READER REPORT:

Running's the best 'drug' on the market

DINA ABUSIDOU
Last updated 05:00 03/02/2014
stuff nation
GOTTA KEEP GOING: Dina's goal is to get to 20 half marathons and to complete another full one.

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From couch potato to running bean

I'm learning to run Overtaking everyone on the couch From binge drinker to Ironwoman Pushing my body forward The reluctant runner After a decade off, I just do it Finding my stride and myself Addicted to running Running's the best 'drug' on the market Run like you're being chased

Are you going for a run?

Yes, I'm going for a run and, while my body is fighting to stay inside, have some lunch and engage in some office gossip, my mind knows better.

I wasn't a born runner and it sure didn't come naturally when I started.

I was 15 when I decided to make running "my thing". All the girls at school were in some sort of sports team, drama club or social committee, and while I played football socially, I felt the need to become serious about something.

I'd always known there was some sort of drive and motivation inside that got me unusually excited from time to time. I just didn't know what it was yet.

The journey to discovery began when I started running around the block some days after school and on the weekends. I was testing out the waters.

I'd occasionally drag my brother out to come with me, bribing him with sweets from the dairy afterwards.

Running around the block took 17 minutes. It was hard and somewhat boring, not to mention that 17 minutes felt like a lifetime, but the feeling of satisfaction that ran through me afterwards was indescribable.

I found that I was a generally happier person. I interacted with others better and felt a great sense of confidence and accomplishment.

So I kept working at it and soon enough I was hooked.

It's become a coping mechanism for me really, a way to clear my mind and de-stress, and the better I got at it, the more I wanted to do it, and the better I felt. It's the best drug on the market.

I remember entering my first half marathon.

Twenty-one kilometres? No problem.

Actually it was; when I thought I should have been halfway I was only about 5km in.

Nevertheless I wasn't going to stop and let a couple of hundred people pass me. There was my competitive side coming out and it was there to stay and show them who was boss. I came in at 2 hours 15 minutes for my first ever half marathon. Not bad for an amateur wannabe.

To date I have run one full marathon and seven half marathons. My goal is to get to 20 half marathons and one more full one.

I have improved my times every time I've run and even though my body has screamed and abused me for taking it through this, at the end of it all I find myself searching for the next race, the next one that's going to challenge me mentally because that's what running is, a total mental game. And I love it.

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Right, I'm off for a run, all this talk has got me all excited! 


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