Well my Jan 1st resolution of couch to 5km did not go quite to plan. I went at it with gusto but fell literally at the first hurdle. Every excuse was pulled from the bag for this one, it’s too cold, it’s raining, I don’t have time, the kids need me, busy at work… its endless. So when Act for Meningitis posted on Facebook that they were looking for beginners runners for The Streets of Galway in August I thought about it again, it’s an 8km could I do it? I was not sure until I saw that the girls from the charity were giving it a shot as well – I signed up that afternoon! The deal was that we would meet once a week with personal trainer Don Naughton and be able to run 8km in 8 weeks!
First morning we met I was a bit aphrensive as I pulled on my husband’s togs and football jersey (needed to go shopping!) , not having ran before it was a bit daunting, would I be able to do it, would I fall again at the first hurdle? Don met with us and ran through the plan, breaking up into 2 groups – group A was for those who wanted to walk/run and group B was for those that wanted to run so I stepped out of my comfort zone and into group B. After 15 minutes warm up and already out of breath we hit the prom in Salthill. God I thought to myself this is a beginners class as I struggled with breathing and my legs nearly gave up! Falling to the back of group B I fell into step with fellow beginner Caroline and Andy – trainer, stayed with us.
It was tough we had to stop several times to catch breath and this was only 2km – 8km was it possible? God I was not sure. Andy offered us some words of wisdom and every time I run I hear them – “You’re doing this for yourself, no-one else, and you can do it!”
Don gave us the plan for the week and we headed off – well I ran 2km so I could do it right? Left on my own during that first week I headed out on Tuesday evening after work. I found it hard to breath, my legs were screaming at me to stop – there was nothing enjoyable in this… But I stuck with it and arrived home red faced, out of breath and feeling like I needed to vomit! I found that when I was running that first night my fists were clenched tight and my shoulders and back ached that night. I was already putting myself under pressure so Thursday evening I headed out again, made a mental note to relax and ease into it and I ran 2km, did not stop once – I did it!
I trained with Don and the team for the 8 weeks to The Streets of Galway and that evening in August ran my first 8km in a time of 56 minutes. I was thrilled! All of the hard work was worth every step of the way.
So almost 12 months later I am still running! And I am feeling the benefits, I still find it hard at times but running is something I love, I’ve lost weight, toned up and feel happy and balanced when I run. I feel a huge sense of personal achievement after my run’s and it gives me some much needed head space for myself in my busy life. I am now training for my first half marathon. The support of our trainer Don (with much need motivational prompts via Facebook at just the right moment!), the charity – Act for Meningitis and the group is motivational, and were all in it together. Together we can make a difference.
Some interesting side effects of starting to run is my family have been watching and learning, my girls are asking – Why do we need to exercise? What does it dor for you? So now they warm up with me, run around the garden until I get back and warm down after. They are learning that its healthy to exercise, eat well and look after yourself from an early age so if nothing else this makes it worthwhile for me.
Act for Meningitis is a charity set up by Siobhan and Noel Carroll after the loss of their daughter Aoibhe aged 4 to meningitis. Siobhan and her team work tirelessly to raise awareness of the signs and symptoms of Meningitis which not only affects babies and small children but teenagers and those over 60. ACT for Meningitis aims to raise awareness and educate society about the signs and symptoms of meningitis. They also provide support to individuals and families affected by meningitis.