Having spent the festive season glugging booze and dining thrice daily on chocolate oranges, I spent less than a minute thinking about V’s suggestion to do a half marathon. I had an image of the post training and race me, svelte and toned, drinking wheatgrass juice with impossibly shiny hair.
My first mistake.
I am a sporadic exerciser, preferring cooking shows and gin as my relaxation. I may even have been drunk when she asked me, hence the immediate and enthusiastic acceptance.
But, we download a beginner training program and prepare a mission statement.
Training started with a Metafit class to try to get our general fitness back on track. In a nutshell, 30 minutes high intensity interval training to thumping bass, while swallowing your own vomit and trying not to pass out.
So that was fun.
According to our training programme, Day 1, Sunday, is a rest day. But in our family, we tend to spend weekends torturing our children by making them walk up hills in the freezing cold when they’d rather be at soft play, and today was no exception. Benarty Hill walk completed with the usual Jelly Baby bribes to get them to the top with the minimum of whining.
Cold, and a slow pace when you are dragging a singing toddler, but the thighs didn’t burn too much. Feeling pretty good about it all in all and looking forward to being fit and thin. Shall probably have to ditch the Jelly Babies to achieve this.
Day 2 – Monday
The programme says ‘easy 30 minute run/recovery’. The recovery I am fine with, it’s running for 30 minutes being considered easy that worries me.
We get going in not bad conditions, bearing in mind this is Scotland in winter, and manage a pretty good 30 minutes. Much better than either of us expected. Our pace would likely be improved if we stopped talking for long enough to get in the zone but at the end I feel pretty good. If pretty good is code for ‘not physically sick’.
Day 2 – Tuesday
I start the day by filling in a phone app food diary, the previous night’s run time and distance, and total calories burned. I lie on the food diary. I ate the handful of Jelly Tots standing up at the cupboard so I am pretty sure that means they don’t count. Full day at work, so the thought of getting out and running at 8.00pm after getting out the door for 7.30am, does not appeal. That’s why we run as a team. We both know our will power does not stretch far on cold, dark nights after a 10 hour day. On the commute home, the car temp gauge reads 1 oc, with the possibility of ice. I am clinging to the last vestiges of motivation I possess.
The cold hits me like a slap in the face and the rain is icy and sleety. This is not fun. My neck and shoulders hurt and my legs feel like lead. I’m wishing I hadn’t choked down two pork-stuffed cabbage leaves (delicious by the way and my own recipe) before I came out.
New route tonight and the run ( I use the word advisedly. It is more like a bouncy walk) does not flow well. I feel sluggish and slow and a bit deflated by the time we’ve completed our 30 minutes. Although that could be the cabbage. I can exclusively reveal that cabbage is not an ideal pre-run energy booster, who knew?
We discuss strategy during our post run de-brief. The strategy is not to come in last or in the dark on the actual run day. If we ever make it that far.
I return home, remove my trainers, and find my first blister.