20. December 2014 · Comments Off on True tales of hating running in a Caribbean paradise · Categories: Holidays, Run, Sportlight on....

Many years ago, Tom and I spent a year living and working in the British Virgin Islands.  We met a lot of good people out there and I accumulated a lot of freckles.

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Me at Spring Bay Beach, Virgin Gorda, BVI, in 2005

We lived in a very remote location, Biras Creek Resort – boat or helicopter access only.  This was before my triathlon days but I still swam and I tried, begrudgingly, to run.  I was a truly terrible runner.  But my good friend Juliane made me run with her whenever she could drag me out the door.

I couldn’t say it was too hot, because it was hot there every day.  But it was bloody hot, and running hurt, a lot.  I would trail behind Juliane panting and puffing.  I have no idea how far we’d run, but we ran maybe half an hour to 50 minutes max, so I doubt we ever ran more than 4-7km.  We did this maybe once or twice a week.  I hated it.

Juliane loved to run.  She would coax, beg, plead, encourage me – anything it took to get me to flick off my flip-flops and lace up my running shoes.  Sometimes we’d run to the beach, other times up the trails, and once we even took the thick cactus trail over to the neighbouring resort, The Bitter End (which pretty much epitomised how I felt on that run).

I ran because I lived an otherwise sedentary life on this small piece of Caribbean sand, and if I’m not going to waste words – for fear of getting fat.  I wanted to love to run, but I wasn’t there yet.  I was very far from feeling that love.  Ok, I dreaded every run.  I envied Juliane’s desire to get out there and run in circles in the heat.

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Juliane with Tom & me after getting hit by a big wave, BVI, 2006

So what does it take to learn to love to run?  Because now I love running, love in a way I always aspired to but could never actually believe would happen.  Juliane (who now, as a mother of 3 boys and still living in the BVI, regularly wins races and triathlons) still says to me, “What happened?

I wish I had an easy answer (that I could package up and sell!), but of course it doesn’t work like that.  What happened was I started running for me, not for worries about weight, I started seeing other friends doing it too, and realised that learning to enjoy running was a process, not a black & white yes/no, and I learned about using my own psychology to my advantage – for me this came in the shape of my very first Garmin GPS watch, the Forerunner 110.  Once I started tracking my mileage, I was hooked.  Have I mentioned I’m a geek for numbers?

I went back to the BVI to visit Juliane 18 months ago and we finally got to run together again, this time as equals, up the craggy hills of Peter Island.  It was bliss.

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Juliane, I thank you for never giving up on me!

When did you fall in love with running?