So I’ve decided to mix the blog up, and have guest bloggers once in a while. I always love hearing about other peoples’ experience with running and why they run… so I thought you might too. If you would like to feature as a guest blogger, please drop me an email.
So Guest Blog #1 goes to Andrew Spurr. Andrew is a writer living in Canada, he is cute, smart, funny, and is the Spurr to my MacSpurr… yes he is my husband. You can find Andrew on all social media as @ASpurrWrites, and he also has a blog http://www.aspurrwrites.wordpress.com
1. Why did you start running?
I’ve actually been a runner on and off for some time. I used to enjoy it at school, and imagined myself as a long distance runner, but I never really took it seriously enough and after school the best I managed were short spurts of regular running, which inevitably ended when other things got in the way. I didn’t start to take running seriously until about three years ago when we moved to Canada, and even then, it was all because Coach G had become a serious runner. I am pretty sure I never would have taken it up if it hadn’t been for her. It was initially because I wanted to spend more time together, but also because I saw that this was clearly a passion for her that wasn’t going away, and I wanted to share in that. Now I can say with sincerity that I enjoy running, and I enjoy running regularly.
2. What motivates you to keep running?
I would say there are two main reasons for me. Firstly, as I said, it’s an opportunity for Coach G and me to spend more time together. The long slow distance runs are a really good opportunity to decompress and talk about things that are going on. It’s as much an emotional exercise as it is a physical exercise for me, which leads me on to reason number two. Fitness is the other reason I run. I’m not eighteen anymore. I know I can’t just rely on my body to stay naturally fit. Running is a great way to keep fit.
3. What is your favourite distance and why?
For an actual race, I would say my favourite distance is 5k. I ran a PB last year and was really pleased with my time. Also, I find that I can push myself quite hard for this distance. When it comes to training, I think I prefer training for a half marathon distance. I find the marathon training is not only a drain on your time to actually run the training distances, but what I hadn’t appreciated was how much recovery time I would need in training as well. When I got up to the really long distances, it wiped out the entire day for me.
4. Tell me about your most memorable race.
Despite my answer to question three, my most memorable race was actually a marathon. The Walt Disney World Marathon! Disney World is a place that Coach G and me have always loved, and pretty much as soon as we got into running, it was a race that we talked about – or more like dreamt about – running. When we actually did it, in 2018, it was the 25th anniversary of the marathon, which made the celebrations extra special. It was a gruelling few days – travelling to Orlando, trying not to overdo it at the parks ahead of race day, and then getting up at 2am on race day itself in order to be at the start line on time, and then waiting for an hour in the freezing cold for the starting fireworks – but it was an amazing experience. The race route takes you through all four parks, as well as some behind the scenes areas that park visitors don’t get to, and we even stopped to ride a roller-coaster half way through. Everyone is in a good mood, cheering you on, dressed up, and generally having a good time. I even remember getting to the 22 and 23 mile markers, feeling overwhelmingly disappointed that the race was almost over. I felt good; like I could keep going for longer. I genuinely didn’t want it to end. I wouldn’t do a marathon again, unless it was to do Disney again. I’d make an exception for Disney!
5. What did you learn about yourself training for this race?
I think the main thing I took from training for the Disney World Marathon was that I could actually manage those long distances. A huge part of training for a marathon is simply getting your body used to being on your feet for such a long period of time. I would often wake up on Saturday mornings, dreading the thought of doing 27k or something horrifically long like that, but I always surprised myself. It’s a cliché, but one step at a time is really the right attitude to have.
6. What’s the best piece of advice you’ve received?
Footwear. I learned the hard way that the right pair of shoes is crucial to running. I had an old pair that I thought would be fine when I started running, but I was plagued by knee pain and IT band issues. Coach G kept telling me that my shoes were the issue, but I was reluctant to spend the money on a properly fitted pair of running shoes. When I finally got around to doing it, the difference was night and day. The knee pain and IT band issues disappeared, and I’ve never looked back since. So, whenever I have a conversation with someone about running now, I always pass on Coach G’s advice, that proper footwear is so important.