Seven weeks ago, I began the Couch to 5K programme. It’s an eight-week, gradual training app with the aim of getting you fit to run a 5K. Three workouts a week, running for longer and longer each time.
Seven weeks ago, I couldn’t run for 60 seconds at a time. This evening, I ran continuously for 30 minutes – a distance of 2.5 miles.
I’ve never been very sporty. As a child, I had neither an interest in nor talent for the sports we played at school. Except rounders, because if I could hit the ball (and that was a big ‘if’), I could run. On Sports Days, I got picked for the 100m, because I could be fast, but only for a short time.
As an adult, I never understood why acquaintances enthused about running. Where were they running to? And for what purpose?
Now, I get it.
After just seven weeks, I’ve caught the running bug. I’m addicted to the endorphin rush that starts as I jog down our street, picks me up when I’m about to quit, and lasts for hours after I get home. I love the sense of achievement that comes as I run further, or faster, or for longer than I have before. I have renewed respect for my body: it is strong, it is capable, it is – as one of my friends eloquently put it – an instrument, rather than an ornament.
I enjoy my own company. Three times a week, I head away from my children and spend 30 minutes outside, in the fresh air, on my own. I listen to loud music, I think, I reflect on things. It’s sometimes the only time I am able to. It’s a release, a stressbuster, and I return to them a happier, calmer, better mum.
I love the sense of community. Geeking out about running with my friends: some who inspired me to start this journey, and some who have joined me along the way.
These are just a few reasons; there are many more that I can’t articulate yet, and I hope to discover more as I keep going. Next week, I’ll run my first 5K in preparation for the Race for Life, which will I’m doing to mark the 20-year anniversary of my mum’s death from breast cancer (http://www.justgiving.com/ellieracesforlife). After that, I plan to start a training programme to run a 10K. And after that…who knows?!