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Running up That Hill

On a sunny day last July, I decided to go for a run.


There wasn't a reason behind it. I don't know exactly what made me want to do it.

I was walking by the Tower of London and just thought "what if I started running right now".


This thought isn't new, it's a thought that's come up every few years3 prior to that day.


Running was something that I mentally associated for most of my life with failure. With finishing last in P.E and not being able to run a mile without having to walk. With something tried in desperate attempts over the years to lose weight when I didn't feel good about myself.


I couldn’t understand how people were runners.


I used to watch my Mom run countless races, everything from a 10k to a full marathon, and I honestly thought her, and everyone else doing those races, was crazy.


They were crazy to me because for me running was impossible. It was impossible as a child and even as I got older and more athletic it was still impossible.


I had a lot of practised excuses of why I didn't run. Blaming it on my knees, my lungs, or my ankles was something I did continually over the years to explain why running wasn't for me.


And now and again I would run to test it out and see if maybe I was wrong. But those tests always left me feeling discouraged, feeling like I'd failed. So I'd resigned myself to the view that running would never be a form of exercise I could ever do or like.


But as my mom says, never say never.


On that day in July, something changed. For the first time, I finished a run and I didn't feel disappointed in myself. I finished feeling hopeful and curious about running, wondering if maybe this time this was something I could keep doing.


And then a few days later I ran again. And days turned into weeks, and weeks into months, and months into a year.


And the first few weeks were so hard. Running didn't feel impossible but it still felt incredibly difficult. I still couldn't understand why people said they enjoyed it.


Then a few months in, "It's Raining Men" blasting through my headphones on a quiet morning it clicked. In the last 2 minutes of that run, I felt a shock go through my entire body. I felt like I was flying and weightless and I'd never experienced anything like that.


And after that, I didn't stop running.


And at some point, it switched from not only running regularly or liking running but needing to run.


It wasn't until I couldn’t run because of an injury in April I realized how much I need it in my life.


I still can't really describe why I need to do it. A part of it definitely involves the satisfaction I get from doing something I never thought I'd be able to do, but it's also more than that.


Running gives me a release. It gives me minutes or hours where I don't need to think about anything other than my breath and my legs and I can let all my other thoughts and worries just fade away.


I didn't realize how much I need that on a regular basis until I got injured couldn't do it. And I realized how much I love it when I could do it again.


And running hasn't gotten any easier but on the days where it feels impossible, I try to keep one fact in mind.


One year ago I couldn't run a mile without stopping. Four months ago I ran ten.


And that's what keeps me running.

 

I'm running the Royal Parks Half Marathon on October 10th for the amazing charity Sense. Sense is a national charity that supports people who are deafblind and those with complex disabilities, to be understood, connected and valued. I came across Sense during my second year in university, looking for a way to begin volunteering again with people with complex disabilities. I volunteered with them for a few months in 2019, as a buddy to a young woman with cerebral palsy. I'm so excited to fundraise for them! If you'd like to donate please click this link!







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