Wednesday, 27 April 2011

How I became a Jogger

If you ask me how to get started in this running game, Ill preach to you about listening to your body, not increasing millage too quickly, not worrying about pace, Ill suggest training bassed on time rather than distance, basically all the things that i didnt do when i was starting out myself. The enlightened man would suggest that i learnt from the error of my ways, but thats not strictly true, I actually think i was just lucky to get away with it.

So how exactly did i get started on this journey that took me from a depressed guy that was starting to drink way to heavily, to an athlete that belts out a 3:22 marathon less than a year later?  Well actually my start is probably pretty similar to many others, its only really in the ongoing training, and the training volume that i differ to most other new runners. 

I guess i was lucky to be born with good genes, i have never really been significantly overweight, and exercised more or less irregularly mainly as part of being a father to 3 kids. But in the 6 months prior to when i started running my health had suffered. Id started at around 97Kg, dropped to 88Kg in about a month, and then bounced back up to 100Kg as a result of starting to drink more heavily. The circumstances in my life could have easily seen me spiral out of control, so it was really fortuitous that i laced up those old sneakers one  afternoon and decided to run to the bridge and back.

My very first run was 11-May-2010. It was 3.59km and I completted it in just over 21 mins, which I guess wasnt too bad all thing considered. I do know that i was absolutely buggered at the end of it. I was running in a pair of old sneakers, that I usually wore to mow the lawns in.

Perhapes the next step seperates me a little from many others. Over the next few days I immersed myself in internet research about running. I watched youtube, i read blogs, i read articles at runners world. What that did was fuel my interest. To make sure that i would keep at the running and not stop after a few days. I told my kids that i would run the Local 5k City Run. The next day I discovered it was only 2 1/2 weeks away.

The next two weeks i started training every second day. I ran the same route each time, pushing the pace as much as i could, or at least trying to get to the point where i could run at a consistent pace the whole way without slowing down too much. I knew if i could run that far in training then Id be able to do the 5k on race day... maybe not walk the day after but id do it come hell or high water. Over the course of those two weeks my knees got progresively more and more sore, my legs were still stiff every day. I was really starting to struggle.

Then i made a big mistake, that turned out to be a blessing in disguise. I decided that my sneakers were a bit too grotty for the city run and put them through the washing machine.... which was wrong. DO NOT WASH SHOES in the washing machine, they shrink. I tried running in them but it was no good. I was faced with a big dilemma, no shoes and a 5k in 3 days. So over lunch the next day, I walked to a local running shoe shop. They put me on the treadmill, did a foot scan, the whole enchilada. The Sales clerk then offered several pairs of shoes the 'suited me'. A pair of Brooks Adrenaline GTS 10 were the most comfortable and what i came away with.

No sooner was i home that night, and i was out for a run. the knee soreness during the run was gone...although the stiffness and ache afterwards was still there. From my research i knew to take a rest day the day before the race...well i needed too regardless to be able to run without stiff legs. The 5k race rolled around and i started off conservatively and increased the pace throughout, finshing in a time of 25:47 Breaking the 26min mark that i thought i wouldnt be able to reach. I was over the moon with my result, it must have been the shoes....speaking of shoes, If i hadnt just bought new running shoes i may well have let the running slip at that point, but now i had these shoes, I couldnt justify spending that amount of money on running shoes and then not running in them.

In the weeks that followed My legs finally adjusted to the new regime. the soreness during running was long gone, and the stiffness afterwards was also becoming a thing of the past, Id increased my run from just to the bridge and back to be around the top half of a local lake...a 5.5k course. The next change was to switch to running in the mornings, it meant id have more family time in the evenings, and had the added benifit of avoiding the small flies and insects that frequent the lake shoreline.

Once i was able to run comfortably for 40 mins i started to add in a little extra distance once a week... I was starting to think about running a 10k race. First it was 7km, then 8.5km... then 11km... then 15km.

I started to enjoy the running, it was no longer a chore to get up early and run, i actually wanted to do it. I was feeling good about myself, i was able to go out and run for a whole 10k or further. I was now able to consider myself a Jogger. It was during this time that i started to have my first 'Forrest Gump Moments', running around the local lake, with mist rising off the water and the sun coming up over the horizon.... magic, and i only got to see that because i was now a jogger.

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