Eventually I incorporated running into my regular gym routine, but at first, only as a means of getting an effective cardio portion done and dusted (not for the love of running - it was still damn hard at this stage) and then during my final year of school, in between studying for and taking my A levels, when I was 17/18, I remember visiting the gym almost every lunchtime and running a solid 30 or 35 minutes on the tready there, before hurriedly showering and heading back to classes with the reddest (almost purple, if I'm being totally accurate) face from the exertion. Running was still extremely hard, and 30 minutes seemed a long time to me at this point. Oh, I also, would never run outside either (unless I had dragged my friends along), loving the privacy of the indoor treadmill (oh, how I've changed, as I now would refer to it as the ;'dreadmill', BUT, it serves a purpose I suppose).
I think the first proper 'race' or event I ran in, maybe changed my perspective: it was a 5km run for the Cancer Council, I think, and went nearby Greenwich Park and around the Heath in Blackheath, South-East London. I remember feeling so pumped and euphoric after completing this (think it took maybe 26 or 30 minutes? I wish my memory was better), and perhaps this was the turning point for changing from indoor treadmill action to getting out and pounding those streets.
Moving to Australia in early 2006 provided even more motivation and encouragement for outdoors running, as, in those first few months I was without a gym nearby and out 'bush' in the countryside, so would run along little country roads and lanes with a beautiful, glowing sunrise and various small, grey kangaroos nearby as my running companions (they would mainly roll and hop, however). Running became my alone time, my time to think, to meditate on the move, and to take in the the quiet beauty of this amazing country I had just moved to. Fast forward to a work related triathlon that I took part in about a year or so later (again, I was just running the 4km portion, but again, I felt exhilarated and pumped, and ran it in about 17 minutes I think). I was hooked! I was now running regularly both outside and sometimes on the treadmill, although, definitely preferring those beautiful, early morning outdoors runs.
A 10km race and a couple of half marathons later, and suddenly I was training for my first marathon, in 2009 (which you can read about here:http://runningthroughchina.weebly.com/blog/marathon-in-the-hunter-valley-australia-july-2009). After this not so successful race, I don't think I ran for a fair while, but then resumed it and kept to mainly the half marathon distances as my preferred event, with regular morning runs, which have become even more frequent since moving to China in 2012 - love running to explore new cities and neighbourhoods! Oh and of course, the race bling you get from taking part in events (my hands-down favourite being my trophy for placing as Number ONE female for the Great Wall of China Half Marathon in 2013!!), of which I have been lucky enough to take part in 7 different races, since moving here.
Somehow, running had become an essential habit for me, and I couldn't imagine my life without it (and can't now either). Now, it is 2015, and I have recently (in November) ran a 100km+ (it was actually 106!) and earlier in 2014 ran an ultra event of 50km, plus another full marathon that kicked off 2014. These events and distance would have been mind boggling and absolutely impossible for me to even contemplate back when I was running in the comfort of a gym only, back in England, and even now, on some days, it seems crazy to me (in a good way) that I did them. Also, at these events, you inevitably meet people who do these kinds of events and distances all the time, and much much more (like, 100milers and the like! Eek) which is both intimidating and inspiring/motivating! I mentioned in my last post that I want to run another ultra event this year, and I definitely do: the 50km I ran in June in Wuyuezhai, Hebei province, was awesome: yes, a massive challenge for me, but it was so beautiful and exhilarating, and your body CAN do more than you think it can! We can do hard things!! And nothing beats that post-race feeling hey.
So, what about YOU? How did you get into this marvellous sport? What is your running history?
Do you prefer the treadmill or outdoor running?