I have never been a sporty person. Dancer, yes, sportser, no. I certainly never ever ran any distance or time above about 10 seconds in my whole life. Kendrick was not really about the PE life and when we used to run the ¼ mile laps of the school we literally walked it and then just pretended to run when we were going past Miss Collins (shudder). Well, I did anyway. Don’t want to tar you all with my lazy brush. In fact, I have often joked that if you see me running then there was something terrifying chasing me or perhaps I had seen a particularly delicious looking cake up ahead.
About 12 weeks ago after having the app in my phone taking up room for some time, I started on my Couch to 5K adventure. I was (am) really overweight, I’m not getting any younger (pushing 42), had just recovered from being hospitalised as a result of pneumonia and hardest of all my fragile self-confidence had taken a real battering over the past 10 months or so after being made redundant from a job and a company I loved (and then subsequently being made redundant from my next job which I also really liked because of Covid-19).
So, something needed to be done. I have friends who had previously done this Couch to 5K thing and at the time had been following other friends posts on social media that were going through it. I liked the fact it starts from literally nothing and just builds up over time. It didn’t feel that overwhelming to begin with and to be honest I never in a million years thought I would do more than maybe a couple of weeks of the 9 week plan. I thought it might kick start me into a bit of exercise of some kind though before I keel over and die from laziness.
But here I am....12 weeks later....and I have done it! I have completed the whole Couch to 5k plan, every single one of the 27 runs and some of them more than once which is why it’s taken me 12 weeks rather than 9. I have learned that there are a lot of moving parts when it comes to having a successful run. Sometimes you just can’t do it and that’s ok, although obviously the first few times this happened to me I was overly dramatic about it and blamed myself entirely for being useless.
For me, the key is to just keep going once I’ve started. If I stop that’s it, game over and I have to just start again another day. To try to keep myself going I started thinking about why I was doing it. Obviously there are the usual reasons; to lose weight, become fitter, improve my mental health and all those good things but actually a lot of my motivation comes from proving people who have told me I couldn’t do something wrong even if they never know about it. That sounds a bit mad when you write it down. Anyway this massive achievement of mine was for you if you are any of the following (ordered chronologically starting in 1989, I am ridiculous):
Examiner who said I couldn’t pass my cycling proficiency test at primary school (whatever).
PE teacher who said I couldn’t be in the netball team….ever (to be fair that was the right decision I was terrible at netball).
Ballet teacher who said I couldn’t go en pointe (well I did and I was rubbish but I still gave it a go).
University who said I couldn’t do their course because my A levels weren’t good enough (I didn’t really want to do Arabic with Middle Eastern Studies anyway).
Manager who said I couldn’t have the appraisal rating I deserved (you were wrong and you know it).
Manager who said I couldn’t manage a team (you were also wrong, I’d done it before and I did it again and I was good at it too, feedback is feedback).
Scoring process who said I couldn’t keep my job (I don’t think this will ever not hurt).
My own stupid brain who says on a daily basis, and has done for many many years, that I can’t do anything right or well and I suck at everything.
Not that I’m one to bear a grudge of course…
You will notice that my mum not letting me go to see the Levellers at Rivermead in 1993 doesn’t feature in that list. There is a good reason for this. While she was categorically wrong to make that decision and as a result RUINED MY LIFE, now I’m a mummy I get that she was just trying to keep me safe. In addition to this, she has redeemed herself slightly by becoming a Couch to 5k running superstar too and I could not be prouder. Still not totally forgiven though.
I would also like to thank some people for getting me going and keeping me going…
ELR and The Naughty End, you were my initial inspiration years ago but never got round to doing anything about it. You have continued to support me because you are great and I know you understand how my brain works. Tap springs are always an option.
Declando and Daish, you were my inspirations to start doing it now after seeing you go through it over the social media. You two and Ricardo, have helped me get my head around it just not working sometimes but to keep going.
Running Wankers, how lucky I am to have met you all at Baby Yoga and I love our little Whatsapp Group of inspiration and pelvic floor chats.
Peaches 'n' Cream Barbie, my boobs say thank you!
Shorty and Bunk, you are both so great and always think I can do anything. Your support is everything and the feeling is mutual. I love your faces.
VP, groove actually is in the heart. I miss you.
Dave and The Mothership, thank you for being proud of me and when Dave comes back from NZ let’s do a Munchkins family run?
Mr D, I know you were incredibly sceptical about me doing it to start with but I can see how proud of me you are now and I appreciate the fact you have kept our children alive while I run.
Chad Logan and Brad Logan, you make it all ok, always.
So, slightly cheesy Oscar style acceptance speech over, that’s not an exhaustive list of people who have helped, so many people have been encouraging and supportive and humoured my Facebook babbling and it’s made the world of difference to me. I second guess myself a lot (you’ve possibly noticed this) so just getting reassurance from people that I’m not making a total arse of myself means a lot.
The other thing that makes me feel all warm and fuzzy inside is when people tell me they have started doing Couch to 5k, have restarted it or are thinking about getting involved because they’ve seen me doing it (you all know who you are). You’ve all seen how I dress, I’m not often a trendsetter or anything so it’s nice to feel like people want to do something I’m doing. Also, this is going to sound dramatic but this whole thing has been life changing for me and I want everyone else to feel that too.
Please do tell me if I’ve inspired you because basically, I am like a dog and love a bit of positive reinforcement.
So, in summary, I don’t like talking about it, obviously, but I do run.
I am a runner, don’t you know?