19 5 / 2013
I said Saturday morning and Saturday morning it was. The evening before I’d asked my wife, Hazel, how I should approach my first run. I was concerned about seriously not enjoying it and thereby ruining the next 357 days of life. Hazel said two things needed to be right. Firstly, my pace. The slower the better she said. And secondly, my shoulders must be as relaxed as possible otherwise I’ll use up energy by tensing them and make the whole thing all the more fatiguing.
Great, I thought. Go slow; I can do that. Going too fast was probably the mistake I’d made in the past - getting exhausted very quickly and putting too much strain on my lungs, heart and muscles. It quickly leads to a big dislike of jogging. But relax my shoulders? Maybe I tense them without knowing. Maybe they’re relaxed anyway. Who knows?
So I set my alarm for 6:30am Saturday morning and made sure I didn’t drink on Friday evening. Jumped out of bed, put my jogging playlist on, stretched off briefly and set off. I had a simple and short route in mind. About a third of a mile in I thought, ‘this is alright!’ And surprisingly, I was quite enjoying it. I noticed a slight niggling pain in my left knee and generally the plodding pace was working and relaxing my shoulders seemed easy. Cool.
Just under a mile in and I was sweating. My knee was still hurting. My calves had really tensed up and my legs were feeling heavy like someone had just turned up gravity.
Then Lose Yourself by Eminem came on. Anyone wishing to feel pumped by a piece of music puts Lose Yourself on, don’t they. So I passed the mile point, rounded my son’s school and looped back home.
1.35 miles, an elephant’s trunk worth of sweat, legs made of concrete and all in 17 minutes and 26 seconds. But man I felt good!
After a huge stretching off period I was buzzing. It must’ve been adrenalin, I’m guessing. Or maybe my heart just had a renewed sense of purpose. But I went into a slightly hyper mode for about an hour. Flitting around the house tidying up toys and telling people to get dressed.
By mid-afternoon my legs began to ache a little. And then Sunday morning I could hardly walk. Oh, the pain!
It’s going to be a few days before I can run again I expect, but I’m up for it now. Bring it on!
18 5 / 2013
I’m unfit. Like really unfit. I have done virtually no exercise since I was 21. I’m 33. I love drinking. I’m at my happiest watching films with a bottle of Pinot Noir. I have a desk job, which I drive to and from. I can’t run up a flight of stairs without getting out of breath.
This is me last week at my sister’s wedding do. I’m 5’10” (175cm) and 190lbs (13st8lb, 86.2kg). I’m thankful the photographer zoomed out so much. But I’m still cringing at the sight.
I’ve tried jogging in the past and very much disliked it. The difficulty of it! Jeeez. Stuff that. I’ve never kept it up. But it’s to my detriment. I’m overweight and seriously unfit with 2 young boys, who very soon will want to chase me around with footballs and rugby balls. I have a responsibility to them, if nothing else, to get fit so we can have a kickabout on the beach and so they’re not embarrassed by me around the pool.
So I thought ‘I need pushing’. I need a reason. I need to be forced to exercise. So I’ve entered the Leeds Half Marathon 2014. Boom. I’ve done it. I’ve paid my fee. I’m not backing out.
I know this is a doddle for many people. But for me, this is a real challenge. I’m going from couch zero to 13 mile hero (in my eyes). For the bloke who can’t run and hates running, this is my Everest.
So here we go. 11.5 months to find the stamina for 13.3 miles. I’m gonna do this!