“Run?! Me?! Ha! Only if I’m being chased…”
I have often joked it would take an angry bear/scary clown/Mulberry outlet sale to get me running and to be totally honest until a couple of weeks ago I fully believed that. I am a pretty lazy, food-loving, sofa-slouching Mother of two – BUT I recently discovered how good regular exercise can make you feel. Thank you Jillian Michaels, you smug, toned bitch – the inches I shredded in February may indeed have started to creep back on but the mindset you beat into me has definitely remained.
Well, despite ‘not being a runner’, tonight I ran my fastest mile yet. It was only my fifth ever run so there wasn’t much to go on, but as I started jogging down the road the heavens opened and I picked up the pace accordingly. I was chuffed to get home and find, despite being soaking wet through, (literally. Even my bra was wet. Delightful) I had beat my previous time by a whopping 35 seconds.
A friend of mine put something on Facebook not so long ago about how much she enjoyed a good run after work and I commented something along the lines of “I wish I was a runner”. I’ve always envied runners. They look so composed, so determined, so focused as they pound the pavement leaving their troubles and several hundred calories behind. She told me “anyone can be a runner” and my other half recently started up too, so I decided I’d give it a go.
I downloaded the Nike Run app, whacked some music on and set off, feeling motivated. It. Was. Horrendous. I started out way too fast, got a horrible stitch, my earphones kept falling out, my knickers were so far up my bum I thought I would need to have them surgically removed and my throat was burning. It turned into less-than-effective interval training as I just couldn’t keep going with my throat on fire and my insides about to explode (slightly dramatic, but I actually did consider hopping into an ambulance I saw while I was limping along). After I’d recovered, I messaged my Facebook friend about how rough it was and she told me about the importance of breathing through your nose and out through your mouth to avoid stitch and a dry throat – I responded that I could easily nail that as it was exactly the technique I relied upon to pop my daughter out eight months ago! (Incidentally, she is also the reason I wet myself a teensy bit when I first ran.)
Runs 2, 3, and 4 were much better. I wore much more appropriate underwear, got my labour-breathing mojo on and shaved time off my fastest mile each time and felt much better – and on run number 3 I discovered I could actually run a mile without stopping, which might not sound much at all to seasoned runners, but I felt like I’d won the London Marathon when the robotic American Nike woman screeched “ONE MILE” into my ears and I was still striding along.
Tonight, however, was gross. That was the rain’s fault. It made me run fast, that’s for sure, but that nasty old stitch came back and I was bloody freezing. The fronts of my thighs are still red and I got out of the shower well over an hour ago. Yuck. So, maybe I am a runner after all – a fair weather one – but a runner nonetheless. I would highly recommend it to anyone considering it and I intend to keep going, build on my distance and improve my speed as much as possible.
What I’ve learned so far:
– An eleven minute mile is just as far as an eight minute mile.
– Labour breathing is essential.
– Running the same route is dull, so mix it up.
– Stitch effing hurts.
– A wedding playlist is not motivational running music.
– Having two babies can really wreak havoc with your pelvic floor.
– People who heckle as you run are knobs.
– Decent pants are about as vital as decent trainers.