Moving to England came with many challenges but I never expected running to be one of them – to be honest, I even thought running here would be easier. Flat landscape and mild weather, right?
Turns out it’s not as simple as that.
I was impatient to start running again and after tagging along on Edward’s run for a few days, I decided to try one on my own. My first weeks as an expat were difficult: I was living at my in-laws, had no job and was unable to drive. Running was my way to regain some independence, and some confidence too. So I put on my running gear and headed out.
Two weeks before that, my running kit was composed of underwear, a base layer, long leggings, a thermal shirt, a lined jacket, thermal socks, a buff/neckie, two pairs of gloves, a hat and – on cold and icy days – a windproof shell and some running crampons.
That day, I was wearing capri leggings and a tee. In the middle of February. Quite a change!
My first solo run was a short 3.5K around the estate. I’ve never been (and will probably never be) a fast runner, but getting lost every half-kilometres certainly didn’t help me on that one. I had to get my phone out to check a map more often than I like to admit…
Despite stopping every two minutes, I was out of breath. I thought it would be a one-time thing and blamed it on the stress and the inability to zone out by fear of taking the wrong path. I hadn’t thought of the adaptation phase my body would have to go through. My hometown is built along a headland and surrounded by mountains; I had rarely run long flat stretches before moving to Lincoln and was unable to pace myself. This – added to a slight anaemia caused by changes in my alimentation – made for a few though months of running.
Nine months later, it’s getting better. I still struggle on some runs and the constantly changing weather does nothing to help me, but I’m determined to get my fitness level back to where (and better than) it was when I left Québec. To help with that I started cross-training and practising yoga regularly, and I stretch nearly every day. Most of all, I try to simply enjoy myself when I’m out running.
Upcoming races are great motivation too! Edward and I have signed up for the London Winter Run in February and we plan to run the City of Lincoln 10K for a good cause in April. Until then, we have Parkrun to look forward to every Saturday morning. I’m currently working on getting my 5K under 30 minutes and Parkrun is really helping with that.
In between Parkruns and races, I have the British countryside at my doorstep and I find running is a wonderful way to explore more of it.