So by now you should all have a good idea about how impulsive I can be. I rarely spend time to fully think things over and usually just jump right in at the deep end before figuring out if I can swim or not. Well I’ve done it again.
I was reading a blog last week about someone who took up running and about how much she enjoyed it and the ways it had changed her life. It sounded so positive and doable and motivational and before I knew it... I’d signed up for a half marathon. *sigh*
To begin my ‘training’ (ha! That sounds so ridiculous coming from me) I’ve joined a women’s beginners running club organised by Active Newcastle which will build me up gradually from not running at all to being able to run legitimately at a pace marginally faster than walking.
‘But what’s this got to do with studying?’ I hear you all cry... Well you’re right, this blog is meant to be about my life as an Open University student and running doesn’t fit into that at all, does it? Well. As it happens, the OU is playing an integral part in this here running adventure of mine. Let me explain.
I didn’t choose to run for Guide Dogs just because I think puppies are cute. They are, but that’s not the reason. The reason is because my dear, dear friend Tim Musson has a beautiful guide dog named Summer without whom he would struggle to get to and from his job in the city and wouldn’t have nearly as much independence as he does. Tim is a truly astonishing fella but Summer is just the icing on his cake. Until I met Tim I had no idea of the work Guide Dogs do – it’s not just about training up the dogs and then handing them off to new owners, the charity is involved with each dog throughout its entire life – both during their working years and after their retirement. Tim and I became friends because we’re both OU students and I’m running for Guide Dogs because I love him and Summer to bits and would like to show my appreciation for their friendship.
'Now I dunno if it’s just me, but I have this crazy notion that us OUers belong to some secret society and that we’re all guaranteed to like each other'
So it’s because of a link to the OU that I’ve decided to do this run, however there’s another OU link in this tale too. Being a wannabe-tech-savvy-twenty-first-century-girl I decided to keep a record of my progress using an iPhone app – one of these ones that track your route and works out distances and calories and speeds and whatnot.
Whilst setting up my account online I had a browse of their blog and came upon an entry by a fella who lives in my homeland of Newcastle. I read with interest as he explained how he’d been a cyclist for a while before starting to run but the fitness didn’t translate between the two so he was forced to start from basics (like me!) and has gradually worked up to really enjoying it and running regularly. In fact, as a result of his newfound love of sport and exercise he’s embarked on a BSc in Sports and Fitness... with the OU! Now I dunno if it’s just me, but I have this crazy notion that us OUers belong to some secret society and that we’re all guaranteed to like each other, so when I saw that he was a fellow OUer I decided to get in touch.
After a few messages back and forth on Twitter I’m pleased to tell you all that the lovely Marc Dobson has agreed to be my running mentor. He’s going to keep an eye on me and check in with me a couple of times a week to track my progress and keep me motivated with advice and moral support. He’s aiming for a career in coaching/training so he’s more than willing to get some experience helping lil’ old me (poor Marc, hasn’t got a clue what he’s let himself in for does he!). Who knows, I might join him on a run in the future!
So there you have it – without the OU I probably wouldn’t have ended up on this branch of my now rather bushy tree of life. I know I’ve blogged in the past about efforts to lose weight and none of them have come to fruition, but I think they were for the wrong reasons and I didn’t have the encouragement I needed in order to progress. This time is different – the reason isn’t primarily weight loss. I’m not saying I’ll complain if I shed a stone (or three, or four) but I just want to feel a bit more alive, I hate feeling this sluggish and slow and I can’t mountain bike like I used to which is so demoralising I can’t even begin to explain.
I have to run – for my life!