The many faces of me, the runner
One year ago yesterday, I started my running journey. One year ago yesterday, I did something I never ever imagined I would do, never mind be able to do and sustain. One year ago yesterday, I started something that has well and truly become a thing I love in my life.
April 13th 2020 was a weird day. I remember being in a not-so-wonderful place. I didn’t take lockdown 1 very well. I am a lover of routine and a lover of structure, and I had that ripped from under my feet. I needed something in my life that would be a bit of routine, a bit of normality. I decided that I’d download Couch to 5k and JUST give it a go. Just try. Just see if I could. That first run (my post-run selfie below) was horrid. It was slow and it was hard. I remember finishing and thinking ‘nah, I’m not going to continue doing that; I wasn’t designed to be a runner‘. Two days later, I put on my running stuff and got out there and did run 2 of week 1; two more days later and I did the third run of week 1. Every now and again, I thought about giving up: Couch to 5k is AMAZING, but my god is it hard. You’d think running for a minute/90 seconds isn’t hard… but it TRULY is. It’s TRULY hard.
After a few weeks, you really start to build up the time on Couch to 5k. By the end of week 5 (I think), you have to run for 20 minutes. I honestly looked at that week and thought ‘IT IS NOT HAPPENING. I WON’T BE ABLE TO DO THAT’, but I did it… and I think that one run is the run that MADE me a runner; it’s the run that showed me I was a runner. (I’m sure I’ve talked about this before in my running blog post updates – I’ll link them below).
Now we’re a year into my running journey and I just wanted to take some time to celebrate myself (YAY) and the fact I’m still running (YAY), but also share some thoughts/things I’ve learned about myself/running.
- Couch to 5k is an incredible programme
It is so well thought out and it feels so unachievable while you’re in it, but I wouldn’t be running today if it weren’t for Couch to 5k. Sarah Millican was the person who cheered me on in my ear and kept me going when I thought I might die (actually a feeling you will go through, ha). It’s the perfect thing for people who want to start running and think they need something supportive and not scary.
- Having the Great Run monthly challenges have been a godsend
Honestly, I’ve needed something to keep me plodding on and getting onto the pavement to get some miles ran. There’ve been so many days where I haven’t wanted to run, but thinking I wasn’t going to do enough runs to hit my Great Run challenge have made me put my trainers on and get out.
- I still don’t know how to breathe
Nah, still not cracked it, ha. Don’t know how to breathe when I’m running… I just make it up, ha.
- It’s really bloody good for my mental health
Some days, the last thing I want to do is get out and be in the world (I struggled quite a lot with some pretty severe COVID related anxiety) so having to get out there and run was really useful for me. Running is 20-90 mins of me just being alone with my thoughts… and this is something that I need because it’s time for me to tell them to shut up, or for me to unravel all of the things that I need to unravel. It gets me out of the house and gets my body moving too!
- I’m still learning not to be obsessed with numbers
This is something that I go through phases with… some days, I’m great at just running and whatever the stats say on Strava that’s what they say, but other days I’m like ‘I could’ve/should’ve gone faster/further/ran for longer/why am I not faster/able to run for longer?’
- I am my own worst enemy
I am the person who gets in my own way when I’m running. I’m the person who stops me doing better. I have 2 very vivid memories of me getting in my own way because I PUT these expectations on myself to be better, to be faster, to be the best runner… but saying that…
- I’m learning to be kinder to myself
I’m learning to accept the fact that I won’t be a professional in a year. I’m learning to congratulate myself for getting out there. I’m trying my best to remember that a year ago I could barely run for a minute, never mind for 10k. I’m trying my hardest to see the fact that my attitude to running has changed. I’m embracing the fact that some days I won’t want to run and that it’s okay not to go out to run.
Honestly, I could keep going. Running has taught me so much about myself and it does kind of blow my mind. A year ago, I couldn’t run for a minute… now I can run 5k (and even the occasional 10k).
Running is hard. Running hurts. Running sucks. Running will take over your life. Thinking about running will be all you do some days… but my god is it worth it.
I never thought I’d keep up running after that first run because it was so hard, but looking back now and thinking about how far I’ve come, I’m so glad that I found running. It might’ve been something I needed to keep me sane in the weirdest of times, but it’s welcome to stay for all times.
If you’ve ever said anything nice, encouraging or positive to me about my running, I am so so grateful. This has been a wild ride and I’ve still got so far to go… but I’ve come so far in a year and I’m so glad I’m still running!
Links to other running posts: