When I was growing up, I was the quiet, smart, violin playing, pigtailed girl with the knee length skirt. So it isn’t surprising that I didn’t really enjoy PE, or any kind of physical exercise for that matter. I did the minimum I could get away with, got notes to excuse me from my Mummy when I could and was ‘blessed’ with recurring tendinitis in my ankles, so I never had to face it that much.
And then I was suddenly 19, it was 2014, in Ethiopia, being faced with having to play football for an hour every single day with Ethiopia children. For those that don’t know, Ethiopia is about 3km above sea level, and means there’s a lot less oxygen than there is in Ireland. Again, no surprise that on the first day, I was not a great asset to the team. After three weeks, I was actually enjoying it and turned out to not be too bad.
So when I came home again, I found myself bored and first the first time, I decided to voluntarily go on a run. And found I ran 3 miles without stopping. I was so amazed, I could run, Aisling Morgan, was running.
But then I started second year of university. And of course, I gave up.
But then I was planning to go back to Ethiopia in 2015, left stumped with what I should do to fundraise. So I decided to really challenge myself; I signed up for a half marathon. I researched all those ‘Couch to Half Marathon in 14 Weeks’, laughed, and then added another 6 weeks to that. I then achieved the one thing I thought I could never do. I stuck to a fitness regime, I got toned, I raised a lot of money for charity and I genuinely enjoyed it.
And of course …. Again …. I gave up.
Why did I do it? I hate my past self for doing it, because the thought of starting again, and those small milestones, like being able to run a quarter of a mile (never mind 13.1 miles) without having to stop running from the serious panting. And so, I sat idle in third year, to be fair I was genuinely studying, and let all of my hard work go down the drain.
And now I’m doing my Masters and I crave my old structure of my life. (Context: Doing an LLM I only have 6 hours of teaching a week). I honestly miss it. I sat and thought; ‘What can give me some structure in my life? Get up at 7am everyday? Learn a new instrument? Get a job?’ But I also missed having a fundraising goal.
So let’s kill two birds with one stone. Let’s do the Liverpool Spring 10K and raise money for The Whitechapel Centre, a Liverpool based homeless and housing charity.
I started three weeks ago, and I’m about to run 4 miles tomorrow, 65% of the distance I will run in the 10K. The first week, every breath felt like a success. Every pant was one I wasn’t doing sitting on my bed. Every aching muscle is a reminder of my tightening, strengthening muscles.
On Wednesday, I ran 2 miles in under 25 minutes. Yesterday, I ran a whole mile without stopping. In two weeks, I will run 10K, a whole month before I am going to run the Liverpool 10K. The last time, I ran it in 1hr 3 mins, and now I think I might be able to run it in 55 minutes.
So now, I have an excuse to run to Wollaton Park, a beautiful deer park three-quarters of a mile from where I live, four times a week. I might run another half marathon in September. I might even try to keep it up and run a marathon in early 2018.
Let’s just hope I don’t end up writing another post called ‘Learning to Run Again … Again … Again’ within the next couple of years.