I used to be a runner.
I know I was a runner – rather than someone who went out for a run – because I ran a marathon. There’s even pictures to prove it. There’s one on my desk at work right now gurning at me – waving at me while she is perpetually moving and I’m just sitting here. Staying still.
I say “used to be” because the thought of moving myself that distance right now just seems like a distant memory. Was that really me, plodding through the streets, mile after mile, debating the merits of jelly baby vs energy gels (jelly babies, always choose the jelly babies)?
Laziness seems to have crept up on me and kept me stuck to the sofa, like how a cloud crossing the sun casts darkness over a previously perfect summer’s day. I’m not sure how it happened, and how I didn’t notice – but now, when I think to myself “I really should go to the gym”, the response is less likely to be me picking up my kit and bounding along to my workout, and more likely to be a sigh of “oh I’ve got a slight headache, it’s probably safer to give this session a break” as I reach for a snack.
Oh the excuses you can come up with when you don’t want to move your ass.
I kept up my GoodGym missions to Judith – making a cup of tea and sitting with her whilst we watch Pointless remains one of the highlights of my week – but there kept being reasons (oh “reasons”, there’s always “reasons”) that I had to walk to visit her, or even (horror!) get the train, rather than strapping on my trainers and running there, which is kind of the whole point of GoodGym. I mean, the clue’s in the name, guys.
It was on one of those runs to Judith, where sheer denial had kept me convinced I was running at the same speed as I always had (hey, perhaps even quicker – who knows!) when I made my fatal mistake. The App of Doom.
On my shiny new phone, I discovered something called “Exercise Mate”, which tracked and timed my run. “How excellent”, I thought, “This will prove to me just how fast my legs are – Beyonce’s thighs will be quaking in their boots” (I’m nothing if not delusional).
But oh, the shame. Not only was I slow, but I was slow and running a much shorter distance than I thought. Double whammy of shame. My casual “oh I could bash out a 10k tomorrow, and probably a marathon next week, after all I run 4 and a bit miles each week to Judith (just don’t mention the cup of tea and a sit down in the middle)” suddenly became “oh my god I can barely crawl 3.5 miles, what happened to me?”
I’ve been trying to get myself back in the routine ever since. I’ve signed up for the Nike “We Own the Night” run, and as two of my friends have also signed up (one of whom having never run before), I really can’t back out now. I’ve even actually run that 4 and a bit miles a few times now – and without the cup of tea in the middle.
But that little devil on my shoulder, who barely even existed way back when in my Actual-Runner-Don’t-Call-It-A-Jog days, is still there whispering in my ear and I think I’m just going to have to accept that, and turn up my playlist a few notches more in order to drown him out (Miley Cyrus is particularly effective at this, I’ve found).
And I need to stop seeing that picture on my desk as mocking me, but instead see it as encouraging me to get out there – You did this. Your legs did this. They’re the same legs. Now get out there and use them.
Today’s quote is from Bernard Williams