Run Mummy Run Community Ambassador, Shona Darley, explains why she is forgetting about times and pressure and how she is finding her ‘happy’ through running.
“Do more of what makes you happy”. How many times have you heard that recently? Perhaps it was one of your New Year’s resolutions? I have been thinking lately about what makes me happy. One of the things that makes me happiest is running.
Even though I love running it’s hard sometimes to feel satisfied. I always want more. I often hear runners saying that they want to run faster or further… or faster and further. When did we lose the joy of ‘just running?’ Or the enjoyment from simply completing a 5k, 10k or our first half marathon?
I took part in a parkrun recently and I pushed hard and couldn’t have run any quicker on the day. I was running on a different course than usual, as part of my club’s challenge. My pace was consistent for the whole three miles. I finished strong. Yet, when I looked at my time and I was still disappointed.
Later, when I got my official parkrun time through though, I started to reflect. I realised that despite my initial disappointment, I’d actually achieved a massive course PB – running 38 seconds quicker than I had before. I remember getting that previous PB and it hurt far more than this effort.
This sparked my interest. I looked back at my results on this particular course over the past four years. During that time I have in fact taken over two and a half minutes off my time.
It is easy to over look the progress we have made, especially when we start comparing ourselves to others. Sometimes it is good to look back at where we started and to remember how far we have come.
It is useful to remember how hard you found that first complete mile when you started out running. Now you can run two miles, three miles, 13 miles or even 26.2 miles comfortably. It’s all progress.
I saw a photo taken of me running recently and in that moment I realised how far I’ve come. I’ve gone from hating running to enjoying it and running three marathons. I ran every day for over a year. My body is far stronger than I ever realised.
Running has helped me to develop and inner strength. My mind can help me push myself and takes me to places that I never thought I could go. I believe that my legs carry me for the first few miles but my mind will always carry me to the finish line.
My aim for this year is to complete my first ultra marathon – 52 miles! So for the foreseeable future I’m ditching times and concentrating on distance. I’ve been doing some long, slow runs along the Cotswold way. The hills seem to get bigger, the mud gets deeper, the wind seems to blow a little harder and yet I’m loving these runs. I feel alive when I’m running the trails.
It’s like being a kid again, rustling through the leaves, getting wet muddy shoes. Times don’t even matter. The old me wouldn’t even have considered doing these routes. I was a definite road runner focused on pace. Now I’m a complete convert.
So my challenge to you is to ‘do more of what makes you happy’. Ditch the pressure, enjoy the run, and smile.