Sunday, 26 February 2012

New Contributor: Suze Rodger

Name: Suzanne Rodger
Home parkrun: Norwich
Date of first parkrun: 07/08/2010 (inaugural)
Total Number of parkruns: 59
Number of other parkrun locations run: 0

Number of times volunteered: 4

My name’s Suze, and I am one of those people. The ones who only talk about running, and when the conversation isn’t about running, I’ll try to steer it back to running. Well, not all of the time, but maybe more than some people like!

I wasn’t very sporty when I was younger, although I did have a bike and didn’t have a problem doing PE (even with brown gym knickers to wear with a netball skirt!)

While I was studying at university I walked everywhere, probably around 6 miles a day and usually pretty quickly as I was either late or rushing to get to one of my two jobs or classes.

Once I’d graduated though, I walked less and less. My new boyfriend had a car which came in handy to cut down on the rushing in the morning.

Four years later, and I realised that not only did none of my old clothes fit, none of the new ones did either. Drastic action had to be taken. This involved going to Slimming World, where I bought a couple of cookbooks, and joining a beginner’s running club.

I’d like to say that I carried on with the running club and managed to run the whole couch to 5k programme. Unfortunately, I didn’t, but I carried on running alone whenever I could. A job working away from home meant resorting to the gym (essential when you eat out every night) but less running.

When I found a job closer to home, I took up running again, right at the start. I found it a real struggle and it was difficult to see any real improvements. In June 2009 I got a nike+ for my birthday, so I could track the basics. Later that year, a few of us from work began running together as I was still finding it hard to run more than a mile without needing to walk.

Slowly, milestones began to be ticked off. I could run 5k without stopping. I could run and ‘talk’ at the same time (jn very short sentences!). Near the end of 2010, parkrun started in Norwich and my friend, who lives in the North, recommended that we go. That first parkrun my time was 32:20.

Nearly 60 later, I have a PB of 25:28 and regularly achieve sub 26 minutes, something I thought I’d never do. On top of that, last year I did 3 half marathons and a 10k race. This year I’m doing the National Lottery Olympic Park Run (no relation), London Marathon, Edinburgh half marathon, Great North Run and Royal Parks half marathon.

Not only that, but looking back at my nike+ stats, I ran more kilometers in January of this year than I did in the whole of 2009.

If you’d told the 5 stone heavier me that not only would I be running five or six times a week in training for races, but I’d enjoy it to the point where I miss it when I don’t run for more than 24 hours, I would have laughed.

I run because I love pushing myself and achieving goals I never thought possible. I run because it clears my head and boosts my energy levels. I may also run so I can have a biscuit without feeling guilty or panicky.

I’ve also found that the community of runners is brilliant. In parkrun especially, the fact that there are thousands of people all over the world pushing for the same goal – to complete a 5k – is amazing. No matter how fast or slow we are, we all share this common focus and it is that that binds us together.

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