It seems like a long time since I started this. Like thousands of others, inspired by the Olympics, and even more so by the Paralympics, I’d started running. Well, walking a bit and running a bit. Actually walking a lot and running a very small amount.
I hadn’t discovered C25K yet, so I was just rolling out of bed pulling on my Tesco capris and the proper running shoes that a concerned friend had insisted I buy, and then running off down the road - no warm up walk – to the tiny park at the end of my street where I tried to avoid the pitbulls, calling a hearty 'Good morning' to their owners and the early morning drinkers, and hoping I sounded more confident than I felt. I couldn’t even make it to the corner without having to stop.
And then for one blissful week I was away from London staying on the Isle of Wight. It was the first week of September and the sun shone as it always does when the children go back to school. Every morning before breakfast I walked and ran (but mostly walked) along the seafront beside the English Channel, from Ventnor to Bonchuch, where I swam in the reflection of the rising sun at Horseshoe Bay, before walking and running (but walking mostly) back to Ventnor.
It was wonderful, running along rippled sand and splashing through rock pools, but, not having made Laura’s acquaintance yet, it was all a bit random; I could barely run the hundred metres from one lifebuoy to the next without stopping for breath.
Nine weeks after starting Couch25k and I was back on the island just in time for the last run.
Since discovering mapometer I’ve been taking great delight in plotting my runs, and I’d worked this one out in advance. I’d already learnt that I have more stamina than speed, so I wasn’t planning to run 5K but I was certainly going to run for more than 30 minutes. I started on the beach by the house where Charles Dickens once bathed in the waterfall that tumbles down the hilll (shame the council allowed an ugly garage to be built in front of it.) I followed the concrete walkway around Wheeler’s Bay, past the fishing boats and the piles of lobster pots, all the way to Ventnor, then along the esplanade to the Spyglass Inn at the end of the bay, stopping only to take off my jacket before running all the way back again. No Laura (sorry, I ditched her in week 6 when I couldn’t bear the music anymore), no Springsteen – just crashing waves and seagulls. I couldn’t help smiling as I passed those red lifebuoys that had seemed so impossible to ever run between just a few weeks ago. I’d taken my rucksack with a towel and swimsuit, just in case, but the tide was high - no sand and rock pools, just waves crashing and splashing against the esplanade and a treacherous undertow. Back at Horseshore Bay I ran up the steep slope to the car park and checked the time on my phone: 4.36 kms in 43 minutes.
I don’t normally do testimonials but this programme is simply amazing.