How do you get into running when you just can’t run?

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So… For my first ever blog, where on earth do I begin? It’s been one hell of a year and has culminated (somehow!) in my becoming vice-captain of what has to be the best running club in the country!

 I spent the first 31 years of my life thinking that running was something that was done only by masochists and lunatics! Whenever anyone suggested to me that running could be ‘fun’ I would actually laugh out loud! I was ‘that’ person who regularly said things such as “I’m just not built for running”. I worked with people who regularly explained the benefits of running to me but I wouldn’t be swayed.

 That all changed just under 14 months ago on New Year’s Eve. After one too many glasses of prosecco one of my friends announced that entries for the Leighton 10k were open and we should all do it. Through my tipsy haze I gamely agreed to give it a go, despite never having run further than about half a mile in one go in my whole life. We booked our places that night and the die was cast!

The weather the following day on New Year’s morning was beautiful – cold but sunny. I stood in my kitchen looking out onto the running track in front and watched scores of runners trotting round. Determined not to be a New Year’s cliché I left it for two more days before I pulled on my running shoes (unworn at that point for about 7 years) and ventured outside. To say my first training session didn’t go well is a bit of an understatement! After about half a lap of the track my legs hurt and I was already starting to run out of steam. When I returned home after having staggered around for about 20 minutes my husband took one look at my face and clearly decided it was best not to ask how it had gone!

I downloaded a 10k training app and stuck to it pretty religiously but there were still many times over the first month of training when I wanted to give up. Running over 6 miles seemed like a pretty impossible pipedream but I’m also a pretty stubborn sort of person so I doggedly kept going. I’d signed up for a race and was determined to complete it. However, at this stage my main aim was just not to collapse in a big heap half way through the race and have to be stretchered off in an ambulance!

As the weeks went by I slowly increased the distance I was running and actually started to enjoy it! After my previous protestations of just not being able to run my colleagues were rather curious as to my progress and I rather sheepishly had to concede that this running malarkey wasn’t quite as bad as I’d previously thought it was!

Race day arrived rather too quickly and I was a bag of nerves. I arrived over an hour before the race was due to start and was greeted by large groups of very serious looking running people wearing various club tops and generally having a jolly time! I collected my number and spent at least 10 minutes carefully pinning it to my top before making my way down to the start line.

As soon as the race began I immediately felt better. I was careful not to set off too quickly and soon settled into a nice pace with a few other runners around me. As I ran past the water station at the 5k mark I was wondering why I’d always been so daunted at the thought of running. That was before I turned off Heath Road and saw Shenley Hill stretching out in front of me! I remember wondering how I could have lived in the town for so long and not noticed there was a huge mountain right in the middle of it! Staggering up the hill was worth it though just to be able to run down the other side to the realisation that the end was really very much in sight.

When I crossed the finish line in 1 hour and 40 seconds (a good 5 minutes faster than I thought I’d manage) I was on a massive high and well and truly hooked. I found it really quite difficult to believe that less than 3 months beforehand the only running I’d ever really done was sprinting through Euston after work to catch the train! At that moment, running was, to me, the most fantastically awesome thing I’d ever done.

I joined LFR less than a week later. When I went to my first club night I couldn’t believe how many people had come out on a cold, dark, wet night to go for a run. When I finished an hour later, I got it. I just found it so fantastic to be able to do something I loved with so many other people who wanted to do the same thing.

Of course, it hasn’t all been plain sailing. There are times when my fitness takes a bit of a dip or I go for a run and it just doesn’t go very well. After the Leighton 10k I signed up for another 10k and was determined to improve my time. Unfortunately, I had a bit of a temperature the week before and didn’t feel too good the morning of the race. When I finally finished I felt ill and extremely grumpy! I’ve also had the odd running injury since I started out although in all honesty I don’t mind those so much – I like to think I only get them because I’m a proper, serious runner!! However, these downs are few and far between and are massively outweighed by how great running makes me feel every day.

Since then LFR has become a very significant part of my life. I love how social the club is, how friendly everyone is, and how it can be a club for absolutely anyone, regardless of ability. It has also been fantastic for me to have people to push me along, suggest races and events to me, and just generally to have a club to run and socialise with. LFR has given me and done so much over the last year so when the position of vice-captain became vacant I just felt it was just a bit of a no-brainer for me to stand. I’m really looking forward to the fun and challenges ahead and really hope I can just give a little something back to the club and all the fantastic people in it who have done so much for me.

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