I really loved all of the running stories so I thought it would be fun to share a few of them with you, starting with the Puma trainers winner – Rachel. (Rachel please email me firstname.lastname@example.org)
Rachel: I’ve only been running seriously for 10 months now, but it feels like much longer than that. Up until last September, I had phases where I would go out, run for a month or two and then stop. I’ve always been a sporty person, playing badminton and doing countless sports through school, but I’ve found it harder and harder to do these sports after graduating university and keep up my fitness to a level where I can perform in my other sports well.
My mum was an avid runner, and she did many 10k races and a couple of half marathons in her time (including the Great North Run). We did a couple of Race for Life 5k races together when I was around 12/13 years old, and I remember absolutely hating the training! My mum died in 2010 from breast and secondary liver cancer, and finally at the back end of 2014 I got myself into gear, said to myself that I wanted to make a lifestyle change and follow in her footsteps. I signed up to the 2015 Reading Half Marathon, and after five months of training (and a bout of shin splints in between!) I managed to finish in 2:04:09.
For my first half marathon, I ran for the charity that looks after the Cancer Hospital where my mum and grandpa both stayed when they were ill. I’m proud to say that I raised £680 for them, and a race means so much more when you are running for a cause you are so close to. That first half marathon has only ignited my love for running more; I’m now a member of a running club which I go to every week and I’m starting to really improve my pace and stamina. Running gives me a sense of freedom that I can’t get from any other sport, and it pushes me more than I’ve ever pushed myself before.
Lizzy: When I was younger I was never particularly sporty – I’m not competitive and was always hideously self-conscious. At one point I hired a personal trainer and did start to run in 30 min bursts three times a week, but it was only ever with a view to losing weight. It was so, so boring, and I hated every knee-slamming, blister-bursting minute!
This April, however, after driving home through awful traffic on a beautiful sunny day, I felt something new. An urge to get outside. But more than that – to run. Not for my figure or for anyone else, but simply because I could. I paced myself (something I’d never really done before) and was delighted to see how far my little legs could carry me. It was a revelation – running wasn’t about losing weight, punishing myself or even, really, about getting fit. It was about pleasure, and seeing how capable and strong I really was. Since then I’ve built up to 5k twice a week (still slow and steady, but it never did the tortoise any harm, right?) and even – I can’t believe I am saying this – joined a running club last night. Everyone was really welcoming, and even though I was right near the back, I was just pleased that I didn’t need to stop at all en route.
I’ve always been a bit of a workaholic, obsessed with promotions and goals and praise. It’s such a relief – and a joy – to discover a world where I can set my own goals, however small, and continue to meet them and surprise myself. There aren’t many other activities that could boast that in just 40 minutes, a couple of times a week.
I’m delighted to have found your blog, and to see all of the races, events and challenges which (hopefully) now await me.
Laura: This is super-long, because my running journey has been a long one, and I don’t have a blog to post it on, so apologies!
My running story started in 2009. I was recovering from an auto-immune illness and had been doing Pilates and some strength training for some time to aid my recovery. During that time, I found a career path I wanted to follow, and it required a certain level of fitness. All very well, I knew I had it in me to pass the strength tests. But I’d have to be able to run in order to pass the fitness tests.
I never liked running. I was overweight in secondary school, hated PE, and when we had to run around the track I wouldn’t get far before having to stop to walk. My teacher would stop me after the first lap, because I would have held up the whole class if they’d had to wait for me to do another. So I never thought I could run. But I wanted this job, so I went out and bought a pair of trainers, an armband to stick my iPod in, and I started to run. It was every bit as hard and awful as I remembered. But this time I was fitter, and I had a goal that I was determined to reach. I started running in country lanes, which wasn’t ideal but it was the only place close to home. Between the traffic and potholes, I decided it was too dangerous and invested in a treadmill.
It was when I got the treadmill set up in the shed, beside the Pilates reformer, that I fell in love with running. The alone time was great and I built up my endurance and ability whilst blasting the Glee soundtracks really loudly. Good thing we didn’t have neighbours!
