In a moment of utter madness today I agreed to sign up for the Great Birmingham Run, a half marathon, in October.
13 miles. Sh*t.
One of my colleagues excitedly asked me if I wanted to join the rest of the faculty, who had all agreed to take part, and before I had time to think I found myself agreeing to it. If my friends can do it, so can I, and I can raise some money for a good cause too.
Indeed, I’ve been inspired by a number of people recently. My friend Rob has just completed the London Marathon and as I was watching the highlights the other day in the hope of seeing him, I was thinking to myself that I would like to do that one day. My friend K, who is now thankfully in remission from breast cancer, is doing the Race For Life with her daughters in June.
But 13 miles? Sh*t!
When I was in my teenage years, I was extremely fit. I swam for a team, played badminton for a team and had my brown belt in karate. I did horse riding and represented the school in cross country. I had a strong, muscular body. I even had a six pack.
However, when I went to university, I stopped exercising, drank lots of alcohol and started smoking more, and consequently put on weight. Lots of weight. The Freshman 15 became more like the Freshman 50, and over the years it has continued to increase. My six pack has turned into a barrel. At the age of 33, I am now overweight, unfit and extremely unhealthy, and I absolutely hate it.
Before my 30th birthday, I bought a dress to wear for my birthday night out. It was strapless, black and so expensive that I almost cried when handing the money over. However, it was just a little bit too tight, highlighting the least flattering parts of my body, and so I decided to start running to lose some weight.
I remember that first attempt. I bought the recommended running apps, sorted out an inspiring playlist, gave myself a goal and set off with a positive attitude, determined to do at least a mile. By the time I had reached the end of my road, I thought I was going to die. My face had turned bright purple, my heart was beating out of my chest and I was covered in sweat. I turned round and walked back home.
I had done less than half a mile, and had walked half of it.
However, over a period of months, I gradually built up my distance, until it got to the point where I could do 5km without breaking a sweat, and I found that I actually started to enjoy it. Actually, that’s a lie, I enjoyed the feeling that I had after I had finished the run. I hated it when I was actually out there.
It worked – I wore the dress and felt good.
Three years later, I have slipped back into old habits. I’ve put on the weight I lost, and then some. My smoking has increased again, and I have turned to food as comfort in times of stress. I’m tired all the time, I can’t fit into any of my favourite clothes, and I have started to dread the warmer seasons because I can’t hide my wobbly bits underneath hooded sweaters.
I’m not concerned about being ‘thin’ – I think that women of all shapes and sizes can look equally as beautiful – but I want my strength back again. I want to be able to fit back into flattering clothes again. I don’t want to feel like I’m going to pass out every time I run for the bus. I’ve talked about it on the blog before, but never really followed up with anything. Now, I’m paying money (which I never joke about), I’m making promises to my friends, and I’m making myself accountable to thousands on readers online. Now, I have to do it. Indeed, I need to do it.
At the beginning of this year I set myself some small goals that I didn’t initially share with anyone else: change my job, and lose some weight. I’m well on the way with the first one, and this weekend will be the start of the second.
But 13 miles???? SH*T! Do you think they would let me run it horizontally?
Advice is needed here people…
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