Can I be honest? I hate running. Maybe it’s because this jerk kid called me slow when my fifth-grade class was running the mile, or maybe it’s because I can never find a reason to want to run. I can walk all day long but running, I hate.
In college, I wanted to get over my aversion to running, so I trained for and completed a half marathon, then a 5K, a 10K, and another half.
But still I hate running. Running is way too mental for me. When I run, my inner monologue is brutal (as you may remember from this story) But when I walk, it’s quiet and reflective. I like walking. But running, running requires a non-stop pep-talk.
But every time I think I have sworn it off for good, I get this crazy notion I should give it another try. Like maybe I am just not doing it right or I still need to defeat the voices in my head.
That’s why I am thrilled to have Alison King as a sponsor of Sooner Not Later and sharing her story today.
Alison, originally from the UK, lives in New Zealand. She’s completed nine marathons and four Ironmans and started her own business, Run For Your Life Coaching.
But what I love most about Alison’s story is that she wasn’t always fit and in shape. In fact, eleven years ago, she weighed almost 200 pounds, felt “sluggish” and had never even contemplated trying to complete a marathon. But then she decided to take action. Here’s her story:
Alison, on your website, you describe yourself previously as “pushing 100kg” and “sluggish.” What is the story between that Alison and the Alison with 9 marathons and 4 Ironmans under her belt?
I’d always wanted to run a marathon but thought you had to be a good runner to do it. …I was overweight so I joined Weight Watchers. That led to me starting aquarobics which led to me seeing if I could swim 25m (I couldn’t), so I had a couple of refresher lessons, and my flatmate and I were talking about how we should train for something to keep us motivated. We found a women’s only triathlon and that ultimately led me to do an Ironman 13 months later. I’m pretty stubborn, and when people tell me they don’t think I can do something–knowing that I do want to–well that makes me even more determined.
It was gradual, but I got such a buzz from being active that I wanted to be more and more active, especially as the buzz led to weight loss and a boost in confidence and self esteem. I knew I was doing my physical health a favour, but I didn’t know that my mental health would be boosted too.
What are you passionate about?
I’m passionate about getting women active and empowering them through running. It’s not about being the fastest or fittest person in the world. It’s about being the best version of yourself, giving it your all and learning to love yourself.
As a mum, I’m also passionate about being a positive role model to my 3-year-old son. He sees the joy I get from running, although he does question why I want to run around the lake (our local marathon circumnavigates Lake Rotorua, a convenient 42km route).
What is your dream and what are you doing about it?
My dream is to get more people running and experiencing the physical and mental boosts that it gives. I’m walking the walk. This year I’m aiming to run five marathons.
That’s incredible. Can you talk to me about Run For Your Life? What is it, where did the idea come from and how does it connect with your dream?
Run For Your Life is predominantly an online community of runners from all over the world. I am available as a one-on-one coach (I do Skype catch-ups with my clients), and I also run real-life run programmes.
The idea came from wanting to set up a business I could operate from wherever, but also able to have an impact on the physical community around me.
Ever since I started participating in events I’ve been seen as a role model, an inspiration for other people. I’m always asked questions and have been told I inspire others to get off the couch. I guess people see that if you want something hard enough, you can achieve it.
By starting Run For Your Life, I am combining everything I love, and also making a living from it.
Do you have any “haters” or negative voices in your life? How do you handle those situations?
Yes, particularly when it comes to negative voices. I don’t have an IAAF qualification, and I have not won any races – so what would I know? But I’ve been a runner for more than 10 years. I am a voracious reader and learner. I love to know how and why things work the way they do, and I love to pass on that knowledge.
Ah. Self doubt is a killer for me too! What has been your proudest moment(s) since setting out on this adventure?
Tough one. I’m still quite new to this business and am relying on my experience as a writer to earn some money. I am proud of how far I have come since choosing this path. I have learned so much and put myself out there for the world to see. I’m not afraid to be open about my own running and the problems I have faced. I guess I’m proud of who I am and that I can happily admit my own mistakes to help others from repeating them.
What words of wisdom or advice would you have for someone who hates running?
Don’t expect to be good at it immediately or love it the first time you set off. Every runner has good days and bad days. You never know what you’re going to get until you start running.
Just focus on reaching a set point and then either turning back or carrying on.
I love that and will definitely have to keep it in mind. Now on to some fun and silly questions. In honor of the year 2015, if you could hop into the Delorean and go back in time (or to the future), when/where would you go and what would you do?
I would have loved to have witnessed the 1984 women’s Olympic marathon – the first time it was held, or have been in Boston when Kathrine Switzer was tackled on the course and her running coach was able to stop her from being pulled off the course – she had entered as K Switzer, women were prevented from running. She is such an inspiration.
As you know, I’m attempting to accomplish 52 bucket list items this year. What are the top three things on your bucket list?
- Run the Dopey Challenge in 2017 – four races in four days at Walt Disney World – 5km, 10km, half marathon, marathon. Would be a great holiday too.
- Marine Corps Marathon and New York City Marathon double.
- Be interviewed on a running/health podcast.
Wow! That’s awesome. I have some friends who have done the Disney Princess Half Marathon. but I can’t imagine completing the Dopey Challenge.
Finish this sentence:
The best thing I have ever done for my dream is…..
to not be afraid to make the leap and leave a secure job that I loved for my other passion.
I’m a bit of an inspirational quote junkie. What is your favorite quote?
“The miracle isn’t that I finished. The miracle is that I had the courage to start.” – John Bingham
Stay connected with Alison by visiting her website, RunForYourLifeCoaching.nz.co