28/06/2014, at age 13, I set foot in Poole Park at 9:00AM, for the very first time and I have never looked back since. My first parkrun was painful to my mum, who carried a water bottle in her hand and passed it to me every time I grunted at her, she ended up promising me a cake once I’d finished if I kept on going! Over the next few months my only goal was to not walk the whole way round.
I had actually found a sport I enjoyed, the slightly chubby cheeked and very unfit teen was enjoying this exercise! I’m not sure if my mum ever regrets taking me to that first run, I caused her so much grief over the next year in this park with grunts, groans and complaints. But I don’t know where I would be today without this amazing event or without her incredible persuasion that got me round week after week.
However, in 2015 I started to develop knee pains, these became so severe I had to stop. I had many physio and podiatry (feet specialists) appointments which revealed that I had completely flat feet, causing my knees to roll in and the joints to be under stress. Not helped by the fact the muscles surrounding my knees were so weak. I set off to the gym, determined to return to my much loved Saturday morning jog, to complete all the exercises I had been given at least four times a week. For reasons (such as they were SO boring), I became fed up with endless repetitions of leg raises and clams and with little show of improvement, I started to loose hope. A few weeks later I had my first pair insoles shaped to my feet, I started gym classes such as circuits, helping to strengthen the muscles that I needed to and finally said Adios to lying on the gym floor on my own and hello to classes filled with people and loud music playing!
8 months later I was back:
I had returned fitter and stronger than before and my times started to improve again. I experienced many problems with my insoles, at one point sporting 8cm longer blisters on each foot from my insoles rubbing during a run, I soldiered on, making sure to strap up my feet before hand. I still struggle with blisters now, but no where near as bad as back then(anyone with insoles who also has this problem could you send any tips?). My routine of two laps round the lake and once round the cricket pitch every Saturday was back, and I was even more in love with it than before.
2016 Christmas Eve brought me great happiness, I finally became a member of the 50 club! For those of you who don’t know what this is, once you have completed 50 parkruns, you receive a red parkrun t-shirt with 50 written on and a 50 badge next to your name on their website. This milestone made me realise just how far I’d come!
2016 came and went, new PB’s and a new friend from school became an amazing running partner. Which brings me to the beginning of 2017, 52 more parkrun opportunities! I have since knocked off more time from my previous PB and feel fitter and stronger than every before! Every time I step foot into Poole park I contemplate how far this simple morning run has brought me:
I want to say a massive thank you to the organisers at Parkrun, Poole Parkrun and all the volunteers who clap me on, without fail, every week. Currently 11minutes and 49 seconds lighter I hope I’ve proved that with trying and trying again anyone can improve! Without the gym, I would never have recovered as fast as I did, the gym classes brought me in to the fitness world and eventually creating this blog!
Thank you so much for reading my blog post, I hope I’ve proved that you don’t have to be a great runner to go to parkrun, I love seeing the variety of people who turn up every week. Just remember you are your own worst enemy.If want to know more about my workout routine or if you have any questions, just let me know on Instagram @laura_elfes Twitter @courgetti_blog or Facebook @courgetti_blog