Still plodding



I’m pretty chuffed that I’m on Week Six of eight weeks of Couch25k training!

I started with the NHS podcasts but reasonably soon, the music started to drive me insane. Not even in a ‘run faster to get it over with’ way. It was borderline demoralising. Plus I had issues with them telling me, whoever, that I should run through pain. Discomfort yes, but running through pain is stupid and that’s how people get injured. Yes, I ditched them over semantics.

On a friend’s recommendation I downloaded the Active Network app and I can use Spotify alongside it. Plus I’ve just found out that that one of the coaching voices is a zombie. Massive win!

The only way to make it work, practically, for me to keep up with something like this, is for me to get out of bed, put on exercise gear and go straight out the door in the morning. That’s because my motivation evaporates during the day, and also because howbloodyfrickingtiredIam hits badly in the evenings. Poor Sproggett gets night terrors, frequently. Not fun for anyone. Those following mornings are tough ones to persuade myself to put on the shoes and go.

Still though. On alternate days, because I’m trying to keep up momentum on the programme, it’s up, dressed, out, by 7:00 latest. Mr D attempts to get breakfast into the boychild and we swap like a pro tag-team when I get back, with me dressing the wee man and getting him ready for nursery, or “Adventure Days”*. I’m really lucky – most of the time my schedule is flexible or going out on weekday mornings to run would be tough to manage.  I’m sorely aware that I need to be fitter to keep up with the kid, that’s mostly what keeps me going.

Living right beside a park helps. It’s my makeshift running track at the moment. I try to log which point I reach around the perimeter on my running bursts, see if I can better it (and then I use the apps to tell me if I did afterwards.) I watch the dog walkers who meet up on the green before taking their joint pack to the Marshes. Smile at the other huffing joggers, occasionally eliciting one in return, an acknowledgement of solidarity. Nod at the quiet Asian lady who runs a few paces behind her husband, but only when they think that they’re hidden in the trees, slowing to a walk again when they meet other park users on the path. On weekends I keep an eye out for the homeless guy who sleeps on the bench in the furthest corner, not wanting to rouse him abruptly from hard-won sleep as I lumber past.

It’s getting easier to go, in that it’s more of a habit, even if the activity itself seems still rather difficult somedays. Oddly the intervals have been harder than the longer jogs, which may be because of muscles warming up, getting a second wind etc. I’m most definitely still a work in progress. But I’m loving it.

Next workout is ‘jog for 22 minutes’. I may need to be scraped off the pavement at 7:45am on Sunday.

*we tend to go out on I’m looking after him before we both go mad at home.

August and everything after

The first pingy pingy notes of ‘Round here’ by Counting Crows on “August and Everything After” immediately transports me back to Maine, and my first proper summer away from home. It’s exactly half my lifetime ago, and I wonder where I’ll be in another twenty years.


I’ve been thinking about what sixty will look like for me, assuming I get there. I mean, my family are pretty good models of longevity but it’s not understating the matter to say “I could be helping myself out a bit more”. I had some routine health checks done recently (the GP’s receptionist chirpily told me that they were offering them to everyone over forty, like we’re some sort of endangered species) and I was surprised the results all came back ok, to be honest. I was semi-primed for disaster. Ok so I was glad there was no bad news, but perhaps I needed something to Get My Arse In Gear? I’m not unhealthy, or at least not in need of intervention, according to medical definitions, but I’m not exactly brimming with energy and I’m still carrying baby weight. Hell at this point I’m carrying about two Sproggetts’ worth of extra poundage around with me. I. Don’t. Like. It.

So as usual, much stock taking going on around here. I read a couple of blog posts that sparked steam trains of thought, although the usual themes are the same – productivity, what I want to achieve, what the hell am I doing with my life. Do you get like that? I sometimes look around me and think – wow, how did I get here? That’s not to say I’m not happy with my life, hell if anything my worrywart gene kicks in bigtime when I take stock of just how lucky I am, and I get petrified it will all fall apart (that’s when I usually start forecasting the zombie apocalypse and getting worried that I can’t run very far and how long could I carry Sproggett for…?).

So I read Lucy’s post about Making A List. Ooh I love a good list, might be connected to the stationery fetish. Also the husband uses lists to great effect and we both use an app called Things which works well with the the GTD system. I like its notion that ‘Your brain is for having ideas, not for holding them’. Although where I usually fall down is on the reviewing element of GTD, I’m excellent at braindumping. It literally makes you feel lighter when all the swirling screaming ‘must do’ things get removed from your mind and stored somewhere. I’m also a massive fan of Evernote, btw, and that link gets you a free month of their premium service although the free one is fab.

Last night just before bed – with eyes almost closing – I scribbled out a list called ‘By the end of 2015’ as the start of a road map for August and everything after.

I surprised myself with what was on it.

Lots of it was health related, like

  • Able to run for 60 minutes straight
  • Able to weightlift properly
  • Have a sub-25 BMI

I know that the second one, in particular, needs to be quantified – defining what I mean by weightlifting etc.

Over the past couple of weeks I’ve restarted the NHS Couch To 5k podcasts – mainly motivated by an amazing friend who is a couple of weeks ahead of me on the programme, and I’m into week 2. This morning, after a night of broken sleep thanks to Sproggett and a tumble drier that was possessed by the devil, when Mr D shouted ‘I thought you were going to run this morning?’ up the stairs at me, the very last bloody thing thing I wanted to do was haul my arse out of bed and bumble around the park.

I procrastinated checked Dark Sky and it told me there would be rain for the next hour. My running kit was still wet thanks to aforementioned temperamental appliance. I WAS TIRED.

Then I remembered Liz Goodchild’s blog post and thought, no I don’t feel like it. But I want to be able to run for 60 minutes, and unless I go out and slap one flat foot down in front of the other, repeatedly, I’m not going to be able to do that. Not by 2015, not ever. I’m not going to get less tired unless I get fit.

So I wrestled my iphone back from Sproggett, who has lately learned the phrase ‘my turn’ which he thinks is a magic spell for him to get whatever he wants, found some shitty Apple headphones that are like about as comfortable as trying to wedge grapes in your ears, and walked out the door.

Thirty minutes later I was slightly damp, home, and glowing. A little bit of smug, a lot of JESUS IT FEELS GOOD TO ACTUALLY EXERCISE. Why can’t they bottle endorphins?? Just a little of it makes me want to go back to running marathons (ok it was only the one but distance running is just the best thing ever, IMHO) and lift sofas over my head. A couple of weeks ago I went to a weekend Power Pump class at the gym which turned out to be full of semi-pro lifters and although I didn’t walk properly for four days afterwards, I was buzzing like a four year old on Frosties afterwards, and I realise how much I miss that feeling.

But I’m not signing up for marathons or even 5ks. Not until I can run one. This time around I’m looking for ways to change over the long term, which is why I’m thinking through to 2015, rather than a quick-fix that doesn’t last, and doesn’t work.

I can’t decide whether I’m an optimist or a pessimist but I’m sick to the back fecking teeth of thinking ‘I wish I’d done’ ‘where did all the time go’ ‘what have I achieved’ etc etc and so I’m going to take stock, and Make A Plan. Through 2015 which frankly should give me enough time to take over the planet.

There might be a better way of going about doing this – it’s the spew-inducing notion of ‘goal-setting’, isn’t it? The first step is finishing Couch 2 5K. Then we’ll look at the rest of the list.

Want to encourage/compete with me/buddy up with me for running? Search for me on Nike+


Photo from Linh Nguyen‘s Flickr stream under a Creative Commons licence