Running …

Saturday was my tenth park run!

Yep, you read that right! Imagine, until this time year I had never ran, (except reluctantly to catch a bus or in sports lessons way back in school!) I didn’t know how to, I had poor self esteem because of my shape and size.

I was however motivated to learn, as an attempt to ward off SAD (seasonal depression, which was pressing in very hard last November)

I found and downloaded the wonderful NHS coachto5k (C25K) – it’s free- and basically taught myself to run.

It wasn’t easy … I remember the very first time I went to the gym at our swimming centre and stood on the treadmill and ran (slowly) … the programme’s strength is that it introduces the novice to interval running (walk, run, walk run etc) increasing the running intervals and decreasing the walking run by run.

I stuck at it – going to the gym three times a week for two months! I was determined to give it my best shot! Key for me was that I trusted the app, and learned to ignore and finally switch off the inner voice that to,d me ‘you can’t do this!’

Fast forward to the end of January this year and I could run for 30 minutes without stopping! That was a humongous breakthrough milestone moment for me! I added minutes (still on the treadmill) until I could run 5km… and then, golly, I had to learn to run off of the treadmill.

That wasn’t easy either – I transitioned by going to our indoor running track and went back to week 5 of C25K and took it from there! That worked, and in late March it was then time for me to brave the world outside – only I faced horrible slippery winter conditions.Yikes! I invested in spiked running shoes and from that point there was no stopping me. I drove to the park, ran 1km. Two days later I ran round the park twice. Next time I got a lift to the park and ran home. That was 2.5km. Another time I ran half way across Ruissalo to meet hubby who was walking the dogs from the other direction, and together we walked back to the car.

Running changed my life more than I can describe.

We don’t have a parkrun in Turku (yet) but I signed up, and on Saturday 21st April I caught the very early morning coach to Tampere (2 hours north of here) to run my first park run. My only aim was a) to find the start! and b) run the whole way without stopping! My hope was that I would complete it within an hour. I succeeded -beyond my expectations – running the 5km in under 45 minutes! (42.07)

You can see the course here

Please understand I don’t run fast or elegantly but I love it.

Yesterday was my tenth park run. (My ninth in Tampere).

My time hasn’t improved much … I ran the course this week in 41.26 (a minute slower than the week before!) … but I loved it. It was a beautiful run in the loveliest of winter conditions. Cold yes, but wonderful.

One of the most wonderful things about having gone up to Tampere for the park run is the new friends I’ve made – I call them my parkrun family. It’s the most inclusive, supportive group of internationally people I’ve met in Finland! I love going there.

There are now three parkrun in Finland. Sadly Turku isn’t one of them, but that means I can keep going to Tampere … and in December my plan is to get the park run in Helsinki (also 2h away from here)… anyone want to join me?

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