So since just before Christmas some of you will know that I made a decision to start running. I had run a little before I was pregnant with Trae but I wouldn't have called myself a runner! Like a real one who was running any distance! You know the drill, you try but then you're out of breathe like you're about to have a cardiac arrest within three minutes!!! Well anyways this time I decided it was going to be different so before I started out on the road I knew I needed to do some research..... (and beside research meant it would feel like I'd started but would delay the process of feeling like I was actually dying of due to a lack of oxygen and sweating perfusely!!!!
So here was what I discovered read in my research.....
1) I needed a plan - a real one with achievable goals which gave me baby steps to lead to my ultimate goal.
2) A vision for where I'd like to be in three months, six months , a year, before I die!
2) Half the battle was mental - preparation was key
3) A partner - someone to hold me accountable, someone to feel the pain and celebrate the joys and achievements along the way
4) The right equipment - invest from the start - no half hearted attempts using the old gear but get kitted out with the right shoes to avoid injury and some clothes that would help with sweating I mentioned earlier!!
Well I started before Christmas after finding a program to follow - couch to 5k in 8 weeks! Surely this would work, a nice american accent in my ears, some dance music and as much will as I had to give. I also got my running partner....Mel - what a friend.... we made a plan that was set but flexible enough to work with our busy families..... we started getting up at the crack of dawn meeting on cold frosty mornings in the dark at 7am two or three mornings a week. We did it. Shockingly to both of us! But we started. With one minute runs, walking intervals.... and little bit by little bit we went through the early weeks of the program together.....
Then it snowed. Then I got sick. Beyond my control there were no runs for three weeks ):
I was totally frustrated. After doing so well I tried my first run back and it was like being back at square one. This was my first true mental battle. Why bother. Give up now Clare - you're never gonna do this. Suck it up you've had four kids and you'll be like this forever. Who are you kidding thinking you'll be able to run a half marathon????
But with the loving words and support of my amazing running friend Mel I gathered my thoughts and stood my ground determined to press on! It was at this point I realised that partners are absolutely key and actually a non negogitable for me.
And slowly I've continued putting my body through the motions. I got a a second partner Jane who had the same goal of a half marathon and was also a mum and friend from school wanting to take action to see her body and fitness improve. We've slowly worked through the program, increasing the running intervals to longer, found new routes, overcome stitches, sore legs, had set backs but put them in the bag as learning experiences and with determination continued with motivation.
This week I ran two 7k runs for the first time in my life!!!!! Honestly this felt like a milestone and is a miracle in my mind. I never thought that I'd actually do it. Not really. I guess I realised this week I'd come to believe the lies that like to rear their heads in mind..... but I kicked them out because I've proved them wrong!!! But the most exciting part is that I have learnt discipline. Real Discipline. Discipline that has come through putting my mind to something and not looking back......but the best part is not only being able to apply it to the exercise in my life but to so many areas....... to the way I am a parent, to the way I use time in each day, to reading my bible and making time for God...... so having done the research before and now having actually put the theory into practice..... what have I discovered so far in my running.....
1) I need a plan that is firm enough to stick to but flexible because I'm a mum and have a family to put before myself. Its Ok if it doesn't always go the way I hope, live, learn and move forward. Don't get stuck in the set back.
2) I need and now have a vision. I want to run the world's biggest half marathon - The Great North Run in six months time. I will do it! But in a few days I'll run my first race of 3 miles. In three months I'm looking for a 10k. Having goals and reaching them is vital..... achieving and overcoming one milestone gives you the hope you can achieve any goal you have.
3) At 7 am or 7pm I rarely 'feel' like running. The couch is much more appealing with a tea and some chocolate. But its a choice. Despite not feeling like it I must choose the right choice. I don't live by how I feel but what I know is best for me. Its good for me to exercise. Its good for me to have some 'me' time. I've come to know the feelings will follow if I make the right choice as this has been the case almost every single time!
4) Partners. I honestly can say there is absolutely no way I'd be where I am today if it wasn't for Mel, Jane and my lovely 'american podcast' training coach! Mel and Jane have been excited with me, understood the pain, held me accountable, encouraged and sympathized, been committed and honestly I am becoming a true believer that there are very few things in life that aren't better than if they are done with others beside you. In teams, in partnerships you can go beyond and overcome what you can see with your own eyes.
5) The right equipment..... is essential. I haven't spent loads, but the blisters have been less with good trainers, I've protected my knees from injury, I've stayed warm in the snow, cool in the heat...... I couldn't have been as effective in reaching my goal.... and the investment kept me committed to the goal. It was worth it. Investment and commitment go hand in hand.
6) Its easy to try and box our lives, but as I've gone through struggles with running I have honestly asked God to help me. I want to be an example to my kids of healthy living, to show them that exercise is fun and worth it.... and so to keep this going and to be a good model of this I need God. I can't overcome on my own. I can't make the right choice on my own and I know more than anything God loves me and cares about me enough to help me to all this. I love to that running has given me chance to worship and hear from God..... running with nature surrounding me, the wind blowing in my face and listening to music on full blast has enable me to get totally lost in the maker of the universe...... I love that life isn't in boxes..... that all things if we choose them to be can be for God, of God and life stops being in boxes!!!