Oh forgotten are the days when I used to take running in my stride. Literally. I tied the laces to my runners and threw my hair back into a ponytail, ready in my tee-shirt and shorts. I grabbed the bike I'd not ridden in years and unchained it, gripping the handles tightly through nerves. I'd not been outside the house in years and here I was about to do this. 'I must be mad to do this ...or mad that I haven't done this?' My heart was beating with anticipation of the exercise ahead. On I perched and slightly wobbly I took off, rucksack on back armed with my fitbit on wrist, a bottle of water, a note bootk, pencil, some pitch cones that I borrowed from my daughter's cricket set, a clock watch and Laura. I clicked the stopwatch and it began counting the seconds. Just a few minutes of flat riding I would be at the local sports ground, where it has a huge green where I intended to be my training ground. This was where it was all going to happen. The ride there was effortless and when I got there I clicked the button to pause time. 5 minutes 12 seconds. Not too bad. I took the pencil and logged it. I didn't bother to look a the fitbit because I had cycled and not walked. At the close entrance of the park, I clocked the builders stood smoking outside what was to be our new property, so I bit my lip and edged toward them and asked how long until they would hand the keys over. I was getting restless back at home thinking about moving. 'Damned builders keep putting the dates back!' 5 more days and keys handover, they said 'Yes!!!' I was going to see a lot of this park as it would be right on the doorstep of my new home. Smiling and content with this news, I continued on and hit the cycle path through to the field. I laid the bike down and took out the pitch cones. 4 of them. 'Oiiii haha NO.' I called while some little terrier dog was about to take a piddle against my bike!I The owner laughed and apologised. I laid the pitch markers 30 paces apart in a square. I marked down in my note pad the distance of the cones and took out my water. It was going to rain, but oh well. I told myself come rain or shine I was going to do this! On went the headphones and I found the first podcast session. 'Breathe Karen....you can do this!!!' I psyched myself. The park was relatively quiet with only a few passionate dog walkers. I felt nervous but tried to block them out thinking about what I was about to do. I looked down at my feet in the runners I rarely wore and which still looked a new brilliant white colour. 'Not for long in this grass' I thought but to get to see them ageing and wear and tear on them surely would mean that I am doing something right. Looking down at them I caught sight of the unsightly belly that had grown to an overhang. This snapped my mind back into determination and on the podcast went. 'Laura sounds really nice. Reassuring' I thought. The minutes went on and on I plodded. I was far less fit than I initially thought. Just when my mind was filling with uncertainty whether I could do this, and with negative thoughts like how bloody useless I am, Laura's voice "well done keep it going! you're doing so well" and that was brilliantly timed. It was not easy. In fact, my calves felt like they had been lit on fire, and were burning. My brain felt like it was pounding out of its skull and my heart...wow my heart had not beat so fast in a long time. I tried to keep pace, something I had learned when I had trained as a county representative runner for both long distance and short. 'Pace yourself Karen' my coach would forever say. I heard both the voice of Laura and Keith my coach, and it really was like they were both present. I wanted to stop but Laura kept pushing. I kept wanting to quit, at one point I was crying while I was running. Mascara running down my face mixed with tears and sweat. My tee shirt clinging to me sodden. It was an uncomfortable and alien feeling. 'I can't do this' I actually called out at a couple of points and wanting to stop so badly I thought I might pass out. My calves felt like they were so tight and rigid now, as time passed I got slower and more tired but I didn't stop. I didn't quit. I cursed Laura out loud while laughing through my tears 'I hate you so much right now hahaha!!!' I could feel the blood rush to my cheeks, the veins in my hands were raised so high and so filled of blood I thought they may burst. I wondered if I might have a heart attack with the way my ticker was tocking. 'Oh nooo!' just when I thought that it was over there was more. 'AHHHHH!' I was beginning to get to my exhaustion point but I was really determined I would get to the end. 'Left, right, left, right, one, two, three, four, ' I tried. One foot infront of the other, my pace becoming not mere than an "American walk" but hey. I was still going. I hadn't stopped. I would 'do better next time,' I promised. And then "now walk it out for the last 5 minutes until the end of this song" I don't know how many times I ran around those blasted cones. I don't know how I made it even once. I was marching to the end dammit if I had to drag myself by my own tee shirt collar. I was going to throw myself over the finishing line. 'YESSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSS' I shouted like a lunatic throwing mjy arms wildly into the air. 'HELL YES!' A passing dog walker looked back wondering what my mad cry was about and chuckled. I think she thought I was a little bit crazy, but that's Okay. I can live with that. I plonked to the floor laying face down in a star shape and you know I KISSED that muddy ground! I went to reach for my water and THE ABSOLUTE CHEEK. Some hound had grabbed hold of it and was trying to run off with it!!! 'Hey!' I laughed scrambling to my feet and after all that I CHASED that dog down. Goes to show you always have more energy than you THINK you have. And that water may have been covered in dog slobber. But I didn't even care, I earned it, iit was mine and I beat the bulge today.I did it and it half killed me but I did it. I got in 5,000 steps and earned Boat shoes badge in my fitbit too. Yay!
But I am going to have to watch those sneaky dogs next time. Oh Yes.
Edited to remove the image..