In April 2008, I ‘ran’ the London Marathon. It was a tremendous experience but as I crossed that line, I vowed never to run again. I just didn’t do a very good job of it all and of course, me being me, I just decided to chicken out of pursuing it further.
Now, it might seem a little bit back-to-front to have completed a 26.2 mile race and then learn to run 4 years later….but that’s what I am doing. There are several reasons for having taken up this sport. Socialising, getting fit, being outside, having a break from baby, doing something for myself. And a big one is the endorphin high which helps me keep depression at bay.
I’ve joined a local running group, which was my natural progression when I felt that my beloved Pushy Mothers buggy workout class wasn’t quite enough. The group consists of a real variety of people sharing one love. The love of Lycra. We meet by the Thames Estuary and trot along together, encouraging and pushing each other along the way.
There have been times when I’ve dreaded going out, none more so than when I had to scrape thick ice off of the car windscreen and then force myself to aim for the seafront. My god, it was COLD. When your car is a Swedish 4×4, built for extreme conditions, and IT is telling you to beware of ice and low temperatures, it does make you question your sanity of running in such weather.
I have the proper outfit too, running tights, headband, various breathable tops. I look the part, which is half the battle. Or at least, I think I do. It’s possible that I look like a string of sausages, but I don’t care! I’m pretty happy with what’s below the outfit too. If I miss running for a week, I can look in the mirror and think “yuck, what a mess”. But when I do run, I can look in that same mirror at that very same body and think “you look alright for a knackered mother of a 1-year-old, approaching her mid-thirties”. Which just proves that exercise and endorphins do tinker with your mental state and can really boost your confidence and morale.
Anyway, yesterday’s running group was brutal. Our mad instructor has been feeling unwell for a little while so we had got away with being slightly less energetic. Well she’s back on form and kicked us into shape! I felt a million dollars after class as always. But, when I woke up this morning, I felt like I’d been run over. Everything, and I mean everything hurts. It’s actually a kind of pleasant feeling as I know it’s muscles (yes, I have a couple now) working well. But, when it’s reached the point that someone has to help me get dressed, you know you’ve had a pretty serious run!
If anyone out there is contemplating it, or other sport, take my word for it. It’s addictive! I absolutely love it now. When I was having my photo taken with my marathon medal around my neck back in 2008, I felt like a bit of a fraud as I had made it only by the skin of my teeth.
It’s only now that I am reaping the benefits and doing it properly and from scratch, that I feel I can truly call myself ‘a runner’.