An Introverted Actress

Bouncy Walking




I am not built to run. At least, my ankles and feet aren't. During a trip to the resident physio at Les Miserables after quite a hefty fall on stage, I was asked if I ran as a form of exercise. When I asked if "running for the bus" counted, he advised me not to take up running and instead, find a different form of exercise or use a cross trainer at least. He said my weak ankles, forming bunions and very flat feet wouldn't enjoy the impact and pressure from constantly hitting the ground. I happily followed his advice until...

...My sister-in-law, Giovanna Fletcher says she was persuaded by Bryony Gordon to join her in running the Vitality 10K on May 27th and so my story is that I was, in turn, persuaded by Giovanna. On a drive back from one of our three reformer pilates sessions a week that we began together in January, Gi told me about the 10K and invited me along. 
"Sure! Why not!" I said, genuinely enthused. How hard can 10K be?, I thought but the more I thought, I remembered that once upon a time, I had had a personal trainer. I was about 16 and it was to get me in shape for a theatre project and I remember enjoying everything he threw at me EXCEPT the running. He took me running in the park opposite my house and I felt like my lungs were going to collapse and/or explode and that my toes were going to fall off, one by one. I couldn't hold any kind of a conversation because I was too busy gasping  and gulping for air and I couldn't run for more than maybe a minute before flailing my hands at him to stop. I was pretty useless. But that was a decade ago! You'll be better at it now!, I thought and I actually believed that until...

...I was stood bent double half way down my road, heavy breathing but still managing somehow to mutter expletives. How was I going to run 10K when I couldn't even keep it together for a couple of minutes? Instead of turning back,  I got stubborn. I opened up the Couch To 5K app that I had already downloaded but was sure I wouldn't need because how hard could it be? I'm older now! Running will be easy! You can do this! I love how much faith I had in myself but I do worry that I set myself up for a much bigger fall. I'm glad, however, that I didn't throw in the towel because with Sarah Millican's sing-song tones guiding me through intermittently walking and running for twelve minutes, I started to feel like maybe all was not lost. I still felt like I was going to collapse but, in small doses, I could run. The idea of a 10K still seemed a long way out of reach, though, until...

...I decided to start training on holiday with much encouragement from Gi. In 27 degree heat, I went for it. I decided ten minutes was the initial goal although considering my first run felt incredibly short lived and disastrous, I wasn't hopeful. I realised my initial mistake was thinking that I was going to be able to run at a speedy pace straight away. That kind of enthusiasm had me tuckered out almost immediately so this time, I decided, let's just take it at a steady and slow pace and build up from there. Rome wasn't built in a day, and all that! Snails were overtaking me  in that Floridian heat. I'd even say it was more of a bouncy walk than a run but d'ya know what? I ran for ten minutes without stopping and I. Couldn't. F***ing. Believe. It. I cried. I reached my goal, looked at my phone  with all the stats, plain as day, and I actually cried. It may have been sweat pouring down my face come to think of it but I'm pretty sure it was emotion. There was hope for me yet! I went for three runs in Florida, each one longer and a little faster than the last and I got a taste of the addiction to running that I've heard so many people talk about. It's not the feeling of your feet pounding the floor or the ache in your chest or your screaming muscles. In fact I'm pretty sure they're the things people run in spite of. It's, in fact, the triumph you feel when your app tells you that you've run your fastest kilometre. It's the little puff of pride in your chest when you run for a little bit longer than you ever have before. It's being in competition with yourself and winning.




I am not a runner. I don't think I ever will be unless this really takes a turn I don't expect! My goal isn't to be a top athlete or to one day run a marathon. It isn't even my goal to lose weight or get fit. They would merely be bonuses. My goal is to prove to myself that I can be anything I want to be if I'm willing to put the work in. I've spent years telling myself and other people "I Can't Run" and I let that physio's advice become my excuse. But had I said "Yes!" when he asked me "Do you run?" I'm certain he would have given me different advice. He would have helped facilitate my running and helped prevent any injury. He wasn't saying I couldn't/shouldn't ever run but that it would be difficult and probably painful for my feet and ankles (which may as well be made out of mashed potato...) should I decide to take it up. Well, Mr Physio, I've decided I do want to take it up! I want to constantly challenge myself. I want to watch myself jump over hurdles that I never thought I was capable of overcoming. I want to leave my comfort zone and feel scared and uneasy, only to find that I had no reason to feel scared and uneasy in the first place. I want to triumph in ways no one ever expected me to, but most of all I want to surprise myself with what my body is capable of. Which I've already done in so many ways in such a short space of time but this is only the beginning. 


I will compile a little list of discoveries I've made about running and a few little tips for first time runners like myself in the near future, just in case anyone feels inspired! But for now, I just want to say...and I can't believe I'm actually about to type this but...

I Love Running. 


















12 comments

  1. What an inspiring and uplifting post. Well done Carrie 😁 cant wait to see you achieve your goal. X

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  2. I'd really recommend reading Jog On by Bella Mackie for running inspiration!

