My love affair with running



I have reignited my affair with running lately.

I never fell out of love with it but just like human relationships, the one with running also sees ups and downs and there are times where it’s just a massive, massive effort.

In January a really gorgeous running friend of mine started coaching me. She’s a total superstar and is extremely qualified and I absolutely value her opinion and thoughts on all things running. We work together really well and she’s unlike any other running trainer or coach I’ve had. She’s heavily focused on injury prevention and she tailors my plan week by week gauging what I’ve done the week prior and she takes into consideration things going on in my private life too, like illness or stress or when my insomniac kids keep me up all night.

So about three months ago I’d send her these panicked messages after I’d run, typing through warm tears because I was just finding running so tough. Messages like, “I ran four marathons last year and I’m struggling to run 6km, I just don’t know what is wrong with me but it’s like wading through mud”. I really had no idea what was going on but up until that point I’d blamed my big year of running in 2015. But when it gets to three months post marathon and you’re still fatigued it’s not normal. I would come home and climb into bed with all my running gear still on. I just couldn’t keep up.

I’d find myself at the GP every few weeks complaining of weird symptoms and telling her that I just didn’t feel right. I was so tired, my neck hurt, my muscles were sore and weak and I felt this awful nervous anxiety all the time. At night my heart would beat out of my chest so hard the sheets would move. The final straw was one day when I was running my heart rate was well over 200 and I knew something was wrong.

I found out by accident that I have an overactive thyroid. It’s actually a really crap thing to have. You just feel bloody awful. Your body is basically working at triple speed and the symptoms are all miserable but by far the worst one for me was how much it affected my running.

Every run I’d message my coach telling her how bad things were and how much I hated it. I really hated every run for so many months and if I look back I think the thyroid issues started way back when I was still struggling with gallbladder problems. But because I am stubborn I just pushed through it all and did all my scheduled runs. It’s the worst time in my running life by far in terms of non enjoyment. I really just hated it.

Basically I was the unhealthiest healthy person I know. Certainly I was the only person who doesn’t drink, doesn’t smoke, exercises religiously and doesn’t even like eating preservatives who is always at the doctor. If your health insurance in Australia goes up next year I’m really sorry but it was probably my fault.

To cut a long story short I got given some thyroid pills and took them reluctantly. Within a couple of weeks I was a new person. I really didn’t see how badly I was feeling until I was 100% again, you just get so used to feeling shit that you think it’s normal. Honestly if you are a female around 40 and you have a fatigue that sleep doesn’t fix, get your thyroid checked. I really felt like I was losing my mind.

So now that my thyroid is functioning normally my running has taken off again. I’m flying up hills I used to have to walk up (if you live on the north shore in Sydney, that would be Pymble Hill), I never stop aside from traffic stops, I come home with loads left in the tank and every step I am loving. I look forward to all my runs and I’m back missing it on rest days. I look forward to 4.30am wake ups on sundays to see the moon through the trees as I head out for two hours on the road. It’s just back to being the beautiful time that I learned to love when I started running. My time.

I truly believe if more people didn’t quit for long periods of time when it got tough, then having to start all over again, we’d have far more happy runners out there. Don’t get me wrong I absolutely understand why people give it up. When it’s hard there is nothing enjoyable about it but now that I’ve been running for quite a few years I know that running has its peaks and troughs and that you just have to keep going. You have to ride out the storm to see the sun, just like in life.

Just never, ever, EVER stop.

Running is just too good to be without.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *