‘You have been selected….’
Oh my god! Oh my flippin god! I don’t believe it.
I nearly deleted the email. I’ve been getting a lot of junk mail with similar subjects recently. You have been selected…for a new herpes cream/penis enlargement/replacement windows. But no, I have been selected as an official blogger for ‘Too fat to run – the fat girls guide to running’!
As I read through my fellow bloggers bio’s (here) I can’t help feeling a bit of a fraud. I am fat and I am a runner, but an official blogger? These guys have been blogging forever and have at least a zillion followers. I have my mum and some facebook friends…
I tell my friends the news. They are delighted, although some had misgivings; what about when you lose weight and are no longer ‘fat’? One even exclaimed ‘But you are not fat!’. I like that they concentrated on the fat issue and didn’t say ‘but you aren’t a blogger’ or ‘you can’t call yourself a runner’. It’s probably why they are my friends.
But they did say ‘when you lose weight’. Because for as long as any of my friends have known me, I have been at that ‘when I lose weight’ precipice. I’ve just never managed to push myself over. I’m not hung up about my weight, or not enough to actually do something about it. I’m currently 5 weeks into a half marathon training programme. I run three days a week and swim on the other 4. I am still in the ‘obese’ area on the BMI chart. Obviously I have heavy bones.
I did start running to lose weight initially. Now I’m eighteen months down the line and possibly a few kilos heavier than when I started. Because the truth, according to my nutritionist friend, is that weight loss is 80% healthy eating and only 20% exercise. I’m sorry if that’s not what you wanted to hear. Running alone will not get you into those skinny jeans you bought in the sale because ‘you will lose weight’. But it might just make you want to lose weight so that you can run further or faster.
I started on the 27th December 2013. I was post Christmas bloated and couldn’t wait for New years resolutions. I put on my trainers and was heading out the door when my then 12 year old daughter Poppy said she was coming too. We endured little bursts of jogging interspersed with welcomed bouts of walking. We flicked ahead on our training programme to see what the future held and rolled our eyes at week 5, day 3 – ‘jog for 20 minutes’. Would we really ever be able to run for 20 minutes without walking?
We did. According to our stats, our running pace was only 7 seconds a kilometer faster than our walking pace, but who cares?! We RAN without walking for 20 whole minutes!
‘Do you want to go to Thessaloniki and do a 5k race?’ I asked Poppy.
She wasn’t sure. So far we had been running in places where we were unlikely to be seen. But at least she didn’t know anybody in Thessaloniki, an hours flight away from Rhodes. So she agreed.
On April 6th 2014 we find ourselves in the Alexander the great marathon. The 5k part of it anyway. The route takes us from the suburbs right into the centre of Thessaloniki. Along the harbor front and with the finish at the landmark ‘White Tower’. We get a taxi to the starting point and are dumbstruck when he drops us half a kilometer away because there are so many people! Feeling like a couple of hicks from the sticks, we edge our way into a spot in the middle of this throng of 8500 people.
Poppy’s discomfort is flowing off her in waves. Her mouth is set in a grim line. ‘This is embaressing’ she mutters. ‘We won’t even be able to run all the way. We will make fools of ourselves.’
Then we are off. She is like a hare at a greyhound track. I’m battling with keeping a steady pace I can maintain and trying to keep up with miss doom and gloom. We dodge the walkers (that makes us feel good) and Poppy keeps looking back for me, urging me on to go faster. We settle into a pace and before we know it we are on the last kilometer with the White tower and the end line in sight. It can’t come soon enough for me, but Poppy the gazelle is totally living the moment and sprints over the finishing line. She turns to me with a big grin
‘Mum that was great. We have to do another race!’
And that’s the rub with running. Before and during you might be thinking ‘what on earth’. But at the finish you just want to go and do it all again.