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This is a guest post by Jill from Proper Fud 

I run to keep active.  I run for my sanity.  I run to ease the guilt of my indulged sweet tooth.  I run from the endless questions posed by a 3 year old.  I could do other things, but I choose to run.  I wanted to run for a long time.  I cycled home from work along the canal, passing the joggers and wondering enviously how their lives allowed them to be out exercising at that time. I couldn’t fit in a running course around my job so I pedalled on, and took solace in the fact that my commute and crèche pick-up added enough physical activity to my daily routine.

For years in college, I was an avid fan of Dublin Bus, munching vending machine Hunky Dorys while planning pints for later (in my head – this was partly pre-mobiles!).  When I got my first job I realised I could get around Dublin a lot faster on my trusty Raleigh Lizard purchased with my confirmation money.  Seeing I wasn’t actually allergic to exercise I became a gym girl, lifting, pumping, doing too many bad sit-ups in a fast paced class while being shouted at, staring glassy eyed at Home & Away, feet thumping away on a treadmill.  Then, spurred on by a minor back injury in 2005 I took up Pilates.  Only this has given me pleasure and continues to be part of my routine year on year, pre-natal, post-natal, and non-natal!

Learning to run was a funny thing.  Kinda hard to explain to people that you have to learn to put one foot in front of the other at speed. I’d tried to road run before, and always ended up coming home beetroot-faced and sore of knee.  But I learned to walk, I learned to cycle, I learned to swim and I even tried to learn to Irish Dance once even (as long as neither of my sons show Billy Elliott tendencies, I’ll get away with failing at that one).  So I decided to learn to run.   And, along with the birth of my second son, that was my biggest physical achievement of 2012.  Funnily enough, it was that government-mandated and much-welcomed break in my paid employment they call maternity leave that finally allowed me the time to get out and start my running course when little T was 14 weeks old.

I took up running in late Autumn, figuring if I could get the technique and continue through the hardest part of the year – with inclement weather and a distracting social scene (not so hectic for me with a 5 month old mind) – then I’d more than likely keep it up through the milder Spring.  I went to my first few Running Made Easy classes, dreading the rain drops, but relishing running while cars clogged the road beside our group.

Quickly, after my 8 week course, that fear left too as I enjoyed the cooling drops 3 or 4km into a run.  I signed up to my first 5km – jogged at a nice pace through Marlay Park with reindeer antlers thank you very much and am currently looking forward to my first 10km, The Great Ireland Run in April.  That’s actually a lie – I did do the womens’ mini marathon once, in 2004 in 65 mins with youth and adrenaline on my side.  Last week I ran as snow pelted down, and I can’t say I didn’t love it.  Now 2-3 times a week when my husband opens the front door home from work I’m waiting to push past him.   I relish the hour with my hands free from nappies and jigsaw pieces, nothing for them to do but push through the air.  My feet landing one in front of the other, unencumbered by a baby bouncing merrily to a nursery rhyme.  I arrive home, refreshed, and stretch with a pre-schooler imitating and clambering on me.  I’m happy, I’m loose limbed, and I’m ready for story time.

I’m back to work in 6 weeks. We’ve 4 mouths to feed, mountains of laundry to do, constant tidying, wiping and playing to get through after the  work-day is done.  But I’m still hopeful for my fledgling running career.  My body wants it now and although I know it won’t be easy to fit in, it’ll still be easier than making classes on time, or fitting in the gym.  It’s only January now, there’ll be a grand stretch in the evenings anytime soon.  So watch out streets, it’ll be kiddie bedtime done, then earphones in and I’ll be pounding the paths on dusky summer evenings clearing my head for the next  day to come.



When did you start running?

Last year, the day after St. Patrick’s Day to be precise!

How often do you run, and how far? 

Four times a week. At the moment 5k but I am building towards 8k in 2 weeks’ time, then 10k in a month.

What is it that you like about running?

I like that you can feel the effects of it so quickly unlike for example with a workout class. Within two weeks you feel much fitter, healthier and it is great for shedding a few pounds.

Do you listen to music when running? 

Sometimes. If I am going for a longer run yes, but if I’m only going to be running for 30 minutes it is not essential.

Do you run on your own or with someone else?

I run with my boyfriend sometimes but I much prefer running alone.

What kind of runners do you wear?

Asics gel 1150 but they need to be replaced as they’re about two or two-and-a-half years old.

What sports bra do you wear? 

I have a few good Nike ones or whatever I have clean!

Do you participate in any other complementary sports (yoga, pilates etc)? 

I have recently started playing badminton again with work colleagues. I used to play as a teenager and I do the occasional gym class and go walking.

Do you frequently participate in races / fun runs? 

We have signed up for three fun runs/competitive races in the next six weeks and intend to do them maybe every couple of months over the next year.

Have you ever had any running-related injuries?

No, not really. When I started out I had the odd knee or back complaint but I think that is common when starting out, they disappeared after a couple of weeks.



This is a guest post by Siun Dunne

Have you ever heard of passive running? If not, allow me to explain. Even though running has been a part of my life for as long as I can remember, it’s been a passive constant, my mother has been running for over 20 years. She ran, and still does run, socially. To some, the concept of running socially, like running passively is paradoxical as many perceive running as a solitary pastime. Saturday mornings in our house would prove the opposite; it’s quite the hub of stretching, discussing routes and chit chattering.

Siun and her mum

Siun and her mum

While I have apparently gotten most of my mother’s genes, the running gene (I’ve just created a gene!) managed to transcend my genetic makeup. It wasn’t until I decided I wanted to give the running thing a go that I realised just how hard it was. Not only was I physically unready, but also and even more challenging, my head was unfit for the run. Shoving myself out the door, was a trial in itself which involved lots of bartering, arguing and threatening myself. If I didn’t go, I berated myself, was frustrated and disappointed, and the guilt would linger over me. When I did manage to get out there, while I could run, I could never say that I enjoyed my time on the roads. I never revelled in the headspace I had heard so much about.

It wasn’t until I joined Tina’s running club that I realised that I, like my mother, needed the sociability to get me going. I joined in late October last year, without knowing anyone else, and being a little shy and nervous. The obvious insecurities plagued me; not being able to keep up the pace was the one that had me very nearly doing a very illegal U-turn 4 minutes before the first meeting. The girls welcomed me immediately and accepted my ability and pace without making me feel like I was holding them back (which I probably was!)

and they’re off!

After a few weeks of lagging behind, almost losing my breath and not knowing the routes, I became a little more comfortable. I upped my attendance from once a week to two nights and that’s when I feel, I turned the corner. The second weekly run made running a regular habit for me, a constant in my life.

A year in, running is now a real part of my life, the doubt and insecurities have dissipated. I genuinely look forward to going, meeting the girls, chatting about routes, running gear, weekends, children and everything in between.  While some of the members have run 5ks, 10ks and half marathons, most of us are there for the healthy habit and the sense of fulfilment.

I began as a leader recently when the brilliant Gillian left for Canada. I’ve enjoyed welcoming new members, meeting more people, and encouraging the runners within these women. I’ve realised that satisfaction isn’t always easily achieved in life, but running is one such area that provides satisfaction and in turn, breeds confidence where before, there was none. I love playing an active part in that little miracle.

You can read more of Siun’s writing on her blog or follow her on Twitter

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