It did strike me at the time that there was a certain irony in starting my fitness journey on April Fool's day, but to everyone's surprise, my own most of all, I actually stuck with it and it actually worked.
Given the elastic nature of time it seems like only yesterday I set out on W1R1, and yet I can't believe its only been 2 years. My life and body and mind have all changed so much in that time.
Those first few runs I had to wear a backpack with my ipad in it because I didn't have a phone or MP3 player. I literally fell on the floor after the 3rd 60 second interval. I am sure I was sick at least once during W1. Until W3 I ran in secret, not even my wife and kids knew what I was up to, so uncertain was I that I would be able to stick with it. I can clearly recall the first time I ran for 5 minutes unbroken it felt so surreal I thought I was having a flashback. Prior to that I had never run for 5 minutes continuously... well possibly in my life, as I had health problems as a child that prevented me from running even then. Living on a couple of bottles of wine a day (conservatively) and whole lobes of foie gras for the following 30 years meant that at 46 I really did not imagine ever being even halfway fit again. It also led my to have the minor stroke that provided the impetus to finally do something about it.
Even while I was doing C25k I did not really think I would reach graduation. I had in mind that I might get to being able to run for 10 minutes and would then stick at that. 10 minutes was the loftiest goal I could imagine. And then I got past the 10 minute mark. And then the fabled W5R3!!! 20 minutes!!! and on to graduation. Somewhere along the line I guess I got the bug. With each run ticked off I realised that I could do a little more. That with hard work, consistency and a sensible progression plan, it is possible to achieve whatever you want, however impossible it seems at the outset.
2 years later, I have run more than 50 races, on road, cross-country and particularly Obstacle races, up to distances of 30 miles. I have lost 2 stone in scale weight and my body fat ratio has gone from 28% to 12. Much more importantly, my confidence, self-belief and enthusiasm for life have sky-rocketed. The realisation that I could achieve a goal led me to set more goals and achieve them too. Far from 'never being satisfied with my achievements', it has taught me to love and thrive on the process. The goals themselves are a pleasant byproduct, it is the doing it that counts. Running led me to an appreciation and enjoyment of all the things my body can do, and the importance of keeping it in good order. I have become keenly interested in nutrition, I lift weights, do gymnastics, yoga... there are so many fun things to try. There are so many things that I had written off from childhood that I would never be capable of that I have mastered or am working on. I have done my first handstand and have a goal of walking on my hands; I have learned to skip and am working on double-unders; I am working on learning to swim properly rather than my lifeong panicked flail to the shallow end. I can get up off the floor without using my hands where two years ago I couldnt get up the stairs without holding onto the banister.
And I am having so much fun doing it, and have made so many new friends along the way, at gyms, at races, on here... and friends who have a positive influence on my life.
All in all I am in a much better place than I was 2 years ago, and have a much healthier outlook on the future. Old and ugly are inevitabilities that are beyond my control, but fat and weak are no longer on the agenda.
So, thank you Laura for C25k, despite your horrendous music, and thank you to all of you on here for all the support and inspiration. I quite literally would not have made it this far without you.