When I was told I’d be writing the next Team Purdue blog, a whirlwind of possible running topics sprung into my head. Favourite kit items, race, running bucket list, future goals and ambitions. Dream run with your favourite three people (Chrissie Wellington, Lucy Charles-Barclay and Charlotte). The usual stuff.
But I decided to ask my Hull half running partner which words they thought represented me and running. I got a one-word answer; freedom. Their message hit home like a thunderbolt - in late 2016, I changed the entire course of my life and running has quietly, consistently and simply been there alongside my journey to my new life.
Running truly is freedom and, for me, my new life journey has accompanied my two marathons, two half marathons and many other 10k’s, 5k’s and parkruns. In amongst my medals, I’ve also gained determination, stubbornness, focus, self-belief (this one is a work in progress!), enthusiasm and a drive to achieve my goals. I used to shy away from life, but I’ve overcome my fears and as my dress size has reduced, my smile has got bigger and my eyes are now lit with happiness and excitement.
There’s nothing more simple and freeing than a run. It clears my head of my workday. I have no idea what I think about mid-run; but by the time I’ve finished, I’m smiling, sweating and things are just better. Simple isn’t it. But a run on a dark night, in the rain or being beeped and shouted at by people in white vans (so stereotypical!) isn’t so freeing. Those are the runs you fight to complete through tears, the ones that make you think your dreams may not become true - if millions of people are sat watching tv it’s me that’s wrong for trying to achieve my goals. But every run teaches you something. It might be kit related, which gel doesn’t agree with you, or my personal favourite is the run when your music dies halfway round as you forgot to charge your iPod before (I’m so old school it’s unreal 😉).
But running highs truly are highs. Meeting your online friends in real life. I know when I run I’m supported by over 60,000 Run Mummy Run members and over 10,000 Lonely Goats. Smiles and laughs with random people spectating on the course. If I ever meet the woman again from Manchester 2018 who told me she was proud of me, I’ll give her the biggest hug. The post-run and race celebratory food and drink. The bling!! Plus guessing what random things you’ll find in your race goody bag.
I’m not especially competitive timewise but even when I’m finishing a race I’ll always clap and acknowledge the speedies who already have their medal. Because that’s camaraderie; at this point I say hello to Lucy who I finished Hull half with as she was struggling. This 40-something imparted some life advice, possibly unwarranted, for the last mile and it was an honour to help her complete her race.
Adam has taught me that success could be measured by some people just on a clock but sometimes the best runs or biggest successes just can’t be measured in time or WAVA gradings. So, in that sense, I’m a true runner even if my name is a bit further down the results list than I may like. Hang on, I just said I wasn’t competitive! Maybe just a little bit…
So why does Team Purdue make it into my story? I’ve been working with Charlotte and Adam since November 2018 in my build up for Manchester 2019. Their knowledge, passion and enthusiasm is unreal. I even called Adam mid run at Manchester when it wasn’t going too well and he calmed me down and off I went again. I’m treated like a superstar, I do sessions that are brilliant, especially my tempo runs.
I’m almost finished my g&t, so it’s time to close my blog. To my Team Purdue Performance family - you guys rock and I’m so excited to meet you all in person soon.
To my running friends - never give up, wear all the kit and go smash it. To my non-running friends and family - I’ll get you all in trainers one day! Because I’m not stopping so you may as well join me. To my Hull half partner - thank you for being the amazing person you are and you will get that marathon medal too one day 😉.
This quote sums up me and my running life perfectly:
“I run to feel complete, to feel alive, to feel happy and to feel free. I run to visit beautiful places, to overcome my fears and to remind myself - and others - that our limits may not be where we think they are.” Chrissie Wellington
Happy running! Catherine
Purdue Performance Quick Fire Questions
Favourite race – Manchester marathon
Favourite post-race food – Curry and a pint
Hardest thing you find about running – Defeating the part of my brain that wants me to quit
Favourite film – Legally Blonde (plus all Harry Potter and Star Wars!)
Pre-race song – ‘Don’t stop me now’ by Queen