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How I got to the half-marathon start line

May 30th, 2015

I have a strange relationship with running.

I struggle at persevering with things that I’m not very good at. Skiing, playing the clarinet, driving and gardening are all things that I’ve tried and mostly failed at, and have given up unless it’s an emergency (well, that’s driving. There’s never been a clarinet emergency yet.)

So when I first turned up at Glasgow Frontrunners a couple of years ago and couldn’t run more than 50 metres without thinking my lungs were going to explode, I didn’t think I would stick with it. However, I’m about to run the Edinburgh Half Marathon, and I’m not sure quite how I got here but Frontrunners and the people I’ve met through the club are a major part of my transition from someone who couldn’t run down the road to someone who can run that 13.1 miles. I know that the club’s been a huge part of it because my running didn’t really start to improve until I started attending regularly, pushing myself to go faster and further with the help of the jog leaders, and most importantly gaining the confidence to believe that yes, I was a runner; and yes I could run outside by myself without people pointing and laughing.

Training for the Edinburgh half has been mostly enjoyable. I knew I could comfortably run about 15k but had never had much success with going further than that. I could never get into The Zone and feeling tired, bored and sore would always stop me. A training group with Frontunners, with others who were attempting their first half marathon and a baby-steps approach of increasing the distance by about a mile a week worked wonders. Learning from more experienced runners about nutrition, pacing and the best inspirational running music also made a huge difference. I’m really looking forward to the race and will proudly wear my club t-shirt, which is rather different to a couple of years ago when I was too embarrassed to enter races as a club member because I thought I was too slow.

I still have bad days; tired days and ‘meh’ days when I think I can’t be bothered or that I will be slower than everyone else. But I always surprise myself when I put my trainers on and get out there, and I finally get the role that your mind plays in running any kind of distance. I do agree with Alex Heminsley that if you have legs and lungs, you can run: I just have a great group of pals to run with too.

Heather Noller