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  3. I had an operation in February to remove my bowel cancer and currently I'm on my second to last chemotherapy - I downloaded the couch to 5k app on the suggestion of a clic Sargent social worker and gave it a go one misty morning and (also having chosen Sara Milligan) I completed my first ever run! For me I've spent months 'taking it easy' and being told not to over do it and to have a rest, but to me body feels ready to use. And althought the chemo can be rough I have days I feel I can accomplish something, and doing that run and feeling like I'm gaining my old strong body back is amazing. My illness did not effect my appetite in the least, and not being able to do more then hobble around for a month while eating the many chocolates I was brought took me from 11-12st so if can eventually lose that stone through exercise while simultaneously strengthening my body. I'm in ��

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    1. HI, hoping you recover quickly hun. I was cleared of ovarian cancer in December, 2018 and have so far just been walking However, silly me on last Friday decided on trying cricket-which resulted in an upper tibia fracture and surgery on Wednesday and I'm currently in a cast. YOur bones are really brittle dong the chemo and afterards, I was only running to throw he ball. Aim for walking. Hugs to you x

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  4. It's lovely to read for someone like me who's also obviously not made for running, but still doing it despite everything. I have asthma, one x leg (yes one, I don't get it either), my feet are so overpronated I'm basically running with my leg next to my foot, my knees are somehow just as weak and unstable as my ankles, and the rest of my body isn't much better. Years into running on and off and my 5k PR is still 40 minutes. But when I saw that you and a bunch of others were going to do a 10k I ventured out of my 5k comfort zone and signed up to run it too. Turns out I actually like the longer distances in training, and to my physios horror I'm planning to start half marathon training after. The runners high is indeed in spite of all the shitty parts about running, but all the more because you have an excuse to show everyone a medal because you ran a race and the pride for a new PR. The feeling when you get to show your new medal to your friend and family. The walking around town right after the race with your medal on and having random people tell you good job. The sense of community when fast runners in your running group slow down to run with you to push you through the hard parts of training. High fiving kids on the side of the road during races. Local runs where you just found out they give you a free pancake at the finish. Training runs when the weather is just right and it feels like you want to go on forever. All those make the blisters and sore ankles totally worth it.

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  5. Omg! I have had issues with stamina/running my whole life and despite trying at different times to improve that, I haven't really gotten very far when it comes to distance running. This was the first time I've read something that I actually related to with goals I feel like I can achieve! I also think I need to stop seeking advice from people who don't want the same results for me as I want. I tried personal training for the sake of being healthier and whatnot, but the personal trainers insisted on making it about sculpting my body and losing weight with the entirely wrong mindset. When the most specific goal I gave was "muscular arms," one said, "maybe when you lose weight you can think about dating?" Why would he assume that I don't date?! Anyway, I also better understand now that I can't focus on "healthy" if it means consciously restricting my diet and feeling bad when I don't, or exercising to lose weight. The personal trainers were focused on weight and fat percentage rather than vitals and overall health. Exercise is incredibly important, but having expectations which in the end affect my self-esteem makes it hard for me to keep up with it.

    That was a terribly long tangent but I just wanted to say that this gave me new vigor for running which I think might actually work this time since I understand my body and brain better and this was the first time someone else started out with similar running capabilities. The end.

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  6. In your stories you mentioned that you can't run to music because you start running to the beat and I had the same problem but then I found Spotify has playlists that match songs to bpm. It was fantastic, they have a wide variety of bpm and it not only distracted me from my own weezing but helped me track my improvement (ie when I was ready for a higher bpm).

    https://www.cnet.com/news/hitting-the-pavement-with-spotify-running-hands-on/

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  7. Hi Carrie! This has inspired me to get back to running, i used to do load dog sports but when I went to uni I very much fell into the takeaway junk food lifestyle and exercise became an alien concept! I started couch to 5k earlier this year and got to week 5 but final year uni stress got to me and I put it on pause. This time next week I will have finished university and this has given me the inspiration to take up couch to 5k again! I'm not bothered about the number on the scales but I do want to ditch some (Not all!) Of the comfort junk food and start living a healthier lifestyle and running did wonders for my mental health! I'm not sure if you use Facebook at all but there is a very wonderful amazing supportive Facebook group for couch to 5k runners who are all positive and share loads of tips and tricks in a very positive light! Thought I would mention it if you ever wanted to check it out :)

    Thank you for being you and making the world a happier place by being in it :)

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  8. Giiiiirl good job! I will perhaps, someday, pick up running ONLY if I have found the perfect sports bra ��

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    1. Shockabsorber ultimate run bra is the real miracle worker behind my runs. I'm a 75E (34DD UK sizing) and while the bra is on the more expensive side, there's also minimal to no bounce. Oh in my years of wearing them I've never had chafing or anything digging into my skin either.

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  9. I'm so glad to read about the "little victories" that you faced with running. I feel like often times through media and friends we only ever hear about the positives of loosing weight or being able to run a super long amount at a quick pace. Part of the reason that I hated working out and running in high school was because of how we saw results. Everyone else were starting at better places- they were faster, could run longer, could lift more. We often hear about how we have to push ourselves, and yes, that is how you see improvement, its often shown in ways that are too extreme or unhealthy. If some people were to read this they would argue that you should have pushed yourself to run faster for those ten minutes and not to stop. But why is that? We already know that progress is not linear, and you have to start somewhere. I think people tend to forget that when you exercise you need to take into account your mental state just as much as your physical state. So here's to you Carrie, and your "small" victories. A victory is still a victory after all. I already know that you've helped others like me with viewing little steps in exercise as something that is actually do-able and not an extreme.

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  10. This is amazing! As a runner myself, I'm so happy to see you enjoying running, and feeling those endorphines! I can definitely agree with the love/hate relationship that you described haha. Best of luck with your 10km, it will be such an beautiful accomplishment. xx

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