Hello. My name’s Annalie and I’m a runner

19 04 2013

There. I said it. I’ve published it for all to see, forever and eternity. Or at least until I decide to delete it.

I don’t know how it happened though. It was all rather accidental. I’ve never been a runner. Never been very good at it. I had neither the speed for sprinting, nor the stamina for anything other than a run to catch the bus. So how did I end up here?

Well, for a starter, I’m over 16kgs lighter than I was 7 months ago. That might have helped. But I hadn’t always been that weight either.

In late September, I’d signed up for a Biggest Loser style competition at the gym, comprising of 2x a week PT sessions and the potential to win some cool prizes at the end. Give me a carrot and I’m no Eeyor. I stormed to victory, losing 9.5kgs and 26.74% of my starting body fat. I was on a roll.

I’d signed up for the Wellington Round The Bays (RTB) 7km fun run, taking place 2 months after the Biggest Loser finished, deciding that 2 months wasn’t enough time to train for the half marathon run. I was wrong.

My training rapidly progressed into double figure runs, and I started to think 21.1kms by 17 February was actually achievable.

And I did it. Despite suffering a race-threatening injury just three weeks earlier, I completed the course easily. I’d deliberately taken it easy, buddying up with a much slower runner to stop me from going off too fast, and leaving me plenty in the tank to finish strong and feel good about it.

My time was 2 hours 14 minutes. OK so i’m no Usain Bolt. But it was within the target time I’d set myself. And I’d done it! I’d run the furthest distance I’ve ever run. Ever.

My appetite was whetted. I wanted more. The sense of achievement as I clocked up the kms, increasing my pace and decreasing my times, became addictive. I even looked forward to my next “hit”.

So I started to plan my next challenge. Plenty of options emerged, but I struggled to make my mind up about my strategy. My long term goal was always the Wellington Half Marathon in June, but I needed other runs to keep me focused, otherwise I’m likely to fall off a rapidly moving wagon with little chance of hitching back onto it.

As luck would have it, a sneaky entry into a Twitter competition saw me win a free entry into the Great Forest Half Marathon in mid-April. With two weeks’ notice. Good job I’d still been training.

I’d been nervous as hell before running RTB. I’d never run that far so didn’t know if I could make it. This time, I knew I could last the distance. But I was running on my own with no buddy to guide me and make me stick to my game plan.

Needless to say, with no conscience running beside me, my game plan went out of the window early. Instead of sticking to my intended pace, I just listened to my body and went with the flow. The run was a very different experience to RTB too, being more of a cross country course rather than road, and much more undulating as opposed to sea level flat.

The result however was a sub-2 hour run. That was my intended goal for the June race, but I guess I’d better set myself a new goal for that.

So, I guess I can call myself a runner now.

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