Uphill battle: First running lesson

JO MCKENZIE-MCLEAN
Last updated 05:12 15/05/2014
Jo Mckenzie-Mclean runs like a ballerina

NUTS? Jo Mckenzie-Mclean runs like a ballerina, with no shoes on.

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Never in my life have I been told to run like a ballerina and walk like an elephant.

I just about choked with disbelief when Terry Davis, during our first training session for the Northburn Station 50km Mountain Run, told me to take off my shoes because we were going to run on concrete. 

Ha? This man is nuts I thought as I peeled off my socks and hid my shabby shoes from view. Catching me, he says he thought my shoes would be in worse condition.

Thankfully, I wasn't made to run the streets yelping as I dodged glass and chunks of stone - we ran together along the steps of Cromwell's Alpha St football club where he started with the basics - form.

Skipping across the steps showing me how running should be done, he describes it as keeping my feet under my body, being light on my feet and to kind of dance like a ballerina.

Now, there is a reason I took up tap dancing as a child and not ballet. I can relate to the elephant in me and walk with my arms swinging like a trunk, but to run like a ballerina? I am more than 90kg (yes, believe it), 178cm tall and clumsy - there is nothing ballerina-like about me. But throwing dignity to the wind and probably looking hilarious from the street, I attempted to run like a ballerina. Once Terry was satisfied with my attempt we did some gentle laps around the football goal posts.

Biking home together - me with a child seat on the back I hadn't had time to take off and flat tyres I didn't have a pump for (which Terry said gleefully was fine because flat tyres make you work harder) - I was feeling excited and ready for change.

Terry gave me my first lot of homework - to run around the football goals eight times before I see him again, and to read New York Times No 1 bestseller, Switch - How To Change Things When Change Is Hard by Chip & Dan Heath.

Yes sir.

- Follow me on Twitter @jomacmacjourno  

- Terry Davis, is the race director co-founder of Highland Events. Check out highlandevents.co.nz to see what's in store for Jo.

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- The Southland Times

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