Friday 13 July 2012

I Am a Runner Because I Run I am a Runner

For, oh, three or four years now, I've had secret dreams of becoming a runner.  I would see girls running by the sea or in the park and think, 'why can't I be like that - all free and easy and like someone in an ad?'  Every now and then I would go so far as to embark on an ACTUAL run, but it never really took.  I'd run three or four minutes and then need to stop to expire on the footpath. A few fainting fits were almost enough to convince me I would never be a runner.

But, about this time last year, something changed.  It may have been the influence of having a housemate who was a runner (the fabulous Bernie - who when she wasn't running at 6am was doing Bikram and seemed to have the energy of five people as a consequence).  I decided I needed to give running a red hot go - and this is what I did.

I downloaded Couch to 5k.  This was recommended by many people and it works, mostly because it's based on common sense and building up gradually.
I bought new, cool running gear that I felt good in.  (Thank you Lululemon.)
When I got past the first few weeks without incident, I found a running partner.  I discovered that the ideal running partner is someone who has just a bit more stamina than you and so will push you to go a leetle bit further when you're ready to give up.  Also one who'll distract you with celebrity gossip to take your mind off the pain.  (Thank you Máire Áine.)

It's taken a full year and a few false starts but I can now (and I can hardly believe I'm typing this) run 5k comfortably. I had a bit of a Rocky moment last Saturday when I ran 7k (I know!) around the Phoenix Park in Dublin, winding up at the monument to the Duke of Wellington.  I took a photo to record the occasion (and yes, I did run up the steps for full Rocky effect) and realised that the plaque I was photographing depicted Waterloo.  Which was appropriate, given that I'd just conquered my own personal Waterloo.

This isn't a blog about running.  I won't be giving you blow by blow accounts of my ever increasing mileage and my split times.  I have no plans to sign up for a marathon or other painful feat of endurance (personally I think if you're going to push your body to its limits and be racked with pain for hours on end you ought to at least get a baby out of it.)

However, I may from time to time discuss the joys of running in a new place.  For I have discovered that running in a city you're visiting is a great way to feel connected to it; to feel, if only for an hour or so, like an inhabitant and not a tourist.  It's also a great cure for jet lag.

Where's that Life List?
47. Become a runner

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