If you had told me about a month ago that I was going to be looking forward to running twice a week, and even wanting to run more often, I would have probably looked at you as if you were crazy, and laughed.
Today, I have to admit the above has happened. I’m just waiting and hoping for the next running club. As soon as I start running, I think “why am I doing this (torture) again to myself?” but the feeling fades quickly as I pass the tress in the park. I’m not fast, and I don’t have much resistance, but I enjoy it. A lot.
I started… How long ago? Four weeks? Three? I really don’t know, I think today was my sixth or seventh time running. I remember the first day, I was feeling shy and nervous, not knowing what it was going on, or whether I would be able to finish the run in one piece. I remember thinking “I’ll carry my Oyster Card, in case I’m too tired to walk back if I can’t finish it.”
We started running, and after possibly 2 metres I had to stop and walk! It goes without saying I didn’t run 5k that time. Or the next one. Or the following one. I always had to take a short cut or two in order to be able to finish at the same time as the others, and I was mainly out of breath and tired.
I do the whole route now, even if I still need to stop and walk from time to time, but I’m managing to hold the first stop for longer each time (except on Monday, that was a really bad day for me!). At first it was some metres, ten, a hundred? Who knows? Then I managed to stretch them a bit longer, then I reached the corner of the park, the one near the Common station. One day I managed to run all the way until the big traffic light, just before getting back into the park. That was my limit for a couple of runs, and then, suddenly, I almost made it to the big tree in the corner. I’ve kept at it, and done better some days, and worse others, but more or less pushing it a bit further. If my legs or my lungs didn’t agree, then it was fine to stop and walk, but it was a big disappointment.
My worst enemy is the music bandstand. I try to run until the big tree in the corner, which I managed today, and then you turn and it’s uphill to the bandstand. I always try to run it without stop it, and I always fail. When I say uphill, I mean something like 0.5 degrees! It’s minimal, but hard on my legs. I try, and try, but I always have to stop at some point or another. On Monday, I more or less managed to wobble to it, and my idea was to stop once I reached it, but then, oh sweet surprise, I re-discovered that after the bandstand you’re running downhill (same amount of degrees!). I keep forgetting about it!
The best moment was when I managed to run around the pond for the first time, and managed to keep on running, that was a huge milestone for me! I think it’s mainly due to finding a running partner, we just follow our rhythm, whichever it is, and encourage each other. It’s great to run with her, as she pushes me to keep running for a bit longer!
We had a run today. There was this event, in which Paula Radcliffe and Carl Lewis were answering some questions, and giving us some tips about running. It was incredible to be able to be in front of these two legends. There were so many people that we set to running in groups. Pace setters were everywhere, not only keeping an eye on us, and taking care of us, running next to us, checking we were doing fine, but also shouting words of encouragement at certain points of the route. Some runners were set for speed, others for an easy run, easy enough for a chat. I set to beat the big tree.
They always start too fast, and if I try to keep their pace, I run out of steam quite soon, so this time I let everyone run in front of me… Hey, if that makes them happy… I reached the big traffic light (it’s actually a normal traffic light, in a main road, but that’s how I identify it!) and I was quite tired by then. Just keep on running, I kept saying in my head, mantra style. When I thought I wasn’t going to make it, one of our regular pace setters came next to me, and we started to chat (that killed me, dude!) and he pushed me. I wanted to stop like twenty metres after the traffic light, and he told me to push it. I replied my deadline was the big tree, and he told me to keep going. Maybe it was the pep talk, maybe it was the feeling of all the other runners around me, it was probably just pride, but I reached the big tree, turned around it, and kept going for a while. And then had to walk.
I failed at reaching the band stand without stopping, but that’s my next goal for Monday.
My goal is running the 5k without stopping, but that seems too big and scary. On Monday, I will manage to reach the band stand only slowing down at the traffic lights and roads, and from there, hey, it’s all downhill anyway.