Memories of my first run that started my life as runner are still very fresh. I remember leaving my Brussels apartment and running to the nearby Centennial Park and turning around by the time I got to the gates as the five-minute run had been enough already.
I have made all the typical runner mistakes; doing too much too soon (ie not following a program), not getting regular treatments, not getting the right shoes, not hydrating or eating properly (though that only becomes an issue once you run past an hour) etc. But through all that I'd like to think I have learnt from those, often repeated, mistakes.
People sometimes tell me that I am so disciplined to follow my training program to the letter, often running by myself. I don't feel particularly `disciplined'. I love running, the time it gives you to think or just let your mind wander, the way it allows you to look around your neighbourhood in a different way or explore new parts of a city you think you know quite well. And when I do run with other people, usually on the longer runs, it is such a great way to chat and catch up.
I love the process of getting fitter and I love the aim of improving my times. Perhaps not even for the times themselves, though they are important, but to me they mean that I am reaping rewards for challenging myself. Yes, it hurts to push yourself in speed workouts and in races but you are in control of that and few things are so rewarding as knowing that you gave it your all. I often have to think of Alberto Salazar's comment "You will run your best races at a pace you can barely sustain''.
I love running as it has proven to me over the past 11 years that I am capable of more if I simply try.