I noticed the other week how a person in my life has become a very influential person in helping me to progress with my running from only being able to run 20 minutes non stop, then up to 5ks, 10ks, 10 miles, half marathons and up to the ultimate marathon distance.
I met Jackie when her daughter was about 6 and she was in for swimming lessons in my class. Her daughter was a beginner and good at swimming on her back. I got the whole class to swim on their back, Jackie’s daughter was doing it with two, and was kicking and lost one of her floats. She could have kept going, but about a metre from the edge she panicked, lost her bearings and went under the water (1m deep). My first reaction was to look to see what the lifeguards were doing, then I decided it would be best if I popped in and helped her up. After the lesson Jackie came over and thanked me.
We got to know each other and when I was up to running 5ks she offered to take me out on my first 6 mile run.
We ran the (now well known) ‘loop de loop’ route from Bella, into the deepest darkest forrest of Pollock Park then out the Corkerhill exit. I distinctly remember running up Corkerhill Road (about a mile long) and wondering when it would ever end, and then I was punished at the end of it with a short steep hill up. :-S
Jackie eased around the route and helped me with unimposing tips and advice. That was probably around the end of 2008 and now just over 2 years later I’ve run countless long runs, with her, with others and on my own. I’ve even managed my own lonesome marathon and 3 months later I’m ready for another one. I’m sure a lot of my success with running is from the input Jackie had in the initial stages.
After doing more 6 mile routes with Jackie, she took me on a 10 mile run to Paisley and back. Once again she helped me along. She introduced me to energy gels and making sure you hydrated properly on long runs. We chatted about everything and anything and even did runs specifically to chat. Speed isn’t ever a thought when I’m out with Jackie. I just run to be out with her, I run at her pace and I enjoy the chat.
Jackie then helped me to train for my first half marathon, and is always on hand to help with tips on running or injuries, or anything. She got me into running the Mighty Deerstalker, the worst experience of my life ever, but I’m glad I did it and I’m glad I did it with her and met all of her friends. She’s taken me on countless routes and shown me all over Glasgow cycle routes and running routes to help me create my own. She got me running through puddles and mud without worrying about ‘getting my trainers dirty’ and I always look forward to a run with her. Jackie is in her early 40s, and is a brilliant person. And not only that, she doesn’t think she is. She is just so nice and caring for others, and would never see anyone go without. She bakes a mean banana loaf and cooks a brilliant lentil soup. She’s built up a large social network through Bellahouston Leisure Centre and she is just truly a very nice person. Everyone who meets her loves her. She is quite short and has a very short stride when running… ‘twinkle toes’ we call her. 😉
Since I’ve known her, Jackie’s completed countless events, not only running (5ks, 10ks, halfs, a marathon), a sprint triathlon, the Coast to Coast challenge, Midnight Marathon Walk, an open water swim and the Mighty Deerstalker. She’ll try anything and mix things up so that she gets a bit of variation now and again. She loves a challenge and is happy to them on her own or with others.
We were all injured in May 2010 and we ran the women’s 10k dressed as little red riding hood, the wolf (me), the woodchopper (Jackie), and the Grandma. it brought so much fun into what used to be an event for me where I’d try and get a pb and run as fast as I could. We had a great time and we raised nearly £500 for Parkinsons, last minute.
I’ve helped her with her swimming and she’s been so hard working and motivated to improve in everything that she does. She’s had loads of injuries since I’ve known her, (stress fracture, bad back, knee injury) but she never lets them get her down.
She’s sensible and will cross train when she can’t run. She knows her own pace and her own limits and she believes in me and makes me beleive that I can do anything. She positively made me beleive I could run a marathon, and I did, in a great time, on my own. She’s done a marathon and she’s supporting me when I do my marathon in Lochaber. She’s walking the West Highland Way the week before and meeting me in Lochaber. Once again, she’s roping in lots of friends so that the journey will be fun and packed with great memories for her, her family and her friends.
So after all this, when I was running with Julie Ann (introduced to me by Jackie!), I realised how much Jackie has helped me and I wanted to do something for her. I got her a puma hoodie and got ‘COACH JACKIE’ printed on the back of it. She doesn’t think of herself as a coach… but she is. She’s helped me in countless ways with my running, and I hope I’ve helped her on our runs too.
Hopefully she’ll wear it when I complete the Lochaber Marathon and I can dedicate the run to her and all the help she’s given me.
Here’s to many more runs into the deepest darkest forrest and beyond with Jackie. 😀
My bud, wee Jackie Aird from Govan. I salute you!