So I got to my 5k and, with a little bit of help from marathon-running friends, I was dragged across many a 10k finishing line dehydrated and fairly close to death from exertion. By Christmas 2012, I was a whopping 72lbs lighter than I had been the previous year and I was able to slowly jog (more of a speed walk without the silly rules) 10k without stopping. And you know what? I was as smug as I can only imagine that Pierce Morgan is when he goes through his phone’s contacts list.
Basically, I had no right to be smug.
Christmas hit and all thoughts of April’s Samsung Night Run went out the window. I ate. I drank. I moved less than I had done when I weighed the same amount as my grandpa’s prize bull. I exuded smugness. It eeked out of my body every time I opened my mouth to take in another Cadbury’s Rose. ”Yeah so I can run 10k without stopping now”, I would tell people. They would throw their mind’s eye back to how I used to be and get all impressed and I would sit there… smugly.
January rolled around and with it came poverty. And it was this poverty that reminded me of my goal. I was going to run the Samsung Night Run in just four months time. I was too poor for other entertainment so I pulled my sports kit out from the bottom of the laundry basket, did some washing and I was ready to pound the pavements once more.
What I was not prepared for was the fact that I couldn’t do it anymore.
December is only 31 days. I stopped movement approximately 15 days in so that meant that all it took to undo months of hard work was 16 poxy days. 16 days which now meant I was reduced back to my 5k and I was even slower than I had been two months prior.
When I got back from that first run after hopping back on the wagon, I sat on the couch and clutched at my heaving chest. I could barely breathe. Partly through exhaustion, partly through rage. I was furious with myself. I bit a pillow (my other half excused himself from the room at this point). I just couldn’t believe my pure and utter stupidity.
I assumed that once I ‘got fit’ then, well, I was fit. I was simply not prepared for the “if you don’t use it, you lose it” result! I may not have been back to square one but I most definitely fell down the ladder a fair few rungs.
All I could think was failure. For about a week failure was the only thing that was in my mind but after a couple of days of feeling sorry for myself I used the feeling. I used the word ‘failure’ to push me harder than I had ever pushed myself before. Failure became my metaphorical carrot tied up just out of my reach. I would chase it and chase it but no matter how fast or far I went I would never get to catch that rat bastard and punch it in the face.
Fear got me to put back on my running shoes 4 times a week and failure got me out the door.
If it wasn’t for my deadline of the Samsung Night Run, then I don’t think I could have gotten there. I had my goal. The old me set the goal and pretty much laughed at the notion of actually completing it but the new me walks past the couch and the cake and right out that door with Runkeeper (a handy free app that keeps you focused) at the ready.
I’d be lying if I said it was easy. It wasn’t until I got the notion of failure out of my head that I actually remembered why I was doing this. It wasn’t to be a size zero model (though the compliments are nice), it wasn’t a case of “I’ll show them” to rub it in the face of all who said I couldn’t do it. The whole idea was to become healthier and to be happier. The only way I could fail at that was to not enjoy it.
With this new-found attitude and after a painful few weeks of getting my fitness back to pre-Christmas gluttony levels, running was no longer a chore, I would look forward to my evening run. I was no longer trying to prove anything to myself, my friends or anyone, I just wanted to run. I’ve even perfected the obligatory joggers nod which seems to happen whenever you pass a fellow street runner.
The time for preparation is almost over! The Night Run is approaching fast, for the first time I can confidently say, I’m ready for that sum’bitch!