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.