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!