Yes. I Am a Runner!
“The only reason I would ever run is if someone was chasing me” Are words I have uttered many times in my life!
I honestly did not get it when my husband, Duncan, would voluntarily wake up at the crack of dawn to go for a run. What is it with these runners? I thought to myself as I turned over to go back to sleep. I think back to high school now, in my mind running was not just for running, but a means to an end. Run to get the ball because you play hockey, sure...But never JUST run.
So how does a person like me go from couch to half marathon in the space of 8 months? To set the scene for this miracle let me get the introduction out of the way.
I am a wife, sister, daughter, friend, career woman, student and similar to most of you, the list goes on. I am a New Business Development Manager for a marketing analytics company and am doing my Masters in Development Finance. It feels like I went to bed a 25 year old with very few cares in the world and woke up a 34 year old with roles and responsibilities, stressed and 10kg heavier.
When my friend, Annie, first told me about the OptiFit 12 weeks to 10km novice running programme, run in conjunction with the Sports Science Institute of SA (SSISA) - I couldn’t for the life of me imagine anything worse. Not only would I be running, but I would have a schedule and have people to be accountable to whilst doing it. So when she sent me the programme details - they went straight into file 13 and I set off for campus. Following an intense 3 weeks of studies, it became clear to me that if I wanted to get through the next two years something would have to change. This is when I reluctantly took my husband’s advice - Running was the answer to a heathier body and mind. I searched for that OptiFit application form Annie had emailed me 6 months earlier and completed it. In our first session on the programme we went around the room stating our goals, mine was simple – to run 10km without tasting blood in my mouth. I am proud to say I ticked that box early on in the programme and managed to complete a comfortable 10km race just 12 weeks later.
In those 12 weeks, I caught glimpses of a Tendai I had not seen in a long time. I have since been able to balance my job, studies and relationships with a lot more ease. Starting my day with a run allows me to be alone with my thoughts, reflect on what I need to achieve and most importantly order my priorities for the day before I face the world. Being out on the road without a phone to answer or emails to respond to, allows me to slow everything down. I often laugh at how the one thing that I fought for so long, has become a sense of grounding to my life.
Now why the Old Mutual Two Oceans Half Marathon? Well, as with most things, once you achieve a goal the next step is to move the goal post. When asked the question ‘Do you want to run a half marathon?’ I honestly had no reason to say no. It was in that moment that a new drive was awakened in me. As I type this I cannot see how I will get over that finish line, however, I have no doubt that I will do it.
Living in Cape Town it is a blessing that my first half marathon is to be the OMTOM Half Marathon, I cannot think of a more beautiful route.
A journey that started out as running a mere 10km to become healthier, both physically and mentally, has turned into a lifestyle. I can proudly say I am a runner, not because I run fast, but because I run.