Becoming a grown up Is a piece that I wrote for a great running magazine LIKE THE WIND
Every year something changes. You learn something new, you understand something better, you slowly but surely grow up. It is nearly 5 years ago that I had my twins and I have seen them go from babies to toddlers to pre schoolers but they are far from being grown ups. During that time my running has developed in the same way. From baby runner shuffling along just aiming to reach that one mile taking tiny steps, to toddler runner getting better in leaps and bounds taking it all in and trying it all out. Throwing the odd tantrum when frustration set in. Looking for a guide in everyone who had been there and tried it all before me. Getting better at running and getting better at managing life and running, gaining confidence to pass my knowledge on. I’m still growing.
I did run before having my twins but not competitively and my race CV was sparse. 12 weeks after the twins came along watching my first live marathon and partner complete his first marathon my seed of inspiration was planted. I entered a marathon within days and that is when as a runner I really began to grow. Seed firmly planted It needed some real care and attention. Good nutrition, regular runs, mental stimulation from books, magazines and social media, Nutrition (maybe not good) was fairly easy, food and water, but the regular running required a schedule, so I took the easy option of my Nike band plan ( that band seems so retro now) and my marathon running and growth as a runner began.
I learned very quickly that where there is a will there is most definitely a way, something that I have often forgotten whilst I have been growing in to a grown up runner. The little downs and things that go wrong or not quite right knock your confidence and wobble your will. But in my phase (right now) as a teenage runner (one who feels able to pass on words of wisdom) let me tell you this, if you are willing there is most definitely always a way and that way is fuelled by commitment and dedication. My longest ever run in August 2011 of 20 miles was fuelled by a Mars bar and a banana! Which I may return to one day when I head to the trails. In time I progressed to gels which I carried on my wrist in a sweat band. Oh how I have grown, I now use a race belt!
After the months, 4 to be precise of exploring routes and ideas, playing with pace and technology and finding things out for myself I was able to run my first marathon. Being a youngster I was happy with what I had taught myself achieving 26.2 miles in 3hrs and 50 minutes.
Growing out of my toddler stage wanting and needing more I sought out the teachings of those who had grown up in the running world long before me, time to go to some kind of school. I’d been to the local toddler group a tiny group of runners similar to myself it was now time to move on.
Marathon stripes earned, I now felt I could join a running club so I did and met my first ever actual real life coach, not a magazine or a book, a person. I also met other more grown up (in their running years) peers, people who could really help me develop more and grow. I met my coach in the October and before the year was out he was adding his knowledge to my running and with all the input I continued to to grow into a 3:19 marathon runner. I have questioned my teachers and wondered if they were just trying to make me suffer. I’ve gone off and tried things that they have recommended against and come back again when I’ve tried it for myself. I’m hoping my twins don’t do this too much as they grow but I am sure they will.
I am still growing as a runner and I am very aware of that now. I’ve been and sought out more information, reading and studying and have the theoretical knowledge to pass on. In practice I still have so much to learn from others and from my own mind and body. Someone told me when I first went to running club that it takes 10 years to reach your peak, only 5 years to go until I am a running grown up? Maybe, but something tells me I’ve still got a lot of growing to do.