I’m not a natural runner. I’d even go so far to say that I don’t enjoy it, certainly not the first ten minutes anyway, once I’m in the flow it’s not too bad. I love the feeling afterwards when the endorphins are released. I saw it coined ‘runderful’, how you feel the minute after you finish your run.
I’m running the Great Manchester Run for St Ann’s Hospice this year, it has been three years since I’ve taken on an organised run, and to be honest, I’m feeling a little bit out of my comfort zone. However, I know that every family walking through the door of the hospice is out of their comfort zone, and if my run helps us to give them world class care, and help them to feel more comfortable, then every step will be worth it.
My playlist is very important to ensure I actually complete the run, the songs will make or a break a run for me. Too fast and I panic, too slow, and I stop, I need to know the songs well enough to sing along in my head and forget that I’m actually running. It has taken a while for me to get the right mix, and I think it might be a bit different for others, but for me this is what works.
I’ll start off with ‘Mr Brightside’ by the Killers, the anticipation created by the guitar solo in the introduction helps to build my emotion for the run, and it always makes me smile, which is a good way of tricking my brain into thinking I’m having a great time.
Classic indie anthems follow, the beat in my ears as my feet hit the floor – Kaiser Chiefs, White Strips, Artic monkeys, The Fratellis, The Coral – songs that without a doubt can get me on the dancefloor, and if I can dance to a song, I can run to it, at least that’s what I tell myself.
About half way through, I’m often faltering and wondering why on earth I’ve decided to do this and thinking of a million excuses to drop out and just walk home. ‘I Gotta Feeling’ by the Black Eyed Peas helps me through this. The distance I run when I play it will always be dedicated to my cousin, Kenny. When he was close to the end of his life he told me he had this song on, it was the last message I had from him. I think that if he could be positive at that time in his life, when he was so ill, then I can be positive about the run.
‘Hall of Fame’ is another song with great meaning, I added this to my playlist when I did my first half marathon in memory of my grandad, “Do it for your country, do it for your name”…well not my name, but his name, and I hope he would be proud.
Finally I round off with some ‘cheesy’ songs to take me through to the finish line, prematurely celebrating in my head – Little Mix, Steps, Robert Miles, Scouting for Girls, even ‘The Greatest Showman’ makes an appearance. More recently ‘Despacito’ has been added in to remind me of hot beach holidays! My main aim of taking part in the Great Manchester Run is to raise funds to ensure that we can provide world class care to our patients and their families, but I don’t mind the side effect of hopefully losing a few pounds before I get my holiday clothes out of the cupboard!
If you’re at the Great Manchester Run, give me a wave!