It started back in February 2015 with a bit of bravado to my brother in law, who was a seasoned marathon runner.
“Hey dude there’s a 10k hill run in September at that place where I go mountain biking. Want to run it with me?”
“You? Run a 10k hill run?” He knew me as a skateboarder, sometime mountain biker, beer guzzling pseudo corporate warrior.
“Put in the training, and if you reach 10k before May then we’re on.” was the bemused reply.
I put in the training, and for the first few runs, I hated it. Then one morning, I put on my headphones, cued up the new 36 Crazy Fists album and #runwithmetal began.
Eight months later I turned up for the race, and ran it in a reasonable time - 50 minutes I think. What I learned from this was that I enjoyed the process of the training a lot more than the actual event. Which is probably why I have only run two events in 4 years of running. The aforementioned 10k, and my first marathon in Snowdonia, Eryri, last October; which I ran in aid of The Dogs Trust, raising a nice chunk of money to help all the 'Polly's' out there.
It was a couple of months before the 10k race that Polly came into my life from The Dogs Trust. She was a nervous little girl whose early life had not been good. By this time, she had learnt to trust me and had become my little shadow. This is us celebrating my first official run.
Throughout the following years I gradually upped my distance to 10 miles, 13 miles, 16 miles and finally 23 miles before I ran Eryri in 2018.
Running for me is all about my personal challenges, whether that challenge is distance, pace or terrain. This year I have run up and down Snowdon, discovered new trails and focused on my strength and recovery. Each time I hit a new challenge, it gives me a feeling of achievement, my first double-digit run under 7:30 min/mile pace was a greater buzz than completing my first marathon.
Running to me is more than just the act of getting out there, it is the setting of goals, creating plans to achieve them and strategies to fuel both the body and mind for the run itself. I take my food very seriously and my running playlists even more so. I am not an athlete, I am not motivated by medals or events, my motivation comes from within, a desire to see how far I can push myself, without breaking myself.
The reasons I run are many, I enjoy the solitude and space around me as I pound out the miles, discover new terrains and pummel my ears with music. I run alone, unless Polly decides she wants to join me. I enjoy the way it makes me feel and how it has changed me, both mentally and physically. As I edge ever closer to my half century, I am in better shape now, than I ever was in my 20’s and 30’s. I have an eye on an Ultra Marathon in 2020 and will return to the Snowdonia marathon, to hit it harder and faster.
Five Recommended Steve & Polly Approved Metal Tracks
- Iron Maiden - Anything by Iron MaidenIron Maiden rule period. The tempo, the gallops and guitars all work in harmony to power you through any type of run. A throwback to my schooldays, here’s Wasted Years.
- Tesseract - CagesThis is a slow burner of a song, it's great to kick off a long run, it eases you into the groove and then smacks you about the face just when you need it to.
- Meshuggah - CombustionFast run? Feeling jaded? Body tired? This will up your pace and blow your mind.
- Parkway Drive - Vice GripMotivational stuff this one. A tad cheesy, but I love it. Good for those last few miles of a long run.
- Hatebreed - Destroy Everything
A throwback to my skateboarding days. The bouncy riff, pumped vocals and chugging guitars will push you through tough moments.
Connect with Steve
Thanks to Steve for sharing his running story! What’s yours? We’d love to know. Send an email to Caroline, firstname.lastname@example.org if you’d like to contribute to our blog.