I never thought I would be a runner.
Until last year, I had never really thought about running for longer than 20 minutes on the treadmill, and even then I was pushing to keep my pace at just above walking.
But I knew it was great for weight-loss and used it as my go-to panic stations exercise of choice (i.e. wow, my size 16 jeans are feeling a little tight…). How do people run so far and so fast, I would wonder? Stopping after a kilometer gasping for breath was common practice for me and even to run 5 km seemed like an achievement for the super fit.
Then last year, three things happened that changed my running experience and, in a way, my life (cue knowing nods).
1) My weight-loss motivation reached an all-time high
2) I found a running partner who was much, much (much) fitter than me
3) I signed up for my first race
OK, so it was only a 5 km fun run. But with my running partner (a close friend who unfortunately has now moved interstate) we would run regularly and we would chat. Well, she would chat and I would puff and pant and struggle to keep going a little bit further than last time. I wanted to do that 5 km without stopping, that’s all. OK so I wanted to do it in under 30 minutes, but to start all I wanted was to keep on running. Just keep running, just keep running…
I am not a natural runner. I know a few people who, on first go, have run 5 km faster than I can even run it now (obviously they have a good starting fitness. Or something.). But I fought for every kilometer. Every second of improvement was hard and took time. Even now I lose my running fitness with alarming speed (1 week without running? Add another minute to the 5 km. Sigh.)
But I did that 5 km. Without stopping. After training pretty damn hard for almost 3 months.
After that I did 12 km. I found myself running over 30 km a week training, had massive blisters and was obsessed with my pace and time. I realised I was one of those people. I was fit! Fitter than I’d ever been. I felt almost competitive (although that wore off when I realised I was nowhere near the SUPER fit people I had seen) and talked about how good the running ‘conditions’ were. I coveted new running shoes and was excited to go for a run to wear my new Lorna Jane running shirt. I’ll admit I started an excel spreadsheet tracking my pace improvements.
I signed up for the mecca of the amateur runner (in Australia): City2Surf 2012. Constant hills (Sydney is not flat, pretty much anywhere), mid-winter, 14 km, thousands of people….an amazing experience I cannot wait to do again.
This year I’ve signed up along with my husband, sister and brother-in-law. I will start training in June (I have a 10 week plan), but have lost a lot of fitness this year so am taking it slow for now.
My current motivation includes City2Surf training, parkrun (see My Resources tab), my new running partner (my sister), Melvin (my pooch) and my current iPod playlist. As well as weight-loss but mainly I want to meet my fitness goals. In April I met my 5 km goal of sub 30 minutes (29 minutes 58 seconds to be exact!) but have had a drop in fitness lately and need to work back up to it.
GOAL 1: 5 km in sub 30 minutes – consistently
GOAL 2: 10 km in 60 minutes
GOAL 3: City2Surf in sub 90 minutes.
BRING. IT. ON.
If you see me collapse, stop my Garmin