I’ve been here before. 9 weeks of constantly battling with myself both physically and mentally to finish this thing called Couch25K. Last time I did it at the end of six months of constant dieting and denying myself anything even vaguely pleasurable. I weighed 9 stone 6. Looking back I breezed through it, though it didn’t feel like it at the time. I must have done, I weighed nothing and I was living on lettuce leaves and cous cous. I thought I was happy then, the running was an extension of the food denial. I also did it because someone told me I’d never stick with it, that I didn’t have the will power to do it. That’s like a red rag to a bull for me and sheer bloody mindedness pushed me through a lot of those runs and the dieting in 2011.
I ran a charity 5k to celebrate, ran a couple of times on holiday then stopped. Nothing would have tempted me back out after I’d proved I had the will power. Fast forward 3 years. 2 months ago when I started running again I weighed 13 stone 6. That’s a hell of a difference. My knees and back were under a lot of pressure this time.
Mentally I beat myself up for the first 10 minutes of every session whether I was running or walking. Luckily that bloody mindedness is still there but this time I was using it in a positive way – I will finish this run because I owe it to myself to get fitter, to lose weight, to be able to run for 30 minutes. I’m not an old woman and I’m not an invalid – 30 minutes running is a perfectly normal, acceptable amount of exercise for me to be able to do.
I do have chronic asthma – I need an inhaler every day, if I didn’t take it in about a week and a half I would be in bed and unable to get down the stairs. But it’s not a debilitating condition when it’s managed properly and the running is just making me stronger. That first week I thought my lungs would explode in the first 5 minutes. I have to run for nearly 30 minutes to feel like that now. I’ll never be off my medication but I might be able to reduce it.
Running this time is for me. I’m not doing it to prove to someone I have what it takes. I’m doing it because it makes me happy – it gives me an amazing buzz. I’m also doing it because my health long-term demands it. I have not altered my diet one iota in the last 2 months and I stood on the scales this morning and saw the screen flash 12 stone 9 at me. That’s 11 lbs lost just from exercising 3 times a week. Imagine if I hadn’t drunk all that wine and eaten all that bread 😉 But you know, I might just start having one less glass of wine, and not having sandwiches for lunch because if I can continue to run and lose weight who knows what cutting out the bad stuff will do!
The other reason I know I’m going to stick at it this time is that I really love running. I don’t know why I allowed myself to stop running in 2011. I had a lot of personal stuff going on that year, it was a turning point in my life but I let go of one of the things that got me through a lot of that stuff and that is my only regret – all the hours of running pleasure I missed out on in my hiatus.
I am going to do the obligatory charity fun run this weekend. For Asthma UK – it’s an amazing organisation and the least I can do is rattle a virtual tin for them to pay back all the help and support they’ve given me over the years. They sent me a lovely purple t-shirt to run in too! So here’s the link if you want to sponsor me – https://www.justgiving.com/Lis-Garrett/
So what’s next. Well running 5K in 30 minutes is my next immediate goal. I think that will take a few months. That’s enough to be going on with for now, but who knows where I’ll be in a year’s time.