Saturday, March 19, 2011

Do you call yourself a runner?!

Ever since I was a little girl, I have loved running. This is my running story... so if you hate running, stop reading now (lol) but ... maybe it will motivate a few "non-runners" to give it a go....

I started running when I was 10 years old. At primary school I would place 2nd in the sprint events and come in the top 10 runners in cross country. One of the girls who blitzed the field in the sprints was a member of an athletics club called "Blue Stars" and I immediately aspired to be as fast as her! My Dad was a member of Kembla Joggers at the time and when I started showing an interest in the sprints at school, he registered me and my sisters in Illawarra Blue Stars Athletics Club.

I looked forward to every Saturday afternoon when our family would go to the blue stars events. My Dad started taking me to training every Tuesday and Thursday. I was NEVER the fastest runner, nor the best jumper or thrower... I was quite average. But I still LOVED it - every training session, every event day. I would even sign up for the state carnivals that were, back then, held at E.S Marks Field in Sydney and always struggle to keep up with the field - but that never stopped me!

One year, I was "selected" in the U14 Girls South Coast 4x100m relay team to compete in the state relay championships. I will never forget that team - it was made up of the 3 fastest girls in the Illawarra in my age group ... and me. And the coach at the time let me know it. It was made VERY clear that I did not belong in the team! I still ran... we came 7th in the final.

In high school, I was athletics age champion 4 times and cross country champion once. Now there's a funny story - I never got to run across the finish line in a cross country race in 1st place. The girl who ran through in first place and took the number 1 ticket cheated that year! I ran in second.... the later years of high school were far too busy to run. I would run occasionally, but if you weren't an elite runner, what was the point? At least, that was the message that was I seemed to get from people in the athletics arena at the time. I gave up Blue Stars in 1991 when I was 15.

I turned my attention to playing touch football and played in many competitions, womens teams, mixed teams, rep teams.... I'd run on the odd occasion as well. Then I met my friend Cath at touch football in 2002 and she got me back into running. We just started off doing a short jog before our touch games and before long, we were training for the city to surf! I ran my first city to surf in 2003 in a time of 85 mins. Four city to surfs later (I missed several because of babies) and that time has come down to 73 mins (2010). Cath moved to Dubai in 2006 but I have kept up the running and whenever she comes to visit, we never miss an opportunity to run together!

In 2007, I gave birth to my son, Jared and we moved to Cordeaux Heights. Running was such a convenient time out exercise to get back into shape - I would go for a run whenever I had the chance and didn't have to be at the gym at certain times for classes so I got back into shape reasonably quickly. It took probably 5 months to get back to the times I was running pre-pregnancy. Our new neighbours were members of Kembla Joggers and kept encouraging me to join. I was quite intimidated - I mean, a running club??!! I am not a runner... I just run to keep fit!! But they would tell me, "There are runners of all abilities... you just gotta give it a go". After a while, I decided to join.

Since joining Kembla Joggers, I have enjoyed my running so much more. Everyone is so friendly and there are the elite runners and then those who just run to keep fit... but everyone runs for fun. I go to their training sessions every Tuesday and try to get to every race of the winter and summer series.

In January 2010, I gave birth to my 2nd son Mason. I started running 3 weeks after - getting back into it very slowly. Again, it took me 5 months to start running the times I was pre-pregnancy. I went back to KJ's and ran the winter series that year. I have been lucky enough to talk to some experienced KJ's members - I met an original KJ's member, Jim Hennessy while marshaling at a KJ's event and he told me, "There is no secret to running, you just have to run!". Shortly after that, I ran the city to surf in 73 mins and then the Blackmores Half Marathon in 110 mins.

Above left: me approaching the finish line in the blackmores half last year. Right: Me and my girls, Sar, Bree and Leesh before running the Kembla Joggers Fitness 5 last week.

I have completed 3 half marathons and my 4th is coming up next month..... and then there is the big one.... a full marathon in September! Wow, who would have ever thought?!

Now, I just run to the best of my ability and am proud to finally call myself a "runner".

1 comment:

  1. Hey Linda,

    I am definitely NOT a runner, but I did enjoy reading about your running journey. I hope that you continue to love your running and meet your running goals !
    Cheers x