No. Not really. The only marathons I like are the ones that are now called Snickers. The only running I’ve done over the years is running my mouth.
Except now I do run. Well, kinda. If you can call slogging along, breathing loudly, occasionally shouting at the path, and sweating like a pig for a whole 90 seconds at a time, desperately hoping the American voice on my phone app will hurry up and tell me to slow down to a walk, running. Which you probably can’t. But as it’s more running than I’ve done since I was five years old, I’m darn well calling it running!
I only started this 13 days ago. I ummed and ahhed and tried to buy time before finally caving and signing up to my mate’s running club for beginners. ‘Won’t be so hard’ I thought, ‘I walk quite a few miles a day in my job anyway.’
HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA!!!! I have never been more wrong in my life!
I turned up that first evening really early, wandering around nervously, eyeing everyone with suspicion, especially small children, until the one face I knew arrived, we all got introduced, and we went off on our warm-up walk. Everyone friendly, chatting, weather nice, surroundings pretty (posh bit of town and a nature reserve). ‘This is nice.’ Then the ‘beep, beep, beep’ of head honcho’s phone and suddenly everyone was running.
I ended up at the very back within seconds. A few seconds more, my legs were confused and tried to wobble enough to throw me to the ground and save themselves from this monstrosity. It was the longest minute of my life. The relief of seeing everyone slow to a walk was palpable. Everyone starts chatting straight away. I do not join in as my lungs are currently climbing up my oesophagus, trying to escape into the wilderness and rediscover oxygen.
The horror of just how unfit I am rushes through me and I realise that I have no idea where I am and so have no hope of escaping. I have to just follow everyone else. And then we’re apparently running again. It’s an interesting feeling, walking for the shortest 90 seconds of your life, then running for the longest 60, over and over. I say interesting. What I mean is fricking horrific. I run along (and sneak walk, then pretend to run again if anyone looks) trying to remember if I’d be classed as a masochist or a sadist (can never remember which way round it is).
Somehow I make it through the running bits and we move on to some simple strength exercises, where I discover that not only can I not run,I also can’t do press ups. On the very first one I just collapse onto my knees, causing an ‘oooh’ of concern from everyone else, like that video of those penguins when their mate slips. I giggle, and try again. I can do this. Nope. No, I can’t. I’m holding onto a low fence, my arse up in the air, arms outstretched….and that’s it. There’s absolutely no hope in hell that I’ll be moving, up or down. I take advantage to just rest in that position a moment, until everyone else has completed their 10 press ups, and then get up. Luckily I (kind of) manage the rest.
We eventually make it back to the start, stretch, say goodbyes, and I head off to the bus stop (and whilst I’m lost in thought, desperately making my way, a fellow runner behind me says ‘see ya!’ and I scream in her face having been completely unaware of her!) I must have made a great first impression!
But I made it. Somehow. And then we get homework. Where I run along hidden patches of grass hoping I don’t see anyone I know, wanting to apologise to horrified dog walkers for the state of me, concerned that I may scare small children as I feel, and look, on the verge of collapse. But the homework story is for another day.
So. Do I run? I try. That’s got to count for something! Even if at the end of it I do look like this!