It's amazing how long you can procrastinate for. It was over a year ago that I first stumbled across this Couch to 5K plan, and thought "What a good idea, I think I'll do that. I'll have to get something decent to wear for it but I can do that at the weekend and start next week!"
Next week? Yeah, right! In my defence, it did snow a couple of days later, and then... well, life happens and good intentions don't.
So, let's forget about 2012 and jump forward to 2013. And, in the last few weeks a few things have happened to prod me back towards trying this running stuff - for real this time!
Firstly, I had a health check. I guess I must be pretty healthy, at least nobody from the doctors has been on the phone having got the results desperate to tell me that I'm about to die, a pretty good sign I reckon. Not such a good sign was when they weighed me, because I can do maths myself and work out that I am pushing the boundary between merely overweight and actually obese. How on earth did that creep up on me? I don't think I look particularly fat, I guess I must carry the weight well being pretty tall. But still... I was pretty shocked and disgusted at myself!
Then last week I played 5 a side football, the first time I've played in around 20 years. It seemed a good idea, actually it was a good idea because I enjoyed it, but wow... did it show up how unfit I actually am!
Now, I always thought I was in reasonable shape. Ok, day to day I spend far more time sat at a computer than is ideal, and I don't exactly do much exercise. But still, I enjoy walking and can rattle off a good long hike now and then without too many problems. As it turns out, however, I'm in slightly better shape than your average dodo but after 5 minutes of football I was almost as dead as one too.
So, I'm committed to this 5 a side for the next 9 weeks. And, while I figured it would get easier with each passing week it did seem to me that playing once a week and spending the rest of the week sat around wasn't the best way of going about things.
9 weeks... yeah, that rings a bell! Let's look up that Couch to 5K thing again, maybe it could be the perfect thing to help me here!
Despite still feeling sore and stiff from the football 2 nights ago, I went and bought some running shoes this afternoon, with the idea that I'd start this evening. I figured getting my muscles moving would help with that soreness, and if the idea is one days exercise and one days rest then today should be the day.
Of course, it didn't happen without procrastination. The plan had been to get home, have a light bite to eat, make a few telephone calls then go out about half past seven. At least then it would be dark enough that maybe anyone around wouldn't notice my pathetic pretence of running!
By eight, I was still finding things that just had to be done before I went out. At which point I thought about the running shoes I'd bought and how if I didn't use them it would be a waste of money... time to get serious about this! At which point my lodger kindly made me a coffee, complete with a couple of slices of chocolate cake. This really wasn't helping much!
By half eight, I had actually managed to get changed ready to go. Now the cat wants to be out... open the door... why is the cat still sat there? Oh great, it's raining! By now however, I'm pretty determined so the only question is do I wear a coat and get far too hot or do I get wet?
By nine, I decided the rain wasn't that heavy and I may as well just get wet. It might ever be refreshing! Walk out the door... no, rain is actually just wet. Nevermind, headphones in... lets do this!
And, so I did . I actually started it... been out, done the first podcast, and everything. I'm pretty proud of myself, to be honest.
I wont lie and say it was easy, because it wasn't. My already sore legs now feel even sorer, and my feet have decided to come out in sympathy with them. My route could have been better, the first run ended up being down a hill which wasn't easy and the second up and down steps. But, at least I now know that's how the timing works out so I can adapt it to avoid that next time.
But, while it wasn't easy it wasn't impossible either. The idea of running for longer than 60 seconds right now does seem impossible, but I'll worry about that in week 2!
Strangely, as tired and sore as I feel right now I am actually almost looking forward to doing it again. I only hope I feel as enthusiastic on Sunday, though I have my doubts about that that.
But right now, I think a hot bath is calling me and then there's the small matter of that chocolate cake I mentioned earlier. I resisted before I went out, but I reckon I've probably earned a treat now - it's certainly calling me and telling me I have anyway!