Challenging Yourself

Just over a year ago, I decided to start running. I’ve attempted it a few times in the past but have always failed miserably. It’s now January 2014 and I’m still hard at it.

Stubbington 10k 2014

Today, I completed my 4th 10k race – Stubbington 10k – and I managed to achieve a personal best. My first 10k was completed in just over an hour and a year later, I’ve knocked that time down to 53 minutes. I genuinely thought I would never be able to achieve such an improvement. ¬†I mean it’s me and I’m RUNNING!

Hell Down South 2014

Hell Down South 2014

I’m not going to lie; it’s been tough. I hated the first three months. It was winter, it was cold, it was dark and I could only run for a few minutes before my feet hurt / I was out of breath / I was too cold / I was too hot. Getting up to go out and try was a mental battle and the benefits didn’t come instantly.

My bottom was not suddenly able to crack walnuts and my legs didn’t resemble those of a cat walk model.

Luckily, I had a great support network. Admittedly, they probably hated me initially. I can’t imagine I was being very eager, nice or enthusiastic about the whole thing. What I did do, was set myself a goal. In March 2013 I would run the Hastings Half Marathon. Yes, that’s correct. 5 months after starting I was going to run a distance, in front of other people. Not just any people – my home town.

Hastings Half Marathon March 2013

Hastings Half Marathon March 2013

So I trained. I listened to others. I read magazines, books, tweets and absorbed myself with all this running chatter hoping that something would sink in. Clearly, it did because come March 2013 I was at the start line with hundreds of others on the bitterly cold and wet seafront.

What a sense of achievement. Getting your first medal feels AMAZING. Knowing that, actually, you have exactly what it takes and you can achieve things that are difficult.

That was it. I was hooked.

MArwell 10k 2013

Marwell 10k 2013

So here I am, over a year has passed and I’m still doing it but now I’m actually enjoying it. I joined a running club, I get to learn from and run with amazing athletes; I feel really healthy; I’ve lost weight; I have an outlet for hard days and I have an overwhelming sense of satisfaction.

I have managed to do something I thought I would never be able to do.

That feels pretty incredible. What’s more, it has had an impact on the rest of my life and taught me some important things to carry through from running to my work and home life.

  1. You get out what you put in. Work hard and get the rewards for doing so.
  2. It’s okay to be out of your depth. It doesn’t matter if you don’t know, ask, probe, question. Learn as much as you can from those around you who do.
  3. Don’t give up because its difficult. There will always be hard times, difficult decisions and the need to try over and over again. You’ll find out more about your character and you won’t regret trying your hardest. Set some goals and work out how to achieve them.
  4. You are amazing. Stop being so negative and hard on yourself. You’ve got to believe you can do it, all that negative talk will get you nowhere. You’re capable than more than you think you are. Now go and prove it to yourself.
  5. Laugh along the way.¬†Sometimes you’ll mess up so don’t take everything too seriously. Remember that life is supposed to be fun as well as hard work, so enjoy those silly moments and smile.

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