My Running Journey So Far: Part 2, 2013-2018

Hi Runners! Part 2 of my Running Journey is here. Enjoy!

…However, I knew that cross-country was my strength. I had come 3rd the year before and I knew that I was stronger than ever in Year 5. I had spent weeks preparing with my dad, running in circles around the lake and I felt calm walking up to the start line. I expected to feel nervous, but I suppose I was the underdog against the fastest girl in the year.

We set off on the 3km desert course, much harder than the previous year, and the pace felt hard but good. We flew around cones and we were tied in first place. The final 100m leered into view and we both sprinted to the finish line. I leaned across the line, absolutely dead from the race. I remember the teacher handing me a card and I looked down to see that it said 1 on it. I couldn’t believe it! I had won! I guess you could say I got addicted to the adrenalin rush of racing from that day onwards…

We moved to Spain at the end of Year 5, and I joined a new swimming club. Swimming was very different to Dubai, less competitive and there was less camaraderie. I couldn’t speak the language and the athletes didn’t really want to accept a newbie into the group. I swam with the club for two years, before changing to a different one, but I could tell that I was much slower and I wasn’t progressing. I loved to swim, but I didn’t have the same drive to compete. Training was from 8-10pm at night and it didn’t fit into my schedule. So, in January of 2018, I decided to stop swimming, which was quite a big deal at the time considering it had always been my main sport.

I took up triathlon instead. I could run well and I competed in school cross-country competitions. I could swim very well and I presumed that cycling would be easy to pick up because I was a competent cyclist. I learnt a lot in the two months of triathlon, but the cycling was much harder than expected. I was 14 by then, old to be picking up a completely new sport like cycling. I was also the oldest in the group, training with kids much younger than me and although I placed in quite a few races, it was just a lot to learn in a short space of time. I came 7th in my first duathlon, and then came 2nd in my first triathlon. It was a massive shock to finish about 600m behind the highest ranked Andalucian triathlete, so I signed up for my second triathlon in April, however this wouldn’t last long…

The following week, I had a fun run, a mile in the Mijas mountains. After the race, a man approached me and asked if I ran for a club. I said I competed in triathlons and he asked if I would be interested in joining his running club. I had been wondering whether to drop triathlon and solely focus on running and this seemed like the perfect opportunity. 

Part 3 is on the next blog. Sorry to make this post long-winded, but my journey into running means a lot to me. It showed me that you do not have to start competing in a sport at a very young age. Anybody can achieve anything, or start a new hobby or activity, regardless of their age. Age is not an excuse!

How has your sport shaped and changed you? And why did you start your sport?

Lots of love,

Florence 🙂

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