjoy completing.
It wouldn’t be until late 2013 where the bug would truly bite. I was finishing my track and field season and the Great North Run was in full flow that year. I had friends running it and as they passed the three mile mark, me and Emma offered support on the bridge near our old flat. Watching everyone run that day made me think that, “maybe I can do this, maybe I could run the 13.1 miles.” That day, I decided to put my name in for the reminder service ahead of the ballot.
Try as I might, running was tough, starting out is the worst I think. Running three miles every Friday night was how I got started, but it was tough, really tough. I thought about giving up, however, I persevered. I kept up the running and bought running flats, I took it very seriously.
My friends then introduced me to the Parkrun. I had heard of it, a few runners mentioned it and I briefly read that they were on the rise for running. I plucked up the courage and registered, printing my barcodes in anticipation.
As I took the metro journey down to South Shields, for the first time in months, I was feeling nervous. Sitting with my bag and staring at my racing flats, this would be the first time I’ve raced in a while and a first in my new footwear.
Arriving in Shields, I had to leg it to the start line, over a mile I think I remember, which was perfect for a warm up. As I got to the start, it dawned on me that I had my bag, I had to kindly ask if I could stash it safely, which I was allowed but I felt awful!
I don’t remember a lot from the run other than it hurt and I struggled, particularly at the final mile. Crossing the line felt amazing and, as I struggled to get my sweaty barcode out, It dawned on me that’s the fastest I’ve ran over that distance.
I did hit a wall eventually and it sucked. I stopped for a while, the runs dried up and the spark I once had, went out “if I can’t even run three miles, how on earth can I run 13?!” I asked myself, so I decided to join a running group.
Jesmond Joggers was easily the most welcoming running club I joined. I paid a fee per session and enjoyed meeting a new group. But my body decided that running 7+ miles every session didn’t feel great and eventually, my knee started to play havoc, so I took the decision that to lay off, recover and then train myself.
Soon, Christmas had come and gone. The ballot was drawn for the GNR and I didn’t get in, I was gutted, lost and most of all, sad. I was then told to try run for a charity place, which I did, immediately and it dawned upon me – I’m running the 2014 Great North Run. Ever since I was young, I’ve always wanted to run it, all because I remember my Mother running it, she inspired me since then to run, now I was!
Winter set into Spring and I was no nearer running a half marathon, panic then started to set in. Until one of my good friends, Luke Adams sent an invite to attend a GNR seminar, aimed at first time runners and a training guide for mileage – perfect, now I can get more serious!
As time went by, my running improved. I was quicker, stronger and comfortably running double digit miles – I ran from Gateshead to South Shields for my longer runs. I completed my first GNR in 1:59.51, sunburnt, emotional and wrecked, I knew this hobby would be my calling and following that, I decided to blog about it.
After then, I joined another running group, at first it was amazing. Again, meeting new people was fantastic and what was fantastic, all the runners had fantastic experience, so when I had a query or wanted to seek advice, I asked and it was incredible. However, getting left behind at sessions took it’s toll, mentally and physically. I tried to keep up but the group were so, so quick, I was in awe but there was no way I could keep up and I was asking for an injury, so, after recovering from a heavy cold, I again, decided to coach myself.
Two years from then, I’ve ran another GNR (and PB’d), a Great North 5 & 10K, 2x Blaydon Races and numerous PB’s have fallen, with only more improvement in the future.
When I first started running, I knew it would be hard, frustrating and well, expensive! But what I’ve come to learn is, patience is everything.
I still train and race hard, it doesn’t get easier, no matter how hard I try to kid myself after a session but I still love it. The progression is the addiction.
What I’m trying to say, particularly for those starting or thinking of starting is this, at first, it’s hard, easily one of the most difficult things to start in but you must persevere, push through the pain barrier and trust the training, progress comes eventually.
Most of all, HAVE FUN AND SMILE!