I went for my first run in April 2010. It was 7km home from church on a Sunday morning with the husband in tow (probably vice versa) and an Oyster card in my pocket just in case I needed to hop on the bus before reaching home.
The husband had a month before that signed me up for the Run to the Beat half marathon in September that year. Years before he had gotten me into cycling in Australia, all complete with lycra and clip-in shoes and even a few races, so he knew I would welcome the challenge of a half marathon even though I’m sure he’d heard me say “I cannot run” more than once.
So I ran that 7km home that day. I didn’t need my Oyster card and the rest, as they say, is history.
I quite quickly became capable of running 10km twice a week and closer to the half marathon – 10 + 15km a week. For well over a year I loved just running twice a week and when there were less than 2 rest days in between my runs I’d feel tired so I didn’t push myself too much beyond that. I thought twice a week was ok, that it was better than nothing… but I did wonder at times whether that was the ‘top’ for me, the best I could do…
I just kept running the way my body liked it though – mainly because running for me has always been more for mental benefit (peace and quiet, no moaning children in sight, just me and the road, etc.) than for a goal like loosing weight or achieving crazy PBs at races.
Just today (after I ran 15km in 1:18:08 when my 15km race PB is 1:20) it occurred to me that without conciously setting out to do so – my running has really taken off last year. It looks like the first year was just a warm up and only since last spring my monthly average pace started finally increasing, going from 5:50s and 5:40s into 5:20s
Needless to say I’m really chuffed. For a good year or more I didn’t see many improvements so I thought I’d forever be a twice a week 10km kind of a runner. But I really love it that I didn’t rush it either, that I just let my body guide me and now having almost ‘by surprise’ arrived at a point where I run 40-50km a week without feeling tired and doing a long run every week that’s longer than 20km – it’s awesome.
There are still some areas in my fitness where I feel ‘stuck’ at the moment – CrossFit is really good at showing me what truly fit people can achieve! However, I have chosen not to count the number of push ups I can do every week or to weigh myself or measure my biceps every week – I think I just have to keep doing it because of the enjoyment that it gives me and I’m sure one day I’ll wake up and crank out 20 push ups without blinking.
Slow and steady. Enjoy the ride. It’s not about the destination but the journey. – all of these sayings are so so true when it comes to how I like things in my life.
I am truly just enjoying the ride. And I know that one day I will be at the next level thinking “Wow, I had so much fun along the way I didn’t even notice it was hard work getting here!”