Olivia runs a mile

Recently a film has been released called ‘Brittany Runs A Marathon’, and I’ve heard it’s rather an emotional one for some of us runners. You see, not all who run are equal, not all who run did it at school, not all who run are fast.

I began running in April 2018 and was greatly enjoying it. My level of enjoyment took me completely by surprise (as it took everyone who knew me by surprise too!). I slogged away through the endless summer heatwave, into the autumn and winter. I went out in all weathers, including the pouring Lancashire rain and, when it was too hot that summer, at 10 o’clock at night. I was obsessed!

I loved the high I experienced after each run. I loved that I could see how I was getting better and fitter each week as my times came down or I could run for longer. I even ran an 11 mile fell run in the Yorkshire Dales. But then disaster struck…

In June 2019 I was playing netball and I landed badly on my ankle, tearing a ligament and putting myself out of action for months. After some serious rest and physio, I was given the all clear to run again (gently, slowly) at the end of September. This was a shock, as the initial examination with the physio in August had predicted October or November. I merrily skipped out of the physio, ran a handful of times, and then packed it all in.

You see, for once my mind wasn’t letting me down. My mind was telling me, yes, let’s go, you can do this. But my body was saying, nope, and prompting me to give up after just a few minutes. Suddenly, each run brought with it disappointment and demotivation, where it had previously brought elation and motivation. Instead, 3 weeks ago, I turned back to netball.

I took it very gently, no sprinting or jumping, but it was fine. My ankle felt good, and I enjoyed myself… except for the fact I was desperately unfit. I am desperately unfit. And so I told myself 3 weeks ago that I would start running tomorrow. The problem was, tomorrow never arrived. I always had an excuse.

Mainly, though, my biggest excuse was that I can remember the hard work I had to put in during those early months of beginning running back in April and May 2018. I can remember having to force myself out when I was shattered, when it was raining, early mornings or late at night. I can remember feeling ridiculous as I plodded along slower than walking pace as I ran up another Lancashire hill. I can remember all of the sore thighs and aching lungs. I can remember all of what it took to get myself to the place of being able to run 10.9 miles across fell land on my own. And I just didn’t think I could be bothered to put that work in again.

Last night though, I went to netball practice, and shared this with some of the team. Their response? Well, you’ll have to do it, if you want to get back to where you were. And, of course, they were right. What it comes down to is how much I want it. How much do I want to be able to run for miles and miles? How much do I want to feel that blood pumping runners high again?

Well, it turns out, I want it a lot, because this morning I went out and I did it. I put my trainers on and my headphones in, selected my music and ran 1.6 miles. Ok, so I ran for 8 minutes, walked for 5 minutes, and ran for 8 again, just as Jo Whiley told me to (I skipped to week 5 of Couch to 5K). But I moved forward for 1.6 miles. And it felt so good!

My lungs ached, my thighs burned (especially up that hill), but my blood pumped and my heart soared.

How much do you want what you want?

Don’t let anything stop you.

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