Today I took myself off the IC (shh! slightly early, but don't tell anyone!) and ran.
I haven't been out for a run for five and a half weeks - yes, you read that correctly - so I was desperate to get out. So desperate, in fact, that I had forgotten how to get out there. I forgot my HRM, I forgot my buff to wipe my horribly sweaty face with, I put long sleeves on (don't ask why, it was warm), I forgot my hair bobble - but do you know what I didn't forget? How to put one foot in front of the other
Six years ago I was wearing a huge cotton t-shirt and flappy cotton trackie bottoms. I did have a sports bra and I did have a pair of trainers. I had an old MP3 player onto which I had downloaded our Laura, I stuffed my house key down my bra, and I attempted a casual look as if merely going for a walk. I returned to the house gasping, beetroot-faced, dripping with sweat and incandescent with triumph - because although I couldn't do all the runs of Week 1 Day 1, I was going to have another go. Me. I was deliberately going to go running again.
As many of you will be tired of reading, it took me 50 runs, not the standard 27, to graduate, because I repeated runs and sometimes entire weeks. Since then, I've had days, weeks and sometimes months off through illness or lack of mojo. And I've run again. I've entered races. I've worn neon Lycra. Dammit, I've worn Lycra shorts in public! I've earned bling. I've met so many friends, on here and in person. I've been away on actual running holidays with those friends. They have all supported me through the highs and especially through the lows, and I thank them all I have run in 15 other countries. Last week I entered my first foreign race. I book my hotels now by carefully examining their surroundings - does it look as though there are good places to run nearby? I have run in some iconic places.
Today's run was just a gentle potter round my home town. I went back to the road I started on, and I laughed out loud as I covered the same ground.
If you're struggling, if you're doubting, don't worry. You'll get there. You don't have to be fast. You don't have to enter races. You don't have to get better, necessarily. I've slowed down. I can run further, sure. I've learned to enjoy running for its own sake, rather than thinking I constantly have to improve. Because I don't. All I have to do is keep running. There is only me in this race. And I can do this at whatever pace I want to, wherever I want, whenever I want.
I am so, so lucky. Thank you, NHS C25K