Meet Gill Lloyd, OpenText™ colleague from Preston, UK. In this Humans of OpenText post, Gill talks about the joys of running marathons and achieving true wellness for the mind and body.
When did you start running?
I started running in October of 2017, after a 10-year gap and a creeping waistline! I decided it was time to do something more than just think about getting healthy. I realized that I had to stop making excuses and simply make the time to exercise. That’s where this bright idea was born!
Where did your passion for running come from?
It came from my passion for pizza and wine! And I also thought that I could eat whatever I wanted if I ran every day – haha! Unfortunately that’s not true, but it has definitely made me a healthier person. I’ve always been an active person with a can-do attitude. So much so, that I’m able to talk myself into doing all sorts of crazy things. In this case, I thought my body wasn’t going to be able to handle the long distance running, but I was wrong. My mind seemed to be the winner, and my body just followed.
How do you feel when you come back from a good run?
Most of my runs are very early in the morning; the streets are quiet and the air is fresh. After my run, I feel energized and ready for the day ahead. I also love having the chance to go on longer runs. It always brings me a great sense of accomplishment and exhilaration when completing a long, challenging run.
We heard that you recently completed the London Marathon! How did you prepare for that?
I started with a walk, then built up to five miles, then to ten, then to a half marathon, then to 18 miles, then to 22 miles, and finally, a full marathon! I entered races along the way as goals to challenge my training program.
I also completed an epic training session where I thought it would be fun to do some hill training. In 2017, I went to Wales in pursuit of the Dragon’s Back where I ran through the mountains. In order to survive this run, you need two things: the ability to read a map and stamina – neither of which I had at the time! Crawling up the side of a mountain with 1,000 foot drops on either side brought on a little panic in the pit of my stomach. Running out of the water after six miles certainly didn’t steady the nerves. I read in a training guide that if you find water running downhill, you can drink it. So, I filled my bottle at the nearest stream and hoped it didn’t have a dead sheep in it. After four hours of running, a voice in my head starting chanting “pizza…pizza…” and I began to wonder if I’d angered the mountains with my lack of respect. Six hours later, I finally descended into the car park, where I drove back to civilization as quickly as I could.
Why was it important for you to participate in the London Marathon?
I needed a goal that I could commit to, to help keep me going. I also knew that I didn’t want to let people down, so I signed up. The London Marathon is one of the largest in the world, only second to the New York Marathon, which is my ultimate goal. The London Marathon also has the support of most of the UK, so it’s an amazing feeling to see everyone cheering for you along the course. You can only truly understand how much this means if you’re a runner in the marathon. The supporters are the real heroes, not the runners.
How are you feeling about your upcoming marathon, the New York Marathon?
I’m excited and ready to use some of the lessons I’ve learned from my past races. The weather will be less hot during the New York Marathon, so this means I will be able to pace myself and not worry as much about my water intake. I also have the support of some fantastic colleagues who have become best friends, and I love New York, so it will be a blast!
What does the word “wellness” mean to you?
In order to feel true wellness, you need to have a healthy mind first, and then a healthy body will follow.
Anything else you’d like to add?
OpenText isn’t just a place of work – it’s a great place to form real, lifelong friendships. And boy, I’ve made some special friends who’ve been with me every step of the way. Bless you!