This isn’t me – this is a terrifying clown I ended up running behind on a Hallowe’en run in Richmond Park. True running dedication. #someregrets
Prior to last April I’d dabbled in running. Breathless 30 minute yomps designed to burn fat and not much else. Often joyless – apart from the smug factor – and without much purpose, they consisted of running along the river Cam from my mum’s house, out to a field of ponies (the high point) and back. They were a chore. A bore. A punishment.
Last April, stuck in traffic on a sunny evening, I experienced something I never had before. I was abducted by aliens. Probably. That could be the only explanation for how I felt. I felt the urge to run. For pleasure. I wanted to get out of my sweaty car, and feel a breeze on my neck. I wanted to follow the river (this time the Nene) and the railway into the woods by my house, and I wanted to do it fast. Ish.
I parked up, put on my trainers and flew along the path. For a bit. Then it was more like a crawl. With bugs sticking to my face sweat (nice). And perhaps it was the extra protein involved in eating insects, but I enjoyed it. I really did.
I did it again, and again. And then I got curious – just how far was I going? It felt like miles. (It wasn’t.) I downloaded a free app (Runtastic) to measure my progress. One night, I decided to see if I could v-e-r-y s-l-o-w-l-y run 5k without stopping, and it turned out I COULD. I was jubilant.
I signed up for a 5k Race for Life in July, and I got around without stopping, despite it being hot and crowded. See? There’s forehead sweat and everything.
Then I signed up with a running club – the Sweatshop club in Peterborough – where I found people I could talk to about running without their eyes glazing over. I started doing a weekly 5k with them on Monday nights.
What you need to understand is that if you’d told me any of this a year before, I would have laughed in your face. Me? A running club? But I hate sports. And people. And especially running. But there you go. I was finally in a team, aged 28.
My next race was a Hallowe’en 5k run (pictured above) in Richmond Park. It was all a wee bit stressful (eye bulge) because of the fog, and the navigating (I drove up from Hove with my mum in tow). Oh and there were gentle slopes, which to a fen girl might as well be Mount Kilamanjaro. And it was freezing! But I did it, and got a pumpkin medal for my troubles.
The next diary date was a Santa Dash 5k in Ferry Meadows (the same place as the Race for Life) where I got this snazzy (sweaty) suit.
What did I learn? Running in a beard is tricky. I found a new respect for my boyfriend, who has no choice.
So that’s that. Next up, my first 10k, which will be at the Milton Keynes Festival of Running on March 6th. I’m lucky enough to be going with two new friends from my running club, so I’ll let you know how it goes.
What made you start running?