Running changed my life and it could change yours too.

In the summer of 2013, my whole world fell apart. The universe has a chilling tendency to chuck a curveball when you are least expecting it and on the 20th June 2013 my life took an unexpected twist. In that moment, I lost everything. My confidence shattered, my aspirations dwindled and my dreams fell apart. I had gone from being a bubbly, self-assured, ambitious 25 year old to feeling unconfident, fearful and alone. 

Around this time I was coerced, through work, in to signing up for the Bupa 10k run. I did so reluctantly, but lacking the energy to make a fuss I decided to “get on with it,” a mentality that became a feature of that part of my life.

Exercise has not always been important to me. In fact, my athletic career peaked as I entered my teens, having captained our school’s under 13 netball team through a season unbeaten. Consequently, my first venture in to the world of running was frustrating, hot and short lived. I failed to complete 2k.

Four months later, I threw myself across the finish line of my first 10k race to a hero’s welcome from my family and friends. I was buzzing, unable to remember the last time I’d felt so energised, so alive. Which was when it hit me; not only had I done it, I’d survived, but I’d also loved every second.

It wasn’t long before I signed up for another 10k, completed The Great South Run and my first half marathon. My first half marked a turning point for me. On the 10th October 2014 I achieved something I would never have dreamed to be possible. Six months on from being unable to complete 2k I ran 21 of them. I was on top of the world, I felt invincible.

Fast forward sixteen months, umpteen 10ks and a handful of half marathons, and I still do. I have uncovered a determination and a resilience within myself that I never knew existed. This new-found confidence and self-belief has translated in to other aspects of my life, resulting in me earning a promotion at work to a position that previously I wouldn’t even have had the audacity for which to apply.

Forty minutes of running a day, several times a week or as often as I can, keeps me both physically and mentally strong. Running teaches you to dig deep, to persevere and to face life’s challenges head on. The sense of achievement is addictive, while competing against others becomes futile. These days the only person I have to prove anything to is myself, as I continually strive to go further, to run faster, to stay fitter. Running has acquainted me with failure, but made me hungry for success.

I have all but given up alcohol. On a weekend morning I am far more likely to be found pounding the pavements than tucked up in bed until noon with a sore head. While I’ve gained some like-minded friends, I’ve lost others along the way, but I am happier, more energetic, more confident, more determined and more ambitious than ever before, and I have the additional benefit of knowing who I can count on for support along the way.

Running gave me a focus, something to fight for, and a reason to get out of bed in the morning at a time when I needed it the most. Running reduced the chaos to background noise and helped me build back up my courage and enthusiasm for life.

We’ve already been through so much together, running and I, but I’m excited to see where else we can go. Running completely, utterly, and 100 per cent changed my life, and, if you let it, it could change yours too.

running, iceland, exercise, trail running, i love running, girls who run, exercise, workout, fitness, running blog, running tips, average runner, below average runner, sorry i've got to run, sophie o'gorman, fitfam,
At my first race Bupa 10k 2014.

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