IRIE NINJA

On Falling Out of Hate With Running

I used to LOATHE running.

‘Used to’ being the operative words here. Now it’s more of a love-hate type of relationship.

I can recall several different points in my life where I have either been forced to, or have forced myself to attempt running. What I distinctly remember about each of those moments is just how much I disliked it.

  • Primary school Inter-House Athletics Competition. I somehow ended up in the 400m race? Started like a firecracker but fizzled out in the home stretch to watch everyone run past me in what seemed like a cruel slow-mo replay. I guess even back then I was already a Premature Accelerator. (GO NAMKIN!)
  • Trials to determine the athletes who would represent Team Fiji Va’a at the Mini South Pacific Games in 2009. You would think that after falling in love with a sport like outrigger canoeing you could look forward to days of just sitting and paddling out on the open sea with thoughts of running banished to the darkest depths of the ocean. You would be WRONG. Those 5km runs were the most dreaded parts of the physical trials for me.
  • When I moved to Austria 2 and a half years ago and started flatting with strangers for the first time in my life I attempted to run as a way to try and bond with my outdoorsy flatmates. Needless to say…that was a failure. Not the bonding part, we managed just fine with alcohol and Wii dance competitions after that, but the running was never mentioned again.

A few months ago I surprised myself by deciding to give running another go. Blame it on a combination of Quarter-Life Crisis feelings, winter blues, and sibling withdrawal. I don’t know. All I know is, at that moment I just needed to get out of my flat, get out of that space that just reminded how much I missed my little sister and the time we had spent cooped up there together during her recent visit. I needed fresh air. I needed something to take my mind of everything.

So I laced up my shoes, put on a jumper AND a windbreaker (Oh yeah did I mention it was still winter? WINTER! Oh the irony…I used to scoff when I saw people running in the cold of winter.) then I headed out to the marked 2km trail in the woods near my place.

2km might not seem very far, but it was a start. More importantly, it felt GOOD. I resolved to make Sunday “Run Day” and made it a point to set a reminder on my phone and go for a run again the following weekend. Besides, I thought, what else is there to do on Sunday in small town Austria anyway?

For about 3 weekends in a row I got up in the morning and started my Sunday with a short run. Inspired by Facebook posts of a friend who had only recently started running as well and who had taken on the Couch to 5km programme, I decided to verrrrry slowly see if I could increase the distance and frequency of my runs and started keeping track of my activities via the Runtastic app too.

Enter my sporty cousin – “C”, who had become aware of my new running ritual and insisted we go for runs together. Considering she was way more fit and in-shape than I was, I didn’t think this was going to be a good idea but I couldn’t say no. So one Sunday morning instead of going for my usual solo 2km run, I attempted the 4km trail with C. No one was more amazed than I was when I managed to jog the whole distance without stopping. C had talked me through proper pacing, breathing, and different strides, and after going on a few more runs with her I realised that I had probably found the perfect running buddy in her.

Fast forward a few months and I have been going on more regular runs with C, participated in my first 10km run, signed up to take part in the team event of the Suva Marathon next month in Fiji, and am hoping to take part in my first Half Marathon with C in September if all goes well!

I guess what I’m trying to say is…maybe miracles do come true kids! 😉 Too much?

How about, running is HARD. It’s probably also going to really suck in the beginning and for quite some time after that. BUT, there will come a time when it starts to suck a little less each time you lace up your shoes and hit the pavement/trail/tracks/whatever.

No matter what though, those last few moments of any run, when you can almost taste the finish and feel that 2nd, 3rd, or 4th wind coming on and the endorphins kicking in? THAT moment makes it all worth it. (Unless of course you go too hard and end up passing out, in which case you probably aren’t going to be feeling too great no.)

Österreichischer Frauenlauf 2015

After finishing the 10km at the Österreichischer Frauenlauf 2015 in Vienna.

TL;DR – Somewhere along the way I fell out of hate with running and maybe you can too.

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