My digust and disdain for all forms of exercise is well known amongst my family and friends. A few weeks ago I was forced into a “fun” run by my well meaning husband who recently decided it was time to get fitter. But why is it called a fun run? I don’t get it. I don’t see how running can ever be anything but hard and painful. Definitely not fun. Ever. And my Big Fun Run at Cannon Hill Park was hardly the barrel of laughs the event name suggested.
I totally admire my husband’s persuit of fitness but I’m not inclined to join him on this one. While he’s out running the streets of Alvechurch you’ll find me at home with my feet up watching Corrie with a packet of chocolate hobnobs and a glass of Pinot Grigio.
He has tried hiding his disappointment as all attempts to persuade me to join him fell on deaf ears. He’s used all the well known arguments; after the first few runs you’ll start to enjoy it, you’ll get a buzz when you’ve completed a run, you’ll be able to eat more chocolate if you exercise, you can buy new running gear if you like it.
A few days after the “not fun at all” run, Ad was still trying to persuade me to run with him and was talking about the next 5k “we” were going to do. He is persistent. And very annoying. But something of what he was nagging about started to hit home. It’s true that I’m not as fit as I could be (understatement). It’s true that I need to take more care of my body. It’s true that I have more time these days to be able to indulge in a hobby. And it’s definitely true that I’m getting older and need to be more health conscious. There is little chance of me giving up unhealthy food and alcohol so maybe I do need to look after myself in other ways? So I did the unthinkable. I decided I would, very quietly (as in telling no one – not even Ad), give running a try in the hope that I would fall in love with it.
For the last few weeks I’ve been trying it out. 2 or 3 times a week I’ve been jogging along the local canal gradually building up my distance and pace. I had to come out of the closet and confess to the family what I was up to because it was too hard to be secretive about it. To say Ad was astounded by my revelation is an understatement.
I’m still slow and the furthest I’ve run is 5k. I have to force myself to go. This “you will love it after the first couple of runs” nonsense is exactly that – nonsense. I did have one moment last weekend when I was running along the canal early one morning and for a second I thought I might be enjoying it. It was super quiet and the water was shimmering under the morning sun. I lifted my head just long enough to look around me and the place was beautiful. Totally gorgeous. And for a minute it was kind of worth while. I was glad I was there. But it was just a moment.
The whole running thing for me is such a struggle. The first mile is a killer. As is the last mile. If I’m on a 5K run that leaves the mile in the middle where I’m getting my breathing under control and managing to ignore my aching calf muscles and twinging knees. Those of you that run decent distances regularly have my total respect and admiration. Running hurts.
Today I tried again. Another 5k of torture and pain. My breathing was all over the place, I couldn’t get a steady rhythm going and my legs hurt. I fell through the door when I got home still deliberating the “Where was the fun in that?” question and yet again failing to find any answer. My father in law told me that in 15 years time I will be happy that I’d persevered with it. 15 years???? I need my reward now! I don’t do the delayed gratification thing. I’m not up for that.
So what now? I feel like there has to be a better (and by better I mean easier and preferably sofa-based) way for me to get fit. But I have promised myself I will give this running thing a proper try and not give up at the first sign of stitch. It’s not going to be easy!