After running the London Marathon in 2010 I continue my pursuit for sporting greatness without the aid of running shoes. I now run 'Barefoot' full time and aim to run the London Marathon 2012 'bare'

My blog is an account of training for running, triathlon, staying fit for life and pushing my body to it's limits to become 'superfit'. I hope it will inspire others to go out and get fit for life and see how enjoyable and rewarding it can be

Monday, 9 November 2009

Running bug

Having finally been accepted to run the London Marathon I am both nervous and scared but also very excited to be finally persuing my childhood dream. Maybe that's a little sad, most kids dream of being doctors or becoming astronauts (fair enough I want to do those too) but from the moment it became apparent that I was a half decent runner, probably at the age of nine and being particularly lanky probably helped. As I grew a little older and took it a little more seriously (actually running cross country and not stopping around the corner and waiting like every other sane child did)and by the age of about 11 I really grew to enjoy running and was one of the better runners in my year and it was about this age that I decided I wanted to run the London Marathon. Looking back this probably makes me a weird 11 year old.

As my school years progressed me and my best friend would talk about how she would train me to to run the marathon but wont be doing any of the running herself, she'd do it from her car because by the time i could run the marathon she'd be a really cool 18 year old with a car.... of course!! Having spent many years fighting with PE teachers who insisted running was not a proper sport to be graded as a GCSE I walked away with average PE grades and a big chip on my shoulder..... just because I couldn't play netball I wasn't a sportswoman!

At the age of 17 I left the school I grew to hate and resent as they never developed my potential. So off my own back I continued to run a little with cadets but eventually stopped altogether until the age of 21. Having spent years partying, smoking and letting myself go I decided to change things a little . I spent a few weeks jogging around Wimbledon Park with Kirsty who decided she didn't want to do it anymore so I stopped again!

A Year later I was desperate to get that feeling back that I only temporarily experienced in Wimbledon Park and after yet another drunken family do I agreed with my step grandfather that i would one day run Comrades Ultra Marathon in the Drakensberg mountains..... That was it, I joined a gym and before venturing out onto the streets I took to the treadmill.... within moments that feeling was back..... and I'm not talking about the burning (being a 20 a day smoker and binge drinker at the time). I almost instantly signed up for a 10km race which was 5 weeks ahead, it'd be tight but with the promise of £100 if i came in under an hour I trained hard.... I got my sub 1 Hour that time around!!!

Amongst the celebrations on a drunken night out I somehow agreed to work in Botswana and within 2 and a half months I was on a plane to Africa, I nearly left my running shoes behind thinking I would not run out there! How wrong i was, this was the place I truly fell in love with running, being cheered by the kids on the streets as you run a measly 3km (a scorching one at that), being chased by warthogs, run ins with Ele's and frequently running home towards an African Sunset. That's the beauty with running, you can run anywhere anytime, no opening hours, no fancy equipment, just you and the road and scenery of your choice!

After Botswana I headed to Capetown in the shape of my life so far and I raced a 10km, the African spirit and comraderie in running out there was truly amazing! Then I returned to the UK with a bump. Without a gym membership I had to take to the streets of Medway (very hilly) most days were lovely runs but some days I'd have gangs of 'hilarious' kids finding it funny to throw stones at me.... the love affair between me and running was well and truly off.

I then met my amazing husband Craig who was always driving me to get back out and run (I think he wanted some time with his computer games) but I never did it, the area we lived in was rough and totally uninspiring, especially compared to what I was used to. Then we Moved to Crystal Palace and the love affair was well and truly 'on' again. Running around Crystal Palace park was amazing, the undulating hills, the greenery, the lake...... then whislt I was verging on a breakthrough and being ready for a 1/2 marathon I got a bad ear infection which lasted long enough to throw me off my training.

Then came the hard times, the country was heading for recession, my husband couldn't find work and we had to leave London. We moved to Newark in Nottinghamshire and it was the best move I ever made.

My on off relationship with running has been well and truly on since March and have lost a stone and a half as a result. Even through tough times with my wisdom teeth running has been my drug to temporarily ease my pain. Now I get to train for the London Marathon, a long term dream of mine that I will fufil. I'm taking things easy right now whilst I await surgery on my teeth but come December I'll be training full throttle and I'm going to keep you with me every step of the way.......

Gemma well and truly has the running bug and it is here to stay :)

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