Lisa’s Running Journey

Lisa is known in our group as an accomplished trail runner who knows all of the trails around North Cardiff like the back of her hand! But how did she get to where she is today? Here she tells us her running journey:

I was asked to write something about running. And I got stuck. Because it’s not something I think about. So I pondered on it, and still couldn’t come up with anything. I think it’s because  I don’t analyse the things I do – or I would lose my mind. I have always been involved in sport (throwing myself fully at whatever sport from the age of 8).

Skip quite a few years of martial arts and then running was added to my training week, following a bet when I was 18 to run the London marathon (I actually hated running & only ever did 1500m in school). Anyway, thinking I wouldn’t get into London, I wasn’t too worried – until the day the envelope landed on my doorstep saying I had a place. So that was the start – but even then I didn’t really think about it much and just went out running with no plan, no phone, no idea of how far I was running,  no watch (although I did look at the house clock when I left and when got home just so I knew how long I’d been out of the house).

My finishing time was 5hrs 40. I was ok with that as I’d raised money for charity (always a bonus), until someone said “I thought you’d have been quicker than that!”. So the challenge was set. I entered again via a charity, but this time raised the bar. I wanted a quicker time. I got 4hrs 30. Again I was happy with that, but my own stubbornness kicked in – I wanted a certificate with under 4 hours. I tried again. 4hrs 8. This time I was gutted. So I tried again and focused on speed work and reduced distance (partly because I couldn’t face long distances week after week). I finally got my certificate (3hrs 48). Job done.

That opened a very different door and another bet. To do an Ironman (I was very drunk when I agreed to do it!).  I didn’t actually know what one was. But again, challenge set, Ironman completed! Job done. But, the training turned me off road running forever. So the trail running started as someone said it was easier on joints. I liked the sound of it. I love woodlands, farmland and paths. They change all the time, with the weather, with the season, with the wildlife. It’s never the same. Trail running / cycling (I now do both) can be like a sensory overload if you let it! I never run trails with headphones, partly safety but because it’s about what you hear as well as see. There is always a different smell (especially around farmlands 😂), always less people.  It just lets you in! I’ve grown up in Cardiff and we are so lucky to have the miles and miles of trails to link together on our doorstep. You just need to get out there and enjoy.

Lisa Rees-Renshaw

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