Thursday 6 October 2016

Life: Running My First Half Marathon

Dublin Half Marathon

No, no you haven't landed on the wrong blog and you read right, today I'm going to talk a little bit about running. Let me explain...

Unless you follow me on Snapchat (frenchfoodieind) you are unlikely to know that I'm a runner. I run a few times a week, about 8 km at least 3 times a week (sometimes more, sometimes less) but that hasn't been always been the case. I used to be sporty-ish as a child and then I got quite lazy in my teenage years and twenties, however it all changed in early 2013. The year I turned 30 I made some serious resolutions, I started working for myself and I decided to exercise. I think it was probably because of the blog, I wanted to find a balance between self-indulging and exercising but also because I wanted to get fitter. I started swimming, got bored of swimming, and slowly started running, quickly realised I actually enjoyed it.

Prior to 2013 I actually didn't see the point in running and just the idea of it made me feel exhausted. I was even thinking 'Why the hell are they doing this to themselves?' when I spotted runners while on my way to the pub on a Friday night. Running a half marathon was obviously out of the question too.

Three years later I'm so happy I didn't give up and feel/look so much fitter than I used to be. As you may well know, I'm prone to overindulgence and I'm not the healthiest eater, so I reckon running probably just prevents me from becoming obese considering the amount of food I eat... More importantly, because I work from home a few days a week, running is a way for me to start the day, have a routine and have more energy to tackle the day. It's not always easy to motivate myself in the morning especially when it's cold, rainy or dark but once I've gone for a run I enjoy the endorphin kick and feel so much better for the day.

Mr. FFID started running a year after me and he would have never imagined being a runner either. While I love running by myself, it's also great to motivate each other to go for a run together. Last year him and a friend ran their first half marathon in Galway. Richie Big Finger and I went along to support them but ended up having brunch in Kai, the food was so good we lost track of time and actually missed Mr. FFID reaching the finishing line... I think he'll never forgive me for this.

I never thought of running a race myself until last April when I decided to register for the Dublin half marathon. I encouraged Mr. FFID and Ms. E to do so too, I'm persuasive like that. I had really good intentions to train seriously and to watch my diet but I didn't really succeed in that side of it. It's not that I eat too bad anyway and I ran a few times a week but I felt I could have trained a little more seriously for the big day. After Electric Picnic I went dry for three full weeks (it deserves its own blog post) and that's the healthiest I got.

On the big day I was a little nervous and imagined myself collapsing. The weather couldn't have been worse, it was raining and it was windy and I kind of wished I'd signed up for a race in a sunny country instead. I wasn't alone though and that's the good thing. The three of us stuck together and ran, ran, ran... There were thousands of people, some younger than me, some older, some looking super fit and some looking not so fit but we were all in the same boat, trying to complete 13 miles. I didn't try to go fast, I just wanted to keep running, without stopping or walking. The bad weather was actually fine and motivated me even more. People on the sidewalks were so encouraging and two of my friends came to support us (in the rain) which really helped. The first eight miles were the easiest, it actually went fast and I had time to do lots of thinking and reflecting on my life (haha). Then it got a little tougher and the last three miles were the most difficult part, especially the last mile with unpleasant hills. My back was sore and I felt like my knee was about to fall off, plus I started giggling at the end which I'm pretty sure meant I was delirious.

Throughout the run I could see the sign for each mile and when at the end it said '13 mile' and I saw the word 'Believe' underneath I felt super emotional. There was no way I could give up, I was about to surpass myself. I then spotted my friends clapping and cheering and saw the crowds of people on the side and just before I passed the finishing line I started sobbing.

I did it. We did it. 13.1 miles. 21.1 kilometers. I high-fived Mr. FFID and Ms. E and then grabbed the goodie bag and ate lots of crap food that was given to us that I wouldn't normally eat. I was exhausted but felt such a high at the same time.

I ran 13.1 miles and didn't die, I couldn't believe it. I was so proud of myself. I was hoping to do it in 2h30 and I actually completed the run in 2h25 which was even better than I was hoping for. I know for some it may not sound so significant but for me it was about much more than running, it was about believing, challenging myself and not giving up. Running has helped me through the ups and downs of entrepreneurship and freelance life over the last few years, it kept me sane and it made me stronger and this race is an achievement I am proud of. I would have never thought I would ever complete a half marathon and I would have never imagined working for myself neither back in 2012 but I believe both are intertwined.

And now dear readers, I hope you don't think this blog post is about preaching or telling you to start running. I just wanted to tell you my story about how just because something seems hard or even impossible, that's what makes it worthwhile in the end. Getting out of your comfort zone is scary, it always starts with fear, and often brings difficulties and challenges but the sense of achievement is definitely one of the best feelings in the world.

A photo posted by Ketty aka FFID πŸ’ƒπŸ» (@frenchfoodieindublin) on