What does running mean to you? Does it mean that you’ll get fit? Does it mean you’ll loose the extra weight you carry? Whatever the reason, its your own PERSONAL journey. I always remind myself on runs that this is my personal goal and achievement. You can be inspired by other runners and inspire people to run. Being inspired by others gives you that push and motivation to put on those trainers.
We’ve all had those days when we cant be bothered, the energy and motivation has gone. One thing I’ve learned through running, listen to your body! It doesn’t matter if you pencil in four runs that week. It can be changed. You can have that well deserved rest day. In fact, a rest day actually adds to your fitness ability by healing the body and providing optimum running potential for future runs.
Now, why do I run? Well I began running in 2014 when my friend asked me to do a ‘Color Me Rad’ run, in Philadelphia. I soon felt the need to increase miles and sign up for more events. I enjoy the adrenaline rush you get as you run past the crowds. The kids with banners and sweets. The tears as you hear a stranger shout your name (Yes, tears!) The sense of immense achievement I get on completing each race. Then when I hit a PB, the tears and excitement all combine into one. Those hours of training both running and at the gym have been worth it. The days when I wanted to curl up in a ball and binge watch Netflix. I say to myself, “I did it!”.
Running for me gives me time to reflect on my personal and professional life.
Personally, life will give us all challenges. Some effect us deeply and some can be easily erased. In 2019 I had a significant challenge and it was hurting me deeply. I found running and the gym a great comfort and release. This meant that I could continue with my life and focus on moving forward. Then in mid 2019 I had the greatest gift arrive into our family, a new baby boy. A nephew who arrived during a dark cloud but turned that cloud into a beautiful rainbow. I ran a PB the day before his arrival and because I knew he was arriving soon, he pushed me mentally through to the very end. One of my greatest running moments would have been an Aberdeen half marathon where my niece was waiting for me at the very end. Now that was magical! (Plus she was dressed as a Disney Princess).
Professionally, being a nurse has physical and emotional challenges. Especially during this time when changes happen daily and the unknown anticipation increases. We have to adapt promptly and over time this can become too much. Running helps me to find my focus again and release the challenges of the previous shift. If I had time to run before a shift I would, but I’d rather sleep. I can’t explain enough how running helps with your mental health. I have one rest day from the gym or running per week. If I’m on night shift, this isn’t always possible because I honestly cant physically find the energy. In between nights I tend to do Pilates or yoga at home. I’m a glass half full girl, so being low in mood doesn’t sit well with me.
In 2017 I flew to the USA, rented a car in New Orleans and spent 10 days driving solo up to Chicago. Each day I ran a 10k in a new place, whilst raising money for a local children’s charity, Charlie House. This year I should have been running Chicago marathon for them, but that isn’t to be until next year. In 2018 I ran a trail run in British Columbia, Canada. The heat was immense but the experience was breathtaking.
I’ve ran numerous 5k, 10k and half marathon events. An ultra? Well maybe one day.
During these uncertain times, I will just continue to run, encourage people to run and support other runners. Running with someone (socially distanced) can benefit both them, and yourself. They feel motivated to run and you have the pace that your body needed. Running isn’t always about speed. Having the ability to find enjoyment and gain enjoyment from others is a valued skill. We need to look after, promote and believe in each other as individuals and as runners. In general, being active is a key to a healthy mind and physical ability.