We all come to running for different reasons. For me, running was one of those things I just tried in 2003 not expecting myself to be any good. I still had memories of me as a chubby child, puffing and panting in the misery of a scorching Australian summer, while my classmates flew past me and laughed at my lack of agility. That kind of memory is burns itself in your mind, so when I first stood on a treadmill in 2003, it was like being transported back to those days.
However, unlike the humiliation of adolescence, it didn’t take me long before I realised I could actually do this for more than 5 minutes. And more importantly, I actually enjoyed it! I don’t think I have looked back since. I have 7 half marathons, 2 marathons and 3 10Km’s under my belt (I think! I will need to go back and tally up the number of race numbers I have – momentos I always keep…) and I can’t stop. As I post more, I will probably talk about what brought me to running, my experience of racing and my hopes for the future more, but actually, that’s not really what I wanted this first post to be about.
No, what I actually wanted to talk about was what brought me to join the ranks of the thousands of runners who blog. When I run, I run with a friend. Well, he feels like a friend. I have never met him. And yet I have shared with him his thoughts, met his family, experienced the pleasure and agony of his road races, and grown to understand what makes him tick. I don’t always agree with his opinions, I don’t always share his beliefs or viewpoints, but like any other friend, it is those differences as much as the similarities which make me keep coming back. His name is Steve Runner, and he produces a podcast once a week called Phedippidations.
Steve is currently my most important running friend. I listen to his podcasts when I run, including his entire back catalogue from when he started podcasting back in 2005. The podcast I listened to the other day when I was out on a 12 mile training run extolled the importance of blogging your thoughts as a runner, using your online diary as a journal to record what was most important to you when you ran. I was so inspired to do so, that I set this up shortly afterwards. I already blog for work and for several other of my niche passions, but I wasn’t so sure about a running blog because I didn’t know what I could write that would be interesting. Sure, I love Steve’s random thoughts, rants and poems, but I couldn’t do the same thing, could I?
It was then I realised that in fact there was nothing stopping me doing that. You see, running to me is a very solitary activity. I run alone, and yet I love knowing I am part of a huge community of people who are doing the same thing. I race, feeding off the hundreds or thousands of people racing with me, joining in a laugh with a stranger or a chat with a fellow finisher, and yet I am racing against no-one but myself. So in writing about my running, I thought that rather than try and be something for other people, why not view it just like my running? It is mine. But equally, it is part of the running community. If anyone in my community wants to read it, then that would be just wonderful and I hope my passion inspires as much as Steve Runner’s passion inspires me when I feel like I can’t keep going. But if no-one does, then that doesn’t matter. I am not trying to prove anything. I am not looking for applause or popularity. I am just looking for that sense of peace and achievement that running brings me alone.
So that is why I am here.