What’s that, Ms Estafan? The rhythm is gonna get me? Well, if you mean the running rhythm, IT ALREADY HAS! It’s been a little while since my last blog post – mainly because there’s been so much going on that I haven’t had much time to sit down and write, partly because my last post was a touch tl;dr, but also because I’ve been thinking over stuff that I wanted to post about. Apologies in advance if I go a bit tl;dr all over again.
Running has it’s ups and downs, doesn’t it. That’s the main thing I’ve been thinking about. Most things in life have ups and downs but not all of them will keep you coming back for more. In the short time I’ve been running (three whole months now….) I’ve already experienced the setback of a – thankfully minor – injury. It felt rubbish at the time but I got over it and was straight back into running in no time at all. Down and then back up. I’ve also had a couple of crappy runs – runs where my body just did not want to do what I wanted it to do. Runs that I really struggled to complete in the way I wanted to. Runs where I got home feeling deflated and doubtful. After each of those runs, my lovely Facebook running group provided me with the support and advice that I needed – everyone has bad runs, they happen to us all regardless of experience, fitness, level etc., and you always come back from them. They were right. I picked myself up and took myself out for my next run and it went exactly as planned and hoped for. Ups and downs and ups. I’m learning things from running all of the time and this experience of having setbacks but always coming back from them is a new one. I’ve had sports related injuries in the past, as well as training sessions that drained any joy and positivity from me and they were extremely difficult to bounce back from. Analysing it now, I think that’s because there was so much outside pressure from other people. Team mates, ‘coaches’, worrying about how your place on the team will be affected, how attitudes will change towards you, and all the politics that go along with team sports. Even remembering how it used to make me feel is making me shudder and grimace.
This is where I have found running to be completely different. I am in charge of my progress. There is no ‘coach’ or team mate telling me that I’m not good enough or that I can’t do it. I know that I am and I can, and I have dominion over achieving it. It’s been an enlightening realisation. Recovering from an injury or moving forwards from a bad run is solely in my hands. My Facebook running group is an invaluable asset here. There is nothing but positivity and encouragement and support coming from it. The advice that I’m given is always constructive and when I follow it, good things happen! I’m now actually really doing what I thought I could never do and I’m loving it, even when it doesn’t go to plan. Downs and ups and UPS!
So this brings me on to my new plans. I have decided that in addition to taking part in virtual runs in my own time, I’m going to take part in real organised races. GULP! A wonderful friend of mine works with Birmingham and Solihull Women’s Aid and together we will be taking part in the Birmingham Half Marathon to raise funds for this awesome organisation. It’s happening on 15th October and I’m all signed up and registered and everything. LOOK!
Sarah (my wonderful friend) has set up a super cool fund raising page and linked my blog to it so that anyone who might be interested can read about my progress from couch potato to half marathon runner. If I can do it, so can you! I’ve also got a few other plans in the pipeline to help with my training for this. Firstly, entering some official 10k runs so that I have experience in taking part in organised race events prior to the half marathon. There’s one I’m definitely going to do, which is set in the grounds of an RAF museum. The race course takes in the hangars, the airstrip, and the museum itself with all of its iconic aircraft. You even get a Spitfire themed medal. So that’s top of the list, while I look for other 10k races to add to it. Secondly, I am going to get in touch with a local running group to see if I can do some training with them. An actual real life running group with people that I would run alongside! That’s a big deal for me, believe me. It will be a good way to become used to running with other people and it’s a chance to pick up some knowledge and tips from people who have been where I am and can give me the benefit of their experience. I’m finding both of these things really scary, by the way! Again, that’s something else that running is teaching me – that I can do the Scary Things. I can go out of my comfort zone and still be okay.
So, to summarise my progress so far and what I’ve learned, I would say:
- You are the master of your progress. You control it and you are responsible for it. No one can tell you that you can’t do it and if they try, you can go out there and prove them wrong. There are no politics or social dynamics to stress over with running – just you and what’s inside your head.
- After a Down, there is always an Up. Setbacks happen but you can bounce back from them. And yes, it really is true – everyone has bad runs now and then. It’s not a reflection on you or your ability or your potential.
- You can do the Scary Things! You’ll reach a point where in order to progress, you have to push yourself outside of what is comfortable to you. Whether that is taking part in organised runs, joining a running group filled with lots of strangers, or trying a new training route that might challenge you – you can do it. You CAN do it.
There’s lots coming up on the horizon now, so brace yourselves: there may be a few tl;dr posts to go with them. 😉 Happy running! x