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Yesterday, I ran 6.25 miles!

A very brief back story, as I'm aware this has nothing to do with!

About 15 years ago, I tried to run. I could see how much people LOVE running, and all I wanted was to get that same enjoyment, and feel the mythical runner's high. I ran for maybe 18 months in total.  And I hated it.  Nah, really, I mean, I fucking hated every step. Passionately. I joined a running club, full of supportive, encouraging, inspiring people. I ran alone and I ran drills with a couple of super ex-army guys, who took me under their wing.  Running never felt nice. Never felt easy. I remember in the middle of one drill session, I spat "No, I don't want to" and started walking back to the car.  My pal called "You CAN do it Jo", and I roared "I didn't say I can't, I said I don't fucking want to!". And that kind of sums up my experience, last time round. 

I'd failed in my only mission - not only was I still not enjoying it, every single run still felt like swimming though glue.  "When does it get easier?" I asked one of my running pals. "It never gets easier, cos you just keep getting better". Sounded pretty fucking miserable to me.

Eventually, I committed to running a 10k race in Inverness. I think this was 2012, and I'd been attempting to run since early 2011.

I had made my decision. If I managed to run it all, without walking, I promised myself I would never have to run again.  

And I didn't run another step. 

Until 12 weeks ago! 

As with so many things in like, things came together in a perfect storm. 

I am SO fit and love cardio workouts SO much, that the thought of running had infiltrated the back of my mind again. I kept thinking of the words one of my maker pals said to me, when I was asking about his running, and he was asking about my long distance hiking.  I said "yeah, but walking is effortless" and he grinned and said "yeah, but running is faster", and I think that sowed a seed...

In February, my pal launched a JogScotland group for genuine beginners. I've been to beginner running clubs before, and they'd say stupid shit like "we'll warm up with an easy 5k, and then we'll start running", and it's just like, fuck off, that is not easy or beginner! But Sarah has created an awesome group, a mix of walkers, baby joggers, and even 'proper' runners who are a great support to the rest of us!

And around the same time, I tried Parkrun for the first time, and whilst I did NOT enjoy that first 3.1 mile attempt at running, I really loved the Parkrun format.

Back in March I joined Sarah and her pal, Kelly, for a 5k race in Inverness. I'd only been trying to run for a few weeks at this point. I was getting out there, but getting frustrated with how short a distance I could manage, before having to walk for a bit. Every time I tried, I felt like I'd failed, cos I wasn't even reaching half a mile before gasping for air and having to walk. On this race in Inverness, Kelly ever so selflessly paced Sarah and I. It wasn't planned, I'd expected Kelly to run a fast race, Sarah to be up ahead, but probably still in sight, and I'd planned to jog as much as I could and walk when I had to.  Nah, Nah. We plodded round together, and Kelly, who I'd only met that day, said magic words to me. "Slow down Jo". "Jo, slow it down", "You're going too fast again - do you mind me telling you this?" (no, I did not mind, not one bit!), and the real eye opening part was when she said "You don't need to walk, just slow it right down, as slow as you need, but keep running - you already know how to walk, you're here to run". So I joggled my ass round, doing the running motion, feeling like a twat, knowing that I could genuinely have walked it slightly faster. But I didn't walk, I ran. Technically hahaha

But I like me a goal.

So I signed up to run the Gordon Castle 10k trail race. Which seemed so pie in the sky. When I signed up, there were still days (still are days!) that I could only just manage half a mile. And I signed up to run 6.2 miles!? 

From the cold night in February, when I first tried to run, until yesterday, was just 12 weeks. 

So from trying to run in my early 30's, and genuinely de-fucking-testing every step I ran, here I am in my mid 40s, and whilst I'm not sure I've enjoyed any of my runs in the moment, I'm loving the process this time.  Planning each run, seeing my stats, seeing glimmers of improvement, whether I feel them or not. 

"Slow down" is often in my head. Not that I could be fast if I tried haha
And whilst I'm yet to experience a runner's high, I KNOW that I COULD enjoy this running thing, this time. I feel I'm very nearly there.

When I crossed the finish line of my last 10k, with tears of angry frustration, all I felt was overwhelming relief that it was over.  I'd done my deal with myself, and would never have to run again. 

Yesterday, I crossed the finish line smiling. Happy. Excited. And I knew for sure that that was the start of something, not the end ♥


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