Anyone who knows me, even a little, knows that I have always hated running.
At school, I dreaded cross country and would do everything in my power to find a way to get out of it. When we would run through the woods where I knew that the teacher’s couldn’t see us I’d stop and walk, blaming my slow time on a dodgy ankle or asthma related issue. I honestly, didn’t like anything less than running. Other sports were great, all of them in fact, but running just wasn’t for me.
So what changed?
Well, earlier this year I had a bit of a scare and had to go into hospital for some tests. As my family has a history of heart conditions, they examined me a lot more closely than they would the average 27 year old. It was a daunting experience and although I kept telling myself that I was too young to have a heart condition, deep down, I was terrified of hearing the results. Why? Because you never know.
LUCKILY, everything turned out fine but it was a big wake up call in terms of my health. While I was lying in that hospital bed, strapped up to an ECG machine, I couldn’t stop thinking about how important it was to have a healthy heart. I thought about my current lifestyle; what I ate, what I drank and how much exercise I did. Granted, I went to the gym three times a week but I avoided cardio like the plague. Granted, I didn’t eat that badly but I knew I could eat better, healthier food. So, as soon as I was discharged, I made the decision to improve my lifestyle, drastically.
Pretty soon, thanks to my good friend Google, I had learnt all about what kind of exercise was good for the heart. You guessed it, my absolute favourite sport in the world – running, even when I was reading the articles I could see myself frantically searching for an exit, a way out, an escape route. I DID NOT WANT TO RUN, ANYTHING BUT RUNNING. However, a few days later, as luck would have it, I met up with a friend and explained my rather defeatist attitude to the running idea. She recommended that I try an app called Couch to 5K – literally translated as “You are a couch potato who cannot run but our app can change all that.” I was skeptical to say the least but willing to give it a try, after all, what other choices did I have besides abandoning my lifestyle change at the first hurdle?
I followed the training down to a tee and I could run 5 km in 35 minutes by the end of it! I was amazed, astounded and shocked. For the first time ever I could run without struggling and most surprisingly of all, I actually enjoyed it.
Of course, when my running fanatic friends (Laura that’s you) heard about this they encouraged me to sign up for a race. I hesitated…and then remembered my promise to myself and signed up to do the Princess Run at the Chateau de Versailles, an 8 km race (5 miles) that was only open to women (or men
dressed as women as I discovered on the day). I ran the race last weekend and even managed to shave 2 minutes off my best time, running 8 km in 56 minutes and 30 seconds. I was over the moon and the emotion I felt crossing the finish line was a totally new feeling for me. I actually almost started to cry, from relief maybe, or perhaps just from pure happiness at having accomplished my goal. Getting our medals and hearing “félicitations, félicitations, félicitations” (congratulations) from everyone around us made me beam with pride.
That was it. I knew then and there that I’d got the running bug.
Running has changed my life for the better:
- I’ve lost weight
- Gained confidence
- Become more determined to accomplish my goals
- Become more optimistic
- Become a healthier person mentally and physically
- Found a passion for running that I didn’t know existed
I am now an avid runner and proud!