I first started a draft of this post about three weeks ago when I went out for a run for the first time in months. I wasn’t sure why I did it that weekend, but I was in the mood for it. I’ve thought about why then a lot since and realised that it was the weekend that Sports Relief was on the BBC, @fergusbisset was tweeting from Singapore about preparation for the Youth Olympic Games, it was the weekend before the clocks changed and the first weekend I can remember with proper spring sun – I mention these things because I think they all contributed to me getting out there, in some lesser or greater way. It was also the weekend that @rich_w went for a run and a few other people, who I can’t remember, in my twitterstream mentioned that they’d been out. So maybe there was something in the air.
I was full of great intentions that this was the first run of many this spring. I had plodded my way around 2.7miles of my neighbourhood, this followed two days later by 3.84miles in the rain…see dedication, that was it, I was back in my stride.
(Photo by Josiah Mackenzie)
Except I wasn’t. Next up was a week in London so I packed my running gear (my trainers are huge, I swear they took up a quarter of my case) but forgot my socks….and here we go, here follow the justifications I used to myself for not running for the following fortnight:
1. I didn’t have any running socks with me (it’s true, I didn’t and I have destroyed my feet with crap socks before) but I was in London, there are shops everywhere.
2. I didn’t have time….ah the old classic. Truth is I never have time, I have to make time and it’s all about priorities.
3. I didn’t know the area…umm yeh, so run up the street and turn around and run back, repeat.
4. It’s too hot…um take a drink.
5. It’s too cold…take a top.
Other favourite excuses of mine include – my gear isn’t clean, I’m feeling fat and people will laugh at me (please note I’ve never been laughed at while out on a run, no-one has stopped and pointed, no-one has ever commented, some people even say good morning as you pass them), I don’t want to have to shower twice in one day, my ipod is flat (I’ve not charged my ipod in years so have run without music for years but used to rely on this one quite a lot), I’ve got no-one to run with, it’s dark outside, I’ll get so hot and sweaty it’ll take hours for my face to regain it’s normal colour*, I’m away a lot and I should be spending quality time with Mogs…honestly I could go on, but I wont.
The hardest thing for me is always just getting out the door. Even when I was in love with running (and I have been for considerable periods in the last couple of years – I even started a running group at work I was that evangelical), but I never once jumped out of bed in the morning, charged downstairs and out the door. I always find it hard. I forget why I enjoy it. I put myself under pressure. I make it a chore and then I stop doing it.
So last week I thought I’d mess with my head and give myself permission to run if I wanted to, for as far or as short a distance as I wanted. I went out on Tuesday, did 1.7miles and enjoyed it, went out on Wednesday, did 2.4miles and enjoyed it….then came Thursday and a stupidly long day in work, Friday and guests staying, Saturday and work again (get the picture…those excuses they are a coming). This morning I really didn’t want to bother going for a run, but I knew I should. I phoned a friend who gave me permission not to go, which I really needed, once I had permission not to and it was no longer a chore, I thought I might like to. I wasn’t convinced but eventually put my gear on and headed out in the sun thinking one mile was better than none.
So where is this story going, I wish I could tell you I got the sun on my face, the wind to my back and 10miles later….but that’s the fairy story and this is real life. I did 2.4 miles again but was glad for having done it and as I was cooling down and checking my twitter stream I noticed a post from @amcunningham entitled ‘You’ve got to #restart somewhere‘ and it was as though she was reading my mind. How I wished I’d seen her post before I battled with myself earlier, my problem is that I forget how much I enjoy running/jogging/plodding/walking and I build it into something it isn’t, Anne Marie’s post was the reminder I needed that we’ve all got to start, or restart, somewhere.
Anne Marie included a photo of herself after her run in her post, so today you all have the questionable delight of seeing me at my worse…in the perverse hope that it might inspire someone else to get out there and just do it!
*For those of you who are interested my face stops being so hideously red after about 15mins 😉