So then – running! Most people think because I am a qualified fitness instructor and personal trainer that I must have no problems with running. Well, most people are wrong! This used to be a fact that I was deeply ashamed of, as if it was proof that I was not fit enough or that people would think I was a fake. Now however, in line with my fear series and exploration of my self I realise this is not the case at all. In fact, lately I’ve come to realise that my ongoing struggle with running is very much a mental struggle and not actually a fitness one at all.

Firstly I must admit cardio in a gym environment is my least favourite activity – if I must do it I will usually go for a swim or knock out 10- 20k on the bike as quickly as possible before I get onto the good stuff – resistance training!  I find I like my cardio to be less forced and more natural – playing sports or dancing for example. Anyway the point is I avoid it like the plague.

I can sit here and give you every excuse in the book – I didn’t have the right gear, my pace was too fast, my music was all wrong, an old injury was playing up and niggles were setting in in new and previously un-injured joints. These are arguments I spent a long time convincing myself over until I realised I had a fear of failing. I am so competitive (with myself mainly) and I hate not being good at something. Running is one of those things. So after a bit of soul searching this summer I decided to cross off the many excuses one by one. I got myself a pair of Skechers Go Run 2’s (now my all time favourite EVER trainers), I went to my amazingly talented therapist, Rosaleen for some rehab treatment and maintenance work on my sciatica, I downloaded classical music to my iPhone and enrolled myself on a 2 day Running Workshop. Excuses gone and technique corrected I still lacked the motivation so I did what I do best – applied some pressure and signed up to the Irish Cancer Society’s 5k Colour Dash in the Phoenix park 6 days before the event!

This allowed for 3 sessions of preparation in the gym and so I started to apply my learning and brought my speed and thus my pace right down. You see, I am a sprinter at heart and will run hell for leather for the first kilometre or two and then need to be dragged over the line puffing and panting having worn myself out! Session 1 went well (all things considered) and I got 2k running 1K walking and a final kilometre back running again – my pace was still too fast as I was tiring too quickly. During session 2 everything started to fall into place and I managed 3k running, 1k walking and the final and 5th kilometer back running. Session 3 was a disaster! My legs were heavy and my mind was on work. I was clock watching and kilometre watching and after 3.5 kilometers of uneven pace I decided to call it a day and focus on my conditioning training.

So after a rest day I rocked up to the Phoenix Park, a liitle anxious to say the least. Himself, ever the voice of reason kept telling me it was a fun run and not to worry how long it took me.  For me when I’m running its all about putting one foot on front of the other and focusing on little else. When I let my mind wander I calculate times, distances, I start thinking about a loo break, I think about injury and basically I cause myself all ends of unnecessary negativity which creates barriers. For me the challenge at the start line was to enjoy the run and stop over thinking it and just get out there and finish it.

Colour dash 2014 Phoenix Park

The atmosphere was great but I was a woman on a mission! I took off, at what I believed was a nice steady pace but after 2k when I checked my time I realised I was going way too fast!! I eased back a bit and just enjoyed my surroundings and kept going with a simple goal of getting to the next paint station (they were placed at the end of each kilometre). I took it step by step and kilometre by kilometre. As I came towards the final stretch I felt tired and short of breath but focused on the final station up ahead. I was so chuffed with myself when I crossed the line and even more so when I realised I had hit my best time of the week – 31 minutes. After a quick drink of water I didn’t even feel so tired, I just felt really exhilarated! Thats why I run  – that sense of achievement when you cross the finish line. Although I look quite grumpy in this picture I was really chuffed with myself!

Colour Dash irish Cancer Society 2014

 

I know I’m not the fastest and I know I’m not an endurance queen (yet!) I have no desire at all to complete a marathon, my current ambition is a half marathon. The point is we all have to start somewhere and I thought or should I  say hope that by sharing my truth on running with you all it may help encourage one more person to just try it and get over their fear. I’m paying it forward…