My running journey has been fun and at times very painful. I have had the pleasure of meeting some of the most important people in my life thanks to running and it has allowed me to continuously test my body as well as my mind.
I would not consider myself a natural runner, but I am better at the endurance side of sports. I enjoy being out for hours at a time whether is in a pool, up a mountain, on a bike or running a long trail. I could probably be faster, but I have accepted the aspects of running I enjoy and I don’t mind being ‘slow’ anymore. Timed goals are fantastic for some, but I have found that they have created an unnecessary pressure for me on the runs and I prefer to go off how my feeling that day.
I first started running when I was a member of East Coast martial arts, a kickboxing/kenpo karate club in South Dublin. I used to be heavier than I am now and I found that running really helped with my fitness, especially when I moved up to the senior classes. When I became a senior member the physical and technical demands of the sport were intense but exactly the challenge I wanted. On top of the training sessions during the week I committed to weekend sprint work and casual cycles with the other club members to get as fit as possible for our gradings at the end if the summer.
My first ‘runs’ were not proper training runs but more like plods along the nearby pier beside my house, and when I say plod, I mean a slow, heavy footfalls onto non-forgiving concrete. These plods, as I like to call them, turned into short jobs up to a kilometer then a break then another jog. The pier itself is 3 kilometers out and back, and then it was exactly km to and from the pier, and this became my 5 km loop. Eventually it got to a point where I could run to the pier and up the stairs, then the first bench, then the second and then at the end to the lighthouse! Despite not having any decent running gear, or any knowledge about the sport I persevered and built up the my first 10 km race, which was the Flora Women’s Mini Marathon.
I got to a point where I was quite kick at 5 km and 10 km, with admirable times of 20 minutes and 48 minutes respectively. Once the mini marathon was finished, I started to look to my new challenge and became obsessed with the sport of running. My martial arts training was also getting better and I enjoyed the feeling of being strong and mentally tough from all my hard work.
My runs got longer, a little slower and I began to push the distance every single time I went out. Over a couple of years this culminated in my decision to enter the Dublin Marathon in 2013, merely a week after my 18th birthday.