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What a difference a year makes.

What a difference a year makes.

What a difference a year makes.

Up until this year I’d never taken on anything you could consider a truly physical challenge, I’d had my fair few mental challenges and felt for the first time in a long time I was ready for more.

I’d been running for a while, but I didn’t consider myself a runner; I would jog to the gym or do the odd fun run, go to classes, and flirt with fitness. I’d never been very confident or proud of myself and I felt a bit confused about who I was or where I fit in to the dynamic of my life.

Let me kick this off by saying how wrong I was to not consider myself a runner for all that time. I thought it was an elite club that I was far too casual to be a member of, and I really couldn’t have been more wrong! If you run you are a runner, that’s one of my favourite things about this incredible community, and why it’s captured me so wholeheartedly. Whether you are racing, making time for a mile in-between your hectic schedule, jogging with friends, or just starting out! You are welcome and you belong!

Upon close of 2016 I will have taken on 3 Marathons, 5 Half Marathons, 2 10 milers, 3 10ks, weekly Park Runs, and over 1000 training miles. I’ve had so many highs and some very tricky lows, it’s been a crazy whirlwind of a year and for me it is really just the beginning.

People often ask me how I do it, or in fact why I do it? The only response that ever makes any sense to me is that I love it!

I’ve loved spending this year learning so much about my body, about the limits it has vs. the limits I impose on it. I’ve loved seeing myself get stronger and faster, from not knowing if I’d ever run a marathon, to knowing that I want to keep running them for as long as my body will allow me to. I’ve loved the learning curve of feeling completely overwhelmed by nutrition, pacing, tapering, and strategy to the comfort in feeling confident in what works for me. But most of all I’ve loved engaging with this incredible community of people through running clubs, races, social media and more!

Looking out on a challenge makes it seem impossible, but if you resolve to start today you begin to break it down in to dissectible achievable pieces. Which means in 12 months what you thought was an impossibility becomes your normality, and your eyes are opened to what you may just be capable of! Whatever your drivers are, and whatever your challenge may be it all really does start with that one first very conscious step.

My focus for 2017 is about improving, and although I’ve made some incredible progress this year, I’m still striving for some goals. As a runner an awful lot of them are based around the numbers, I have some big race times to break down, but unsurprisingly for me they’re not all based on it! Running gives me so much more than the physical improvement, the pride in my numbers and the opportunity to always be better. It gives me the freedom to be exactly who I am, the confidence in that person, and the best friends in the world!

Come find me at a race, on Instagram (@thinkingclarely) or at my blog!

Huge thanks to Clare for sharing her running journey.

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