Sadly, the new career didn’t pan out. My health got in the way and so I kept bumbling along in the part-time job I’d been doing, but I kept running. Then in 2010 disaster struck when I found myself with hip and sciatic pain. I couldn’t walk, let alone run. I had problems with that for a very long time, and despite numerous trips to several different GPs, none of them came up with a cause or solution, or even an MRI to try and help. Thank goodness for my osteopath! She got me moving again, but I was too afraid to run without knowing the cause of the problem. I had a few attempts over the next couple of years but encountered pain every time and eventually decided to sell my treadmill.
In 2014, having seen my boyfriend train for the Wales Marathon, I decided it was time to start running again. Dr Google came to my aid and helped me to find out that it was piriformis syndrome causing my pain. So, armed with this knowledge and a lot of helpful stretches, I started running again. By now I was living in a more built-up area, so I had roads and parks I could run in. Wow, running outdoors is more difficult than I ever remembered it being on the treadmill! And the number of flies I swallowed whilst gasping for breath…
Let’s just say I wasn’t enjoying my return to running. It was so hard, and I felt as though I was getting nowhere. It seemed like every week I had a new injury, and I could not get as far as a mile. Eventually, I gave up. I was in constant pain (probably due to awful trainers, which I’ve now thrown away) and just felt totally disheartened seeing all the other runners fly by looking so happy.
I was so miserable having failed at running. I couldn’t understand why I couldn’t do it, knowing that I’d done it in the past. I let it go, and over the next 9 months or so also let myself go. I didn’t work out much, partly because I let fear of injury get in my way, but also because of an awful defeatist attitude.
Early in 2015 I gave myself a kick in the backside and made myself start training again. Pilates, strength training, exercise bike… And then the little running niggle came back. So I downloaded C25K and dragged my boyfriend out to run along the canal bank with me. He hated it, but I loved it. Somehow I’d found a positive attitude and was determined to succeed. My C25K app failed me on one solo run, and instead of running for 2 minutes I found I’d run through 2 songs on my iPod. Whoop! I actually abandoned the app and just started listening to my body. I joined the beginners group of my local running club and started to go out with them on Monday evenings to train. I smashed my first mile on a not-very-flat run with my boyfriend. A few days later I hit 2.19, and the run after that I got to 3 miles.
My next goal is to do the local Parkrun. It’s a tricky one because it’s not flat, but I’m gonna beat it! I’m going to work on my speed for a little while this summer, and I’ve signed up for a 10k charity run in February, so later in the year I’ll be upping my distance to train for that.
I never, ever thought I’d be a runner. If only my 15-year-old self could see me now…
Ciara: Thank you for sharing your story and I have loved reading everyone else’s inspiration!
I have never been a runner, I did ballet for 15 years and other dance whilst I was growing up and then discovered Zumba and other classes at the Uni gym but running never appealed!
The Christmas before last I decided to run a 10k for the spinal injuries association who help people all over the UK recover and get back to independence after an accident. This was a charity close to my heart as they were a huge help to my own brother following his accident 10 years ago. I roped my boyfriend and my oldest brother into the run with me and we signed up to the Bupa 10K run in March 2014. Bearing in mind I had never run before, when I set out on my first ‘training session’ I ran less than 1km and told my boyfriend I was having an asthma attack and had to stop to which he told me ‘you don’t even have asthma, come on’ which was very fair as I was just being totally weak! I kept my training up, going running 3 times a week building up to 9k in the end and then completed the run in just over an hour which I was so pleased with. Since I signed up to that first run, I have kept running and completed another 10k in Regents Park earlier this year. I have discovered a whole new world of health, food and fitness which I love exploring and finding new recipes, sites and recommendations. Running lets me de stress after a long day at work, explore new places and keeps me happy and healthy, I love it now and I am looking ahead to my 3rd 10k in October which is in Scarborough! I hope to beat my PB and I am looking to the fresh sea air and the promise of fish and chips on the seafront after to push me on! Most of all I think I am lucky to be able to run for these charities who are so deserving of our conations and I am grateful to my friends and family who put up with me always asking for fundraising!
You should also check out these great blogger’s sharing their running stories;
Elle – Keep it Simpelle
Amy – The Scientist Runs
Chris – The Accidental Triathlete
Lesli- Fit and Happy
Emma – Stripes & Snapshots
Have a great weekend!!