Hi! I’m Gillian/G/Coach G/GMacSpurr, thanks for popping by my blog. Normally I blog about races or running in general, but today’s blog is slightly different. I’ve been posting regular blogs now for the past few months, so thought it would be a good idea to do a blog about me – so you know a bit more about who is writing these. AND I just realised the other day, that I am coming up to my 3 year run-iversary, so figured it was the perfect time for a trip down memory lane!
I’m a Scot, and I live in the absolutely stunning Victoria, British Columbia. My husband and I moved from Scotland to Canada 3.5 years ago, and spent our first 3 years in Toronto. But before moving to Canada, I was unfit, unhealthy, and really had no idea about what to eat/drink that was good for me. Now I know that pretty much everything the big corporations/governments have told us is BULL – basically don’t eat/drink anything that is advertised on the tv!!
As I mentioned, I took up running 3 years ago, almost to the day. I wanted to get fit and healthy, and I saw running as a cheap activity to do (ahaahaa – I really had no clue). I had some old runners that I bought 10 years ago, and a sports bra, so I was good to go.
My first run can’t have been longer than 2 or 3km, and I hated every step of it. I couldn’t breathe. I didn’t know about the walk:run method so I struggled to continuously ‘run’. My lungs and legs were screaming at me, as was my brain, telling me to stop. I knew I looked ridiculous panting and wheezing and with a beetroot red face, but once I got home, I had a huge smile on my face. I felt incredible – I WAS A RUNNER! And from there, I went out 2-3 times a week….even when it was raining and snowing. It definitely wasn’t easy – most runs in that first few months I absolutely hated, but I liked being part of the ‘I’m a runner club’. It also helped that I was Clean Eating at the time, so combining the new eating plan with the running, I was slimming down and toning up.
I had no idea about pace or what distance I should be running each time I went out, I just ran for as long as I could, normally a loop around my apartment. Once I had been running for a few weeks I set my sights on a goal race. My challenge for that year (yes, that whole year) was to run a 5K race. I found one taking place in May and thought that would be enough time to get up to that distance. I was super nervous, but once I set something in my sights, I go for it – I need that fire in my belly or I will give up.
The race was a Women’s 5K in Toronto, in a beautiful park with loads of trees. I was so nervous the morning of the race, and when I got there I felt like a complete fraud. I was convinced all these other runners would be able to tell that I wasn’t a proper runner. There were only 2 corrals – I put myself in the over-30 minute corral. Waiting until it was my turn to start was so nerve-wracking, but the energy and excitement amongst the runners was incredible. The course wasn’t particularly exciting, 2.5K out and 2.5K back the same way. I didn’t know about pacing or effort so I ran the whole time ensuring I could breathe easily and would have been able to talk if I needed to. Coming up to the FINISH I was in love, I LOVED to race. I was grinning ear to ear, and pretty much as soon as I got home I signed up for my next challenge. I ran a 10K race in September, followed by a half-marathon race in October. From couch to half-marathon in 6 months! YIKES! Looking back, I was definitely doing too much too soon, I know that now (my body knew it at the time as I had constant injuries, but my head didn’t put 2 and 2 together). But at the time I just wanted to get to that next milestone, and in my head the next milestone was further.
Since that very first run in March 2015, I have run numerous races, including 2 marathons. It still blows my mind that I am a marathoner. Being in the UK I always saw the London Marathon or the New York Marathon (those were the only 2 that I was aware of) as this impossible feat, that only super duper fit athletes do. Yes, there are a lot of incredible elite athletes that run races, but there are also thousands of ‘regular’ people.
So that’s a brief intro to how I got into running and how I am now hooked.
I am 100% one of those people that needs a goal/challenge to work towards or I will procrastinate. So for me, I always need to have a race in the calendar, something that I can train towards. I don’t always run for Personal Bests, but 99.9% of the time I do – whether I’m trying to beat my current PB by just a few seconds, or 10 minutes, which is the goal for my upcoming half-marathon.
Two things have really helped me over the years with my running knowledge:
The first is a book by John Stanton called Running: The Complete Guide to Building Your Running Program. Shortly after I completed my first 5K race, a friend lent me this book and I devoured it. I felt like John was talking to me, guiding me through the unknown world of running. That was the first time I heard of the walk:run method – it completely changed how I trained. This book made me feel like John was my running buddy, giving me all this incredible advice. I have since bought my own copy and still dip into it for advice fairly regularly.
The second thing that has helped me is being part of a running clinic. I joined a half-marathon clinic back in 2015, as I really didn’t think I could get to that level on my own. The program was great, but it was my coach that was incredible. He encouraged me when I need it, gave me advice when I got an injury (which I did often, eh, because I went from couch to half in a few months!!!), and was a fountain of knowledge. Still to this day, even though he is no longer officially my coach, I still refer to him as Coach Josh and reach out to him now and then.
Coach Josh inspired me to give back. Since being a clinic member, I have since been a running coach. I absolutely love coaching others – it’s so rewarding. So whether is its part of a group or individually, I really enjoying watching other runners develop and crush their goals. My coaching knowledge has all come from reading books, blogs, and talking to other runners, but I wanted to know more, which is why I am now working towards my marathon coaching certificate.
Some non-running bits on me:
I am vegan, which is a relatively recent lifestyle change. I’m not a huge animal lover, but I don’t believe they should suffer for our enjoyment.
I absolutely love Walt Disney World Florida, if I could live there I would.
I am minimalist, again a fairly recent change. Up until recently I was very materialistic, but have become aware of a) the damage all this ‘stuff’ does to the planet and b) happiness isn’t in the ‘stuff’ we buy.
My favourite veg is broccoli, but sprouts are a very close second.
I love love love spending time outdoors since moving to Victoria – every single week I am down by the waterfront or in amongst the trees….although I am petrified I will meet a bear or cougar.
Thanks for reading. I’d love to know about you, when did you get into running?