Me and: Running

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I discovered running fairly late. I was one of those girls who hated PE and found any excuse I possibly could to avoid it. I remember being asked to run a mile around a park near our school and laughing at such a ridiculous notion. But, what is interesting (and worrying to me now that I have a daughter) is that much of my dislike of gym was a fear of looking uncool, of getting hot and red faced, of making a fool of myself. It wasn’t about the exercise, it was about self esteem; or lack of it.

Of course, as an adult I realised that being reasonably fit goes hand in hand with being healthy. I was less self conscious! I started to go to the gym on and off, but never with any real dedication.

Then, when I was 31, a friend and I decided to run the Race for Life. So, we embarked on what would now be termed a couch to five :) We started with the run for three, walk for three, run for three etc. etc. thing and we would be red faced and puffing! But, we were pleasantly surprised to find that after a couple of weeks three minutes had become 10 then 20; and even better, we could run and chat!

It was a revelation. Not only did it make me feel good, I really enjoyed it. I found my pace, a comfortable 7min/km; which I could easily maintain; and we ran our first 5k in 35 minutes. Feeling good, I signed up to do a 10k five months later and started training for that. I focused on running further rather than faster, and soon my training runs were 7 or 8k, still at my usual pace. I was all set to run my 10k in 70 minutes (although I hoped to get slightly under on the day). Then I fell pregnant!

I ran that race when I was six weeks pregnant in 71 minutes :)

Since then I have run on and off, running the 5k Race for Life several times and running as part of a relay team in the Edinburgh marathon three years ago.

However, since I moved to the US I haven’t really run at all. In fact, I think I can count on one hand (possibly two..!) the number of times I’ve been running. I do however walk everywhere, often five or six miles a day.

But, I really wanted to start running again, so when my oldest son’s school organised a 5k to raise funds for the new playground, I signed up; figuring it might give me the incentive I needed. Then for the two weeks before the race I was sick; in a not eating, no energy, not even able to walk, kind of a way! I was determined to do it though, and was hoping that all that walking and my reasonable base level of fitness would be enough.

Thankfully, it was and not only did I manage to run, rather than walk (other than the two minute walk to stretch out the muscles in my thighs at about the 4k mark!) I ran a personal best!

Running is a fabulous way to keep fit; it’s free, it’s easy, you can do it anywhere. All you need is a decent pair of trainers and some comfortable running clothes. For me, it is time completely to myself, focused only on myself. I can’t do anything other than run. I let off steam, clear my head, think things through, come up with ideas or simply listen to music and think about nothing at all.

I also hope that by seeing their mother active; running and walking, keeping fit; that I am setting a good example to my children, especially my daughter: I don’t want her to be one of those girls that hates gym for all the wrong reasons.

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50 thoughts on “Me and: Running”

  1. I used to always exercise – and loved it – but have been rather lapse for a while. Last week did a couple of those run for 3 and walk for 3. I’m determined to start running again and this helps motivate me more :)

    1. It’s been so hard to get motivated over this horrible winter! I’m hoping spring brings a new lease of life :)

    1. I sometimes find it difficult to get started too, but once I’m out I’m so glad I made the effort x

  2. I love this post Sara! So true for so many. I have tons of friends that say they don’t want to be red faced and sweating looking in public so don’t run. I used to do track and field in school growing up but then in my twenties I hated running. Any part of it. Just for the fact it was boring and I was a busy busy social light. But last year after the birth of mm I got obsessed with it. I have done a few 5k and 10k now and love it. I prefer running with people helps with my pace and to keep me going. Great motivation. I just did 4 miles tonight but am struggling with my knee and I am so worry this might put a stop to my running routine and my 10k in two weeks. I hope it’s nothing because like you said I want my kids to see mommy working out and being healthy that it’s great it’s fun and noting embarrassing about it. Fab post.

    1. It’s such a great way to exercise and get some head space isn’t it? Hope your knee problem doesn’t get worse :(

  3. Good for you! My daughter is one who doesn’t exercise because she is worried about people looking at her :-( Hopefully she will have a change of heart when older like you.

    1. I’m sure she will, I certainly became much less self conscious once I hit my late twenties; it did take a while, but I got there :)

  4. Hellie's Corner

    Walking is my main exercise, I love being outdoors, enjoying the countryside and walking the dog at the same time.I run on my running machine occasionally but don’t seem able to run out side.

  5. I started running about 5 years ago and your story could have been mine! I hated PE at school and never, ever thought that I would make a runner but after signing up to a 10k I had no choice! Surprisingly I loved it and ran my first 10K in 56 minutes. Sadly I never ran another one because I managed to do something horrible to my knees which have never been the same since :( I’ve bought new trainers and tried again but it has made no difference. It’s a great way to keep fit and I loved it for all the same reasons as you. Well done for keeping at it :)

  6. I was pretty much the same at school… hated PE and only really discovered my love for running a couple of years ago, I’ve done a few Race for Life’s now but this year I haven’t been running at all! I really need to start up again as it really makes me feel so much better x

  7. I’m very similar to you. I’ve run off and on for a few years since having my daughter and enjoyed it. Well done, it does feel good doesn’t it? I hope you’re very pleased. Although I have to say, since my daughter discovered cycling, that’s become my activity of choice-I do love being on a bicycle :)

    1. I don’t do much (any!) cycling, but now that the boys can both cycle I suspect that we may start doing a bit more :)

  8. I am an on/off runner, or have been for a few years – and like you ran my first 10k in 2007, also six weeks pregnant (although I didn’t know but suspected) in 72 minutes! Done a few races since then but nothing regular.
    I have been up and running again since Christmas, and recently joined the UK based Facebook Group Run Mummy Run – what an inspirational group of ladies – now spread across the UK, they are all amazing.
    As a result of that inspiration I began April on a 30 days of 5km a day streak for myself. After 9 days that has now morphed into 100x5k-a-day, and I am running for charity, Cancer ResearchUK, as well as to get fit for a school expedition to Peru that I am leading this summer – I’ll be running right up to flight day!

    Running is great – and I am a better mum in so many ways for doing it! Thankyou for your encouraging post!

    1. Wow! I’m so incredibly impressed; I don’t think I’d have the stamina, much less the time and commitment to run 5k every day – that is amazing! Good luck :)

  9. I went through the same process of coming to running – starting with a friend and building up times etc. I’m not sure if I ever really enjoyed it though… I have this theory that some people are built to be runners – although I know from one of your previous comments that you probably need a pretty good running bra too like me :-) My husband is obsessed with running and is really pretty fast. I haven’t done any since having JJ over four years ago. I can’t do any regular exercise as the husband works shifts and is mostly on late shifts so I have to be home most nights. I was always more of a cyclist and I got a new bike last summer but again, I haven’t had a chance to use it more than once since! I hope I will get the chance to be more active soon.

    1. I do indeed have a very good sports bra ;) It is difficult fitting it into my day too, I’m lucky that our Y has a crèche, so I have that option, but I do prefer to get outside which is much harder to fit in x

  10. I think this really shows the benefits of even just walking, since you managed the run after such a long break. I must admit I’m more of a competitive type, I love tennis and football, and anything that distracts me from the fact that it is exercise. However, old age seems to be bringing it share of injuries, but I must not make excuses! #sharewithme

    1. I’ve never been sporty (or coordinated) enough for team sports! But, you’re right, even just walking to keep active really ups your general fitness level x

    1. Walking is fab, I would walk everywhere if I could. I do love running though, even with the hot and sweaty :)

  11. I could really relate to this post. I’ve just started a walking in a morning after dropping the kids off at school. I walk briskly for 1.75 miles with friends and have been feeling really good. With the kids being off school for the next couple of weeks I’ve been missing it, especially considering I’d started running occasionally. We have a treadmill in the garage and I think I may have to hop on that and go for a run! #AllAboutYou

    1. I love walking, and do a lot of it, it’s great for keeping your fitness level up. I’ve found running the easiest and quickest way to up my fitness, lose weight, tone up and feel better :)

  12. I am so tempted by this!
    I was the same in PE, have recently discovered zumba, but as a working mum am tempted by the flexibility running offers.
    Good luck with the renewal of your active life!

  13. I am such a lazy bum :-). We go for a walk at the weekend, if the weather is good and take Emma shopping with me but that’s pretty much it. Hopefully I will be able to do more once in Greece this summer, no weather excuses there :-). Well done for trying to keep healthy in this way too! #PoCoLo

    1. Thanks, I do feel a lot better for it. Walking is great too though, just getting out and about helps me enormously x

    1. I definitely go through phases where I do none! But, I’m always glad when I start again; it helps to sign up for a race, that keeps me motivated :)

  14. I’ve never run in public, but I used to enjoy power walking. I’ve been unable to do that for a while, trying to introduce gentle exercise back to my body now. Good on you getting back to it xx

  15. Pingback: Me and: Running

  16. I have to be honest, I don’t really like running. I am more of a walker – although I have just signed up to the 5k race for life!! So I need to get used to it now. Hope you get your running back soon. Thank you for linking to PoCoLo :) x

  17. This post triggered me to tears actually, weird how you keep things locked away. I loved exercise, and I especially loved gymnastics at school, and wasn’t bad at it. My sisters and I did it together. It was only when I saw a picture of us both in our leotards that I was horrified at the sight of (what I now realize was adolescent) puppy fat, especially next to my lithe sis. I spiralled quickly into an eating disorder, and it took years for me to battle that, although I still went to the gym, just bundled in layers of baggy clothing. Now I love doing yoga, have been for 15 years, and I take pleasure in how my body feels moving around and stretching. Best of all, I share it with my 5yo. Sorry for the long and rather honest comment, but great post, and thanks for linking to #AllAboutYou. Any exercise that is free has to be good!

    1. Oh, I’m so sorry Zaz; I’m sad that it made you sad, but I’m also glad that (in it’s own small way) it highlighted a really important issue x

  18. I’m about to embark on the ‘Couch to 5k’ with a colleague and am really looking forward to it :) Even better that, as you point out, it will put across a positive message to our little bear…

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