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All aboard the weight loss train – next stop ‘Marathon’

Fat, unfit and caught in the limbo land between christmas and New year, I donned a pair of cheap trainers and downloaded the ‘Couch to 5k’ app.  I was desperate.  I mean, I must have been.  No-one takes up running for fun.  They do it to lose weight or win medals, or just keep weight off.  I never for a moment imagined that I would actually be able to run 5km, but i figured that if i could run for 30 minutes, 3 times a week it would help me lose weight.

I’m almost two years, two 5 km races, one 10k and one half-marathon into this running thing now.  Have i lost weight?  Um, not a huge, significant amount.  But its changed me in so many other ways, given me so much more than a drop in the number on the scales could ever have.  It’s changed my body shape, given me amazing muscles (some still blanketed in fat) but the biggest change has undoubtedly come from the inside and reached much, much deeper than owning a pair of size 10 skinny jeans could ever do.

Self knowledge, self belief, determination, organisation, focus, self love, success, achievement,

Now I know that people don’t just run to lose weight, keep weight off or break world records.  The running world is full of people of all ages, shapes and sizes and they run because they just love running.  Yes really, its a thing.  When I see someone out running these days i feel like pumping my fist in the air and have to restrain myself from shouting encouragement.  And the weirdest thing, I feel jealous.  If people ask me why I run, I want to ask them why they don’t.

Despite a nagging doubt that I would never be able to run for 30 minutes without walking, I’m not going to pretend humility and say that I never envisaged myself running a marathon and losing 20 kilos.  It was the first thing that entered my mind when I laced up those trainers and jogged for 1 minute/walked for 11/2 for 20 minutes.  Because that’s me;  take an acorn and see an oak tree. Just like that.  See the end result and wake up one morning and be there.  Never mind what it takes to reach Oak tree status.  Not see the green shoot push through the earth.  Not see the storms that bend and threaten to snap your early days.  You get the picture.  But training and completing my first half-marathon taught me patience, opened my eyes to the planning, diligence and commitment needed to grow, to improve, to achieve.  And that there are no quick fixes, no shortcuts.

Back to the weight loss thing.  So now I am training for a marathon.  But here is the irony.  I am still trying to lose weight.  But I am not running to lose weight anymore, I’m losing weight to run.  Faster, further and healthier. A whole 42 and a bit kilometres faster, further and healthier.  I’m going to document my progress as a personal record for myself and  as a very unscientific experiment to see what changes marathon training will do to my 44 year old body.  I’m not going on a diet, but but I will be eating healthily and mindfully of what my running body needs.  I will find a way to work wine, cheese and biscuits and hobnobs into this because otherwise whats the point in life.  My training plan includes running three times a week and cross training on the other days with TRX, Pilates, Yoga and Greek dancing (yes, really)  I will photograph myself once a month and record my weight, body fat and measurements for the next five months leading up to the ‘Roads to Rhodes Marathon’.

And I will publish the results here.  Proceed with caution, once seen, these images can never be unseen.

The backside that leaves the room 10 minutes after me...
The backside that leaves the room 10 minutes after me…
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I did it!

‘No I bloody well can’t cook dinner, I just ran a half marathon!’

‘Mum, that was 3 days ago!’

I can see that one is going to wear thin really soon, but I’m milking it a while longer.

People don’t talk about this. It’s all about the lead up to the event, the training, the fuelling, the stretching.   Nobody actually tells you that afterwards you will feel like you’ve been tied to the railway tracks and left there for several days while trains go backwards and forwards across your body. And the mental fog! It’s taken me 2 full days to trust myself to do anything that required some level of concentration or operate machinery (like the oven).   But it’s uncannily like childbirth. You forget the anguish and the pain and can’t wait to do it again. After all, (but unlike having a baby) when the event is over you are at a bit of a loss as to what to do.

Let me tell you how it went down. Continue reading “I did it!”

Feeling the fear…(Part 2)

I thought I had a sleepless night, but I am recalling some weird dreams. One involved my mum holding a glass of wine for me with a straw in it. ‘I told you not to over do it’ she says. Obviously the paralysis from my leg has spread to my arms too.

The weird feeling in my bum and leg is still there. This has completely taken over from the fear about my lower legs.   I have to face this and deal with it. I call the physiotherapist. They have an appointment today or tomorrow. I can’t get it together to get there today. I take tomorrows appointment reluctantly. I want this over with, I just need to have my self diagnosis confirmed. I tearfully push my trolley round the supermarket. I’ve done something. Irreversibly damaged myself by this ridiculous notion that I could possibly run 21 kilometres. I’ve brought this on myself. Continue reading “Feeling the fear…(Part 2)”

Feeling the fear…(Part 1)

I’m late. This post is at least a week overdue. I delayed it because I was afraid of writing a negative post about running. Or at least what I feared to be a negative post. I should have manned up. I should have written about it. Instead I obsessed, I whined to my friends, I googled and I wound myself up into a tight little ball of frustration and despair.  Sounds life threatening, doesn’t it.  I thought so too.

It was all going so well. I was up to a 16k long run with just an 18k the following week and then the Sunday before the half marathon a 14k as the start of my taper. The 16k went really well (I wrote about it here). Then I went out 2 days later to do a planned 8k. My calf felt tight, a bit weird. It’ll loosen up, I thought. 10 minutes into the run a cramp in my calf set in, but that wasn’t the worst of it. On the insides of both my lower legs I felt an incredible tightness, like they were going to burst. The sensation came in waves. This is it, I thought. I’ve got a thrombosis and I’m about to have a stroke. Not that I’m dramatic or anything. Listen to your body, I told myself. So I curled up in a ball in the middle of the road. Continue reading “Feeling the fear…(Part 1)”

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