We never know where life is going to take us or what challenges it brings. In January 2010 I was happy, so happy I wanted to stay that way for as long as I could. I realised that if Ali and I wanted a long and healthy life together, we had to change. I was clinically obese, had a bad back and my knees were feeling the strain. I had various health problems and I was ageing faster than my years. I looked ahead to a life I did not want. It was time to change. By the end of the year I had lost 4 stone - 56lbs. My confidence rocketed - I had taken control and it had worked. I was exercising, enjoying buying clothes, speaking up for myself.

I began to believe in myself again, I began to dream. For years I had watched marathons with admiration and a lump in my throat. In April 2013, I ran my first marathon.

This blog is about living life as a slim person, staying slim and fulfilling my dreams. Come and join me, support me, advise me!

Take care, Sue

Saturday, 12 November 2011

Running with the larks: Dark Running Part 2

Running: The act of a person, animal, or thing that runs...

Well that's what the dictionary says. In real life, running is  a little bit more complicated than that. As I get serious about running my first marathon next March, I'm entering the next stage of my journey as a runner. A big step for this member of womankind!

What started me off were comments on the blog I did last week on night running (well evening running to be precise). I really enjoy running the streets in winter as people have their dinner and watch tv, and I am not alone! Quite a few folk are also out at dark o'clock, some are out well past my bedtime.

Lena (@paintedrunner) left me a comment about her love of running in the dark, but in the morning, with the rising sun. Dark running in the morning is not hard to do at this time of year, in fact you could get quite a lie in, especially in Scotland. It's the sunrise that can be the problem! a) there isn't any, b) it can be quite late - the sun was due to rise here at 7.42 this morning. (It didn't, I think it's having a lie in or maybe even hibernated!)

Anyway, I digress. Lena's comment struck a chord. As I sat on the train to work looking at the brilliant red sunrise over North Berwick Law, I got what she meant and decided to give it a go. I wanted to run into that sunrise too!

The next day I was up early, into the leggings and off to hit the streets. It was weird. It was just as dark as running at night (of course) but it felt totally different. People were mainly in bed, but there were a few brightened windows to lighten the gloom. One or two houses were lit up like Christmas trees, but I saw very few people even there.

As I ran, houses and streets gradually came to life and I realised that the sky wasn't black any more it was getting grey, and cloudy. Very cloudy. The new day was starting and I was running to greet it.

When I hit the top car park, I could see the Forth and the islands. No sunrise for me today, but somehow that didn't matter. That treat will come. I get why Lena loves to run at this time of day in the winter.

I got back home in good time for breakfast, and boy was I ready for it (I have to run for well over an hour to stem hunger pangs!). Shower and off to work, just like everyone else.

I loved my morning run, it was a totally different experience to running in the evening darkness. Who'd have thought it. I know every run is different, but this is almost like a different sport - just the legs move the same way! I got another new idea from @BecsF1 and @LongJogRoz who've been running in the moonlight and from @ScotLassRuns trail running at night. Am I brave enough! Well I've bought a hat with a light on it so I have to at least try don't I.....

There was a downside. After my run I got really stiff and was quite sore for a day or two.  I suspect that running early doors in the winter, I need to do more to warm up and I definitely need to stretch more. I am a warm weather runner, I need to take care in the cold. And I did rush my stretches a bit and I'm paying for it. But hey, every niggle is a lesson to learn isn't it!

My running journey never ceases to amaze me. Running was at first just about one foot in front of the other. Then when I started training for a half, I realised it's also about your head and I focussed on my motivation and discipline (that's still a challenge!).  Doing a couple of races taught me that I am more competitive than I like to let on. Now that my first marathon has become a reality, I'm having to think practically, in particular about how to fit in the runs, how to train in the time available.  Early morning runs in winter are a very useful addition to my repertoire.

Once again,  the support, advice and encouragement from myTwitter pals is taking me faster and further on my trail.  Thanks to Lena, I've not just got even more flexibility into my marathon training which will help me manage my time better, I've got a new way to run and to enjoy running. Thank you Lena! 

Barcelona, here I come!

Have a good week, enjoy your running or whatever thing you do that is taking you on life's journey!

Take care