Diary of a New Runner

It’s never too late to become a new runner. Read one woman’s story about the highs and lows of running, and how it changed her life

Diary of a New Runner

A busy life took Celine Tarrant away from the gym and healthy eating, resulting in a weight gain of 40 pounds over four years. Unhappy with the way she looked and felt and on the brink of a major life change, she signed up for a 10K. She hasn’t looked back since.

Lessons from a new runner…

Going into it, I just wanted to lose a few pounds before starting a new job. I had no idea what I was getting myself into. I began training on the treadmill but soon realized I couldn’t even run two minutes before I was covered in sweat and completely breathless.

I came up with a plan, forcing myself to run for two minutes, walk for one minute and then run for two minutes again. Netflix and podcasts got me through the longer runs on the treadmill and, over the course of six weeks, I gradually worked my way up to running 30 minutes straight without stopping.

My best day’

Without a doubt, running my first 10K was a highlight. Even though I have run much tougher, longer and faster races since then, that was the first time I ran for a whole hour without stopping. More than that, it was the first time that I really enjoyed running. That was the day I stopped thinking of it as a chore and more like something to be savoured. I keep all my medals and race bibs in a box and, whenever I’m feeling discouraged or unmotivated, I open it up and remember what I’ve accomplished and how far I’ve come.

My worst day’

I went into my second 10K with high expectations and, looking back, maybe too much confidence. I had trained hard and was looking forward to blowing my previous time out of the water. It wasn’t meant to be. It was 30 degrees out and, after the first few kilometres, my legs were cramping and I was overcome with extreme thirst. My breathing was all wrong and I felt like I was sucking air through a straw. By the time I crossed the finish line, I was barely putting one foot in front of the other. I came in four minutes slower than my previous time. I was not only disappointed but also embarrassed, since my friend, a first-timer, came in 10 minutes ahead of me.

That’s still the worst I have ever felt on a run. I was dehydrated, and it took me three days to recover.

Most surprising benefits of running’

Two words: weight loss. The first 25 pounds just melted off. With changes to nutrition and more strength training, I’ve lost 60 pounds in the past year and put on some serious muscle.

On top of that, though, I’ve been pleasantly surprised to discover my passion for fitness and nutrition. Once I realized the positive impact a good diet had on my running, eating well became less about depriving myself and more about fuelling my body so it could perform at its prime. I now love experimenting with healthy recipes.

Most of all, I love that I can be spontaneous about fitness. I used to dread outdoor activities and fitness classes with friends. Now, I sign up for races, fitness classes and sports on a whim, with no doubt that I’ll be able to keep up. I’ve become ‘that girl,’ and I like the feeling.