I used to hate running. I used to really, really, really hate running. It all changed after I finished uni in the States, returned home, started working, stopped playing tennis that used to occupy most of my day and suddenly rediscovered running that used to be such an agony.
I started liking it, because no one forced me to do it. Most of my tennis coaches used long distance running as a form of punishment for not performing well in tennis. I efing hated it. Once I became aware there is no one to force me to do anything anymore, running became such a thrill. Running was my new stress reliever and a psychologist in one – plus it was all free (minus shoes, top and leggings.)
8 years later, one of my best mates from uni celebrated her 30th b-day in Bristol. Along with the invitation to get shitfaced for her birthday, she proposed to run a half marathon that was organized on the same day as her b-day party and to raise the money for Amy Biehl Foundation in South Africa where she used to volunteer. I didn’t think twice about it, the challenge was ON. The only problem was…I was completely out of shape and I’ve never ran a distance longer than 11km. Half marathon is double that length.
I switched my stubbornly-obsessive mode ON, downloaded some good running tunes, put my shoes on and ran my ass off for a couple of months. It wasn’t an easy ride because I juggled work and running while life was throwing some nasty looking lemons at me. Luckily, my stubbornly-obsessive mode wouldn’t take any excuses, so I kept going.
One week before flying to Bristol, I ran the whole 21 km in Zagreb which gave me a peace; because I knew I would survive Bristol. Home of Banksy, apart from being quite alternative and arty, Bristol is pretty flat which makes it a perfect setting for all the marathon lovers.
Long story - short…my friend had the best b-day ever. All of her family and friends ran the marathon, the weather was fine, the atmosphere was amazing, the whole city came to cheer the runners, all of the birthday crew finished the marathon in decent time frame and we raised some good £ for Amy Biehl Foundation.
I ran 21km in 2:09. Not too shabby for the 1st time. The trouble with small personal victories is that you get hooked on the taste of achievement and pushing your personal boundaries feels like growing your freedom wings. There is that voice in my head that keeps reminding me how bad I want to finish a full marathon now.
The challenge is ON again.