Running every day for a year
It was all Theresa May’s fault.
Let me rewind to 18th April 2017, Theresa May announced that she was going to hold a general election and it was going to be in 50 days – 8th June. This was a bolt of lightening to me as I was signed up for my second Olympic distance Triathlon on 4th June. Less than 50 days! OMG! I was not ready, nowhere near ready; mainly because I wasn’t running. I had every excuse ready to not go out and run. It was too cold, too windy, too wet, I was too tired, I was hungover (one topic), I had my period (another topic). You name it and I had an excuse for it.
I made the decision to run every day from then on; no excuses, no expectations. I had to go out whatever the weather, however I felt, making time in the day for at least 2km.
You see the thing is, I don’t like running. It’s hard and it hurts and to be honest I am not very good at it. I am not a natural runner, if there is such a thing. I am not built like a runner, I’ve got fat thighs, big hips and big boobs; not your ideal runner’s physique. I have had various running coaches help improve my running but consistency was always my down fall. I figured that if I was going to get any better at it, I needed to just suck it up and get on with it. I settled into a routine of running every day, mainly early in the morning before work. Bloody minded determination is one of the things I am good at.
The 4th June arrived and I completed the Olympic Triathlon, it was tough. The 10km run was hot and horrible and I certainly didn’t run it all, but I completed it. Day 42.
Day 44 was ironically my 44th birthday so I kept running. I was so close to 50 days by this point so I kept running, even whilst away with my girlfriends in Barcelona, (which by the way is a beautiful city to run around, especially early in the morning).
My next Triathlon was booked for early July, so I kept running. Sometimes it was great, sometimes it was terrible and sometimes it just was. The only thing I had in my head was ‘No excuses, no expectations.’ I just had to run. I ran through the summer holidays, whilst on holiday, back to work in September and on and on.
Day 100 was a mile stone I never thought I’d reach and it was at this point that I started to think about 6 months of running. Me, running every day for 6 months! My Strava post for 6 months was “6km for 6 months. #hangover #killorcure” which sums up my attitude to running completely. I was doing it but still not loving it. Surely by this point the runner’s high should have kicked it, surely that gazelle fluidity should be mine, surely, I should be a better runner than I was?
Gradually the days increased and I reached 200 days, enjoying some great runs with friends. I reached 1000km in December, in the snow. I was still a reluctant runner, procrastinating all day in my running kit before finally getting out and feeling so much better for it.
I ran on Christmas Day, New Year’s Day, Valentine’s Day, Mother’s Day, every day.
My year of running was great, friends joined me and my family at our local Parkrun together and then ate bacon butties and cake. I was so happy, it was great to have so many lovely people around me celebrating my year of dedication to running every day. To be honest though that is all I did, run every day. I didn’t actually get any better at running, my average pace hadn’t really got any faster. I just ran every day.
My PT Andy asked if I was going to keep on running and as I had my first Tri of the season coming up, of course the answer was “Yes”. I was doing a Sprint Distance at Eton Dorney and had a great event, knocking a couple of minutes of my PB from last year. What was even more significant was how the run felt. For the first time ever I felt OK on the run. I was able to settle into a rhythm and maintain a constant pace throughout the whole 5km. This was a massive break through for me. I am still no Gwen Jorgenson but I was happy and felt proud that my effort was finally paying off.
Day 400, at the end of May, came and went without me noticing to be honest. I only checked because Andy asked when it was. That in its self says a lot. I had the Windsor Olympic Distance Triathlon looming in my sights and I was worried. My hubby had done it last year and he told me the run was hilly. I hate hills, running or riding them, I hate them. I also had a bit of a niggle in my hip which I couldn’t shake.
Up to this point I have been relatively injury free, despite the doom-laden warnings I was given by most runners who I told that I ran every day. I have also been major illness free as well. It has helped my IBS and I’ve avoid most of the coughs and colds through the year, which as a singing teacher is really important, but this niggle in my hip was bugging me.
I went to see my amazing sports masseur Hannah, who has the most incredible, strong hands. However, it wasn’t the massage that made the difference that day. She looked me straight in the eye and told me I needed to rest before Windsor. She also saw the look in my face which said, “If I stop then it’ll all disappear, all my hard work will vanish, and I will be the 17 stone miserable person I was”. She saw that look and told me it wouldn’t, that I could still run, that a rest day wouldn’t make me gain all the weight back and that it would be OK.
Sometimes we need to listen to other people and accept their help, and by doing that we can become stronger for it. Friday 14th June 2018 was the first day in 418 days that I rested. Do you know what? I didn’t gain back all the weight I lost, I didn’t lose all my fitness. In fact, I went onto smash 15 minutes off my Olympic distance Triathlon. I was so amazed at the time as I crossed the finish line I burst into tears and hugged everyone.
So now I run when I want to, when I feel like it, when Jo says we’re going out at 6am and I am enjoying each run more for it. I am still not much better at it; some days are still rubbish and it’s like I’ve never run before; but I do with pleasure.
Training smarter not harder is my new motto. I am going to need it as Sam and I have signed up to do a half marathon in October. (and no Jo isn’t joining in from Jo).