PictureRunning the Bracknell Half Marathon and Frimley Park 10km
Back in the Autumn of 2007, about a year after Matthew was born, a friend introduced me to the world of running. In an attempt to get fitter and drop a bit of weight I started to pound the pavements either early in the morning, just as the dawn chorus started, or as the sun set at the end of the day. At first I couldn't even run 100 metres before having to stop and catch my breath, but after a couple of months my fitness improved and I was soon able to jog my way round a 5km (3 mile) route comfortably.

The same friend then asked me if I would like to enter a running event which was due to take place a month or two later. It was a 10km (6.1 mile) race in Staines, Middlesex. I somewhat nervously agreed and devised a training plan to increase my mileage in preparation for the event. I will never forget the feeling I had as I stood at the start line with some very serious looking runners alongside me. To be honest I felt like I shouldn't have been there as I knew that there was absolutely no way I was going to be able to compete with all the super fit people around me.  

However, I quickly realised that the race wasn't actually about how fast I was in comparison with others - it was all about me achieving a personal goal and  competing against myself to see if I could push my body just a little bit further and a little bit faster than before. I soon also saw that by entering such events I was able to motivate myself to keep running throughout the year as there was always a goal to work towards. Therefore, over the next 2 years I entered and participated in a number of different races and at the same time increased my race distance to the half marathon (13.2 miles).

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Some of my medals
PictureBack at home after completing the Moonwalk
Everything was going well until late 2009 - I was training to take part in the Windsor Half Marathon for the second year running when I injured my knee and found myself unable to run for an extended period of time. The frustration at not being able to get my trainers on and set off out the door 4 or 5 times a week eventually turned to resignment and I soon found myself playing the part of couch potato once more.

Eventually I became determined to reap the benefits of structured exercise again and put my trainers back on, but this time to power walk my way around the local neighbourhood. I found that this didn't aggravate my old injury and I was also pleased to find that I actually still appeared to be relatively fit. Within a month of starting to train again I completed the Windsor Twilight Walk, a 13 mile walk around the beautiful sights of Windsor and its Great Park. Spurred on by this I then entered the London Moonwalk in 2011 (I was a volunteer at the event in 2010). This annual event starts at Midnight and involves mostly women walking either 13 or 26 miles around London in decorated bras to raise money for breast cancer research. I was very proud to complete the full 26 miles in a fraction over 6 hours and at the same time raise funds for such a worthy cause.

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Just 3 months later the family was teleported into a whole new world as we made our move to Qatar. All thoughts of running were put to one side as we adjusted to our new home in the Middle East and with the news soon after that I was pregnant! Fast forward to late 2012, when Ethan was a few months old, and I dabbled with the idea of running again by half heartedly training to run in the Doha College 10km race. I completed it but was so disappointingly slow compared to my performance in previous years that I lost interest in the sport, using the heat, not having any time, etc as reasons why I couldn't train.

This week my friendship with running has shakily become reacquainted. I have started a brand new journey, which has some similarities to the one I commenced back in 2007. This time however I am a little bit older and somewhat heavier than I was then, but after 3 consecutive nights of walking out the door to pound (or plod!) the pavements I am beginning to remember why I used to like to run so much. Maybe completing 5km in 34 minutes is a far cry from the 27 minutes I used to be able to do it in but I know that it will get easier as the days and weeks pass by and that gradually the walking breaks I currently need to take will reduce and disappear. I may now be 40 but I am determined to get my body back into shape and can't wait to be able to show off a leaner and fitter me over the coming months!!

22/08/2013 3:55pm

Hi again! I've been running since 2003, but the last few years have been really more off than on. I didn't manage to do last year's Doha College run, but did the first one in 2011. My husband did it with me, and though I finished the 10 km at just over 1 hr 3 min, I was happy that our daughter saw us happy to finish it, even if we finished far from first. We have just started running outdoors again in Doha, heading out each weekday morning at 5:00 a.m. I am so slow I feel like I am walking backwards, but I'm out there doing it. And so are you. It's not easy here, but we CAN do it! Hope to see you at the 3rd DC race in November!

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22/08/2013 3:58pm

BTW, I've nominated you for the Liebster Award. More details at link below:
https://gypsyintheme.squarespace.com/pyramids-in-the-me-

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    Sam is married to Simon and has 4 children who take up a lot of her time. She is currently living outside the UK for the very first time, having  relocated to Qatar in the Middle East in August 2011 

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