Running Scared

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When a family member asked me what I wanted for Christmas, I flippantly emailed a list comprising 2 items – 1) pyjamas and 2) running clothes with a note that said “In case I ever get my arse moving in 2016.”

I didn’t get the pyjamas.

All The Gear, No Idea

Faced with all the gear and literally no idea, I thought I’d go for a “quick jog” a couple of days after Christmas and before New Year’s Eve, congratulating myself that I’d be ahead of the game before all the New Year Resolution runners got started. I completely forgot about the large amounts of chocolate, cheese and red wine that were floating around in my belly, congealing from the holiday season. “Just go down to the park and back” said my husband as he cooked himself a fry-up.

The thought of the neighbours in our very cosy cul-de-sac seeing me in my new skin tight running leggings spurred me on to sprint past their houses before the curtains could start twitching. After that, I won’t lie, the next five minutes were hell.

Although I wasn’t in any physical pain, I couldn’t get my breathing under control. Scrap that, I couldn’t even breathe. My body was screaming out “WHAT on earth are you doing? You’re 40 years old woman! The last time you ran was in the school sports day. Go back home and drink some tea!”

Somebody Help Me

As I lumbered along, I remembered someone once saying that you should keep going as you’ll soon find a “rhythm”. But listening to the rasping noises coming out of my mouth was only putting me off and making me feel weird. I wasn’t sure what I should be doing with my arms and my main concern was to determine if there were any sane looking people around who might take me to hospital should I be found collapsed on the floor.

Luckily there were plenty of other people about, mostly dog walkers and other runners. But to my amazement, they tried to engage me in conversation. “Nice day for it,” “Morning!” and even “Happy New Year.” I couldn’t even raise a smile let alone respond; could they not see that I was on the verge of having a heart attack?

Despite stopping twice, I managed to make it back to the house in one piece (sprinting past the neighbours again). “How long was I gone for?” I panted to my husband as I fell into the nearest chair and the children jumped on me with eager concern. “Err… 13 minutes,” came the reply.

Keeping it Going

Today, I completed my 5th run / walk. I’ve managed to make it a bit further and pushed myself a little bit harder to keep going before I have to stop and walk. I’m still struggling with the breathing and am nowhere near the stage where I might consider enjoying it.

But I’m pleased with myself. I’m pleased that since the 30th December (OK I realise that’s barely a week), I’ve managed to do a tiny bit of exercise every other day that fits flexibly into my routine. I’m pleased that I managed to keep it going on the week that everyone went back to work and school. I’m pleased that I haven’t as yet ended up in hospital. Will I keep it up? Who knows, I hope so.

I think I’m pleased that I didn’t get the pyjamas.

Any tips for beginners from runners out there, gratefully received!

 

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Why 2016 Has Got to Be Better Than 2015

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At the start of 2016 I love the feeling that anything is possible, that anything might happen this year. I have a few goals and hopefully won’t fail at the first hurdle. The main thing is that I feel extra positive about 2016. As a family we had such a traumatic 2015, things surely can only get better this year.

In July we lost my father-in-law after a horrible year-long illness. The summer was a horrendous time, and things didn’t really improve for the rest of the year. For the majority of 2015 we all had a range of illnesses from minor coughs and colds through to tonsillitis and with me suffering from pneumonia. When your defences are down and you feel low, you tend to pick up any germ and bug going, this was certainly the case with us. On top of all this, we had to deal with the shock of our eldest daughter not gaining a primary school place at any of our 4 choice of schools. The upset, intense preparation and failure to win the school appeal was incredibly wearing and emotional.

The Only Way is Up

On a more positive note, we had a lovely Christmas break. It was fantastic to spend some quality family time together again without having to worry or stress about anything. I really noticed a positive change in my eldest daughter’s behaviour as a result.

I don’t really like setting New Year’s resolutions as I think it only sets you up for a fall, but I have a few goals that I’m aiming for this year:

  • Less Booze. I love my red wine, it helps me unwind and relax especially after particularly stressful days. I can’t give it up completely, but I am aware that our relationship last year got completely out of hand. I was drinking most, if not every night and more than one glass. I kept telling myself that this was understandable given our awful year, but it’s time to stop now. I want to cut back and aim to have more nights off than on the wine.
  • More Writing. I want to get back into doing more writing in all capacities. More blogging, more freelance writing for clients and I want to get more articles out into publications if I can.
  • Less Time on the Phone. I say this a lot, but I am determined to spend less time on the phone when I’m with my kids. I often catch myself looking at meaningless rubbish on Facebook or checking emails and berate myself about it, but still continue to do it! I am determined to put my phone out of sight when I’m with the girls so that I can’t be tempted to look at nonsense or check emails; that can all wait. I want to appreciate the time spent with my children more.
  • More Running. This is probably the hardest one for me. In a bid to try and get fitter and healthier, I started running at the end of 2015. Unlike gym or yoga classes, running fits flexibly into my day and I can go at my own pace (extremely slow with lots of walking). The bad thing is that it feels like it might kill me. I hope to keep it up. I hope that I begin to enjoy it or at least be able to breathe and cope with it better!

More than anything, I hope that 2016 brings us more joy, health and happiness. After such a stressful, insular time last year, I want to spend more quality time together with friends and family. I’m feeling positive. I think this will be a good year. I hope it will be for you too!

 

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