Running after stroke – never say never!

Have you always wanted to run? Do you have doubts about running after stroke?

My running story

Prior to my stroke in 2013, I would say that I was a reasonably fit person, although I never ran or took part in any basic fitness training. I would walk a lot and think that kept me fit. Around 10 months’ post stroke, following my post stroke depression, I met my personal trainer, and my positivity and zest for life began to return. I threw myself into fitness (sometimes to my own detriment as I would spend days in bed following a short mountain climb!). I loved it. I loved the feeling of climbing to the top of a mountain or kayaking across the Pumicestone Passage where we live and just being with nature.10k fun run 2016

It was only during the early part of 2015 that I took up running and trained for a 10K. I started with a simple Couch to 5K  running app and it gave me the basics for running. I then joined a running group and got the much-needed passion for being able to complete that run. Hard work and determination to succeed paid off.

In 2015 I completed my first 10K run and in a time of 1 hour: 9 minutes, so I was very pleased with that. I ran the first 8.5K and only walked up a very steep hill near our local Shelly Beach. I completed the same run again in 2016 (in the howling wind and rain) and it took me two minutes longer. Here is a photo of my husband David and I in 2016, just before we ran the 10K fun run.Shelagh park run

I am currently training for the next one in June 2017 and YES, it hasn’t been an easy ride but I have, and continue, to put in the effort needed. I now do the local 5K Park Run on Saturdays and try and run 2-3 times each week, in addition to other training. Here’s a photo of me at a recent Parkrun, storming to the finish line, with my last breath!

As a stroke survivor, I do not believe the words ‘I CAN’T’ exist. Unless you are physically disabled to do so, you too can run.

Here are five tips worth knowing that have helped me run:

  • Manage your running with your fatigue and you will do OK (i.e. take rest before if needed)
  • Drink plenty of water before your run so you don’t become dehydrated
  • Try and find a running buddy to keep you motivated
  • Find your local Parkrun. It’s free and it doesn’t matter how slow you go at first. Just keeping trying and there are plenty of people there to cheer you on.
  • NEVER give up trying. Always believe in yourself and you CAN do it if you really want to.

Here is a poem, entitled ‘I did it!’ which I wrote following my first 10K run and I hope that it inspires you to get out and run. It would be great if you could comment on this post and share your running tips and your achievements, however small they may be and let’s keep each other motivated.

 

                                                              I Did It!

When we first came to Australia, seven years ago, this year.
Our Lady of Rosary was Patrick’s school. Many memories we still hold dear.
Each year they organise a fundraiser, held here on the Coast.

The Caloundra Foreshore Fun Run it is, and well attended by most.

There’s a 10K, 5K and so much more. It’s a beautiful family day.
You can even take a 3K walk and participate that way.
So, the first year I attended I did the 3K walk.

Run? No chance. You’re having a laugh. I’d much rather walk and talk.

As the years progressed, I saw those runners coming through.
I thought “Maybe, am I serious?  Is that something I could do?”
I’d watched my good friends running and some had suffered a stroke like me.
They’d trained and got so fit again. That’s where I aspired to be.

Even after my stroke recovery and getting fitter by the day.
Without the correct training a 10K run? There was no way.
So my friend suggested a personal trainer based here on the Coast.

If I joined their runners’ eight-week plan maybe a 10K I could then boast.

So, with my personal trainer, and boot camps through the week.

I added on the running course. I tell you it was no mean feat.  
Many mornings up at 5am. Is that really a time to rise?
Some training sessions were really tough. The trainers I grew to despise!

I hurt my knee on a training run. That really set me back.
Physiotherapy sorted that out, and the day came around real fast.
I was feeling very nervous but my mind set got me through.
If I was going to achieve this goal of mine. I knew what I had to do.

As I ran downhill to Moffat Beach, the finish line in my view.
I saw my son waiting to run with me. Tears welled and then I knew.
I’ve really gone and done it! I’ve actually run 10K.
A goal I thought I would never reach I well achieved that day.

 

from: A Stroke of Poetry

by Shelagh Brennand                                                                         

 

Stay healthy and happy (and run!)

Shelagh

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