Pigeon Steps, but Progress

(they’re chicken steps really)

I am pleased with myself this week. Having taken ten days out to recover fully from the flu that rendered me completely ‘speechless’ for three days, I have been out running again

Perhaps it’s the prospect of longer summer evening runs with friends through the Great Park, returning home to a meal cooked by the lovely Baz. Or perhaps it’s just the fear of not feeling good in a swimsuit on holiday. Whatever it is, I am grateful to discover that I have not lost all discipline

I have been doing only 3.5 miles at a time and I covered just ten miles last week, but I remind myself that it’s ten miles more than I have been doing for the last two years. I’ll work out a new route to get back on target for increasing my mileage and I need to start stretching again, as I realise that I am already developing bad habits. I cannot risk more injury, especially with my megalomaniacal left hamstring already getting edgy (after some strenuous furniture moving last week, which always sets it off)

So, thank you to the very kind gentleman in a transit van who waited patiently for me before reversing on Monday evening, and to the other driver who chose to let me cross the road on my way home in the dark. These small kindnesses remained with me, and are part of why I got up early again to run through the frost on both sunny mornings this weekend, breathing in the delicious air and watching the small birds warm themselves low in the hedgerows. Running this week has been absolute heaven




Fat Girl Running, sunny day

It might seem hard to believe from my chubby Gravatar, but I would still call myself a runner. I took it up in my thirties and continued, without any apparent running-related injury, pausing only briefly for a surgery in 2012. Then at the end of 2013 the discomfort I had been ignoring for  a couple of years in my left thigh developed into a stronger pain across my groin and left buttock, and I had to take advice. I was advised to take a break, at a time in my life when running was especially beneficial to me

After a number of visits to arrogant consultants who injected me and exhausted my private health cover, I got a chiropractor involved (a runner himself), and after months of seeing him it has actually paid off. He still has to make small corrections, but with this and some yoga I have been pain-free for months now

So it’s time to tackle the two stone I am now carrying with me (in my defence, it’s hard to adjust when you stop running 20+ miles per week). That means it’s time to put a playlist together for my iPod, some tunes to keep me moving and to regulate my pace a little. I’ll never be fast but I have a weight target and a half marathon to run in August. Here we go!

As I am starting from scratch after such long break, a friend who used to run with me kindly created a spreadsheet to build up the miles. It’s not as though it’s difficult to gauge the build up, but it’s surprising how a simple tool can motivate. I also get regular gentle nagging texts from another understanding friend to check up on me

The hardest bit right now is not the run, but going out in running clothes. It hurts my pride. There’s no hiding in these clothes and my bra hurts. I don’t look in the mirror once geared-up because I may just talk myself out of leaving the house, and that won’t help. There must be some kind of mathematical graph or equation covering the degree of effort involved, the embarrassment encountered and the distance covered. At some point the embarrassment will reduce because I’ll be leaner and fitter, while the distance covered will be greater and the overall difficulty will remain somewhere in the same region. I am not good at maths but I can make this equation happen

Already at just three mile runs my lungs are working better and I have runner’s calm all day. Nothing unwinds me like a few miles in the open air, however wet or chilly. I’m still staying off main roads where possible because I am not ready to be judged by passing motorists on my physique or my technique. They don’t realise how hard it is to go out carrying extra weight and be exposed to criticism. I know this because I have judged often enough. Tough karma

Today is Valentines Day, and after the filth that was yesterday’s running weather I woke to golden sunshine and I really looked forward to going out. As I stood at the for of the bed, getting into my tragic spandex, Baz lay in bed in the dark and said ‘Well done. I’m proud of you’

There’s nothing more a girl needs than this. A sunny run and the support of the person who matters. Happy Valentines Day, Fatty x

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