Am I A Runner

I have started this running blog to find out the answer to the question, am I still a runner? Back in 2012 I started running to lose weight, when I started running I was run/walking a 1 mile circuit, no matter how much I wanted to I couldn’t run the whole route, I had to stop at least once or twice. I ran in the winter darkness to ensure nobody would see me running, I was ashamed of the size I had become; at that time I was a 23 year old and I couldn’t remember the last time I was in shape. I continued running and was slowly improving, running further and faster.

Running In Public

After 3 months I plucked up the courage to go to my first parkrun in Bexley at Danson Park. At 08:45 I arrived at the park and literally hid behind a tree, I didn’t want anyone to see this fat guy ‘TRY TO RUN 5K’. Just as everyone approached the start line I hid myself at the back of the pack, I was so scared. I knew I could run 5k in the cover of darkness, but could I do it in front of all of these people.

Everyone looked super slim and fast, they were wearing shorts and vests on this cold February morning, I thought they must be professionals or crazy. At 09:00 everyone started running and I followed thinking what am I doing here, my breathing was heavy but I was running. From the word go the crowd of people in front of me disappeared, I was aware there were a few people around me however I was sure I was somewhere near the back.

I kept running through the suffering until I finally made it to the finish funnel. I finished wanting to go to the car and disappear but I needed to sit down and recover when something crazy happened, I realized I wasn’t last and not by a long shot. As I sat there recovering, I could see other people finishing and being cheered across the finish funnel by other finishers who had the energy unlike me at the time.

In a sweaty state of shock, I drove home patiently waiting for the parkrun website to refresh. Finally the page flickered to life and my time was up on the website for me to see. I was shocked to discover I finished in a very respectable time of 27:01 and I had finished in 50th position out of 95 runners. It was unbelievable that the exercise I hated so much, I might actually be good at. If I could finish in front of almost half the people while overweight and with very little training, how fast could I get?

Becoming A Runner

I still disliked running, but gradually the more I ran, the more I loved running. I joined Istead & Ifield Harriers a running club local to me at the time, I realized that runners come in all shapes and sizes; the runners in the club didn’t care how fast or slow I was, everyone was so welcoming. Before I knew it I classed myself as a runner and signed up for my first race, a local 5 mile race, I had so much fun it is still one of my favorite races. You can see a list of all the races I have taken part in on my race results page.

 

Running Further and Faster

More races came and went and then the worse news happened, in October 2013 I found out that I was unlucky enough to have gained a place in the London marathon via the ballot. I now had to run further than I ever had before. The training was going well to start with, there were a few injuries along the way but nothing major. After 6 months of mentally and physically challenging training, the 2014 London Marathon was a success for me. I finished in 4:16:49 faster than I ever could have imagined and I was finally slim, having lost weight during my training. However by this stage losing weight was no longer my aim. My aim was to run further and to run faster, I wanted to improve.

 

Downwards Running Graph

 

The Running Stopped

My running reduced as I had started a new job and had I started working shifts, I found myself unable to train regularly. Before I knew It months would go by without any running. Those months turned into years. Now here I am today writing this blog as things need to change. Yet again I gained weight and without my runner identity I felt unfulfilled; leading me to the question am I a runner?

The Future

I have signed up for the 2019 Brighton Marathon, the plan is to use the goal of completing Brighton Marathon to get running again. Using my previous running knowledge I have written myself a running training plan, which is designed to work around my shift pattern. Throughout this blog I will document my running journey.

With your support I will make it to start line and who knows where I will go from there.

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