It’s all thanks to Doreen

Day 3 – Wednesday

A rest day according to the training schedule.  Just as well, my legs feel like they don’t belong to me and almost every other part of my body, with the possible exception of my eyes, aches.

I Google  ‘food for runners’ while having a jar of tapenade and a glass of Malbec for dinner.  The irony is not lost on me.  I run out of crackers and finish off the tapenade with my fingers. I’m sure that’s how they do it on the continent.

N tells me in the morning that I was running in my sleep.  I quiz him about how long for, and what kind of pace he thinks I was making as I’m hoping I can add this one to my training total.  He complains I kept him awake.   Call it payback for 18 years of snoring and dry your eyes, Ginger.

Day 4 – Thursday

I catch sight of myself in the mirror at home in the running tights I bought from Aldi.  Grey with pink trim, and the image of a sack of potatoes in a pop sock springs to mind.  Running clothing is unfortunately designed for people who already run, who are slim and tall, who like pink and who don’t have lumpy bits or an ass you could serve tea off.

I spend hours trawling websites looking for bargain kit.  It all appears to be pink in some form or other, which I hate.  I buy it anyway because I don’t really want to look like I’m good, it will only add to the humiliation when people see me rocking up in full Ronhill and managing half a mile before I stop, retching, and cling to a lamp post or passer-by for support.

The fit of the outfit I think is key, too tight, too high-waisted or too warm and I just won’t enjoy the run.  I am laughing as write this, imagining a day I will ENJOY a run.

I own several sports bras.  None of them fit me properly because I grudge paying a fortune for something quite so ugly, so I have a range of moderately priced, not quite right ones instead.  Very much like the rest of my wardrobe.  I try them all and decide on the deeply unattractive Triumph ‘Doreen’.  Somehow, I’m not sure this is projecting the right amount of positivity.  Why aren’t they called Boadecia or Persephone?  I would hold my head high, keep my back straight and run a 6 minute mile in a Persephone.

Doreen makes me feel fat and jaded as well as providing me with another set of boobs which appear under my armpits.  On the upside she does offer wonderful support, without her help, I’d be tucking them into my (elasticated) waistband.

V and I are having our first training run apart today and well aware that I have no will power or stamina to speak of,  I recruit G as a mentor.  This does worry me, G is a proper runner who competes in races and appears to do it for….. pleasure?   But I know I have to run with someone or I’ll do ten minutes round the block and come home for a bacon sandwich.

I fear I will embarrass myself  and I do, having to have her adjust ‘Doreen’ for me mid way through the run.

Day 5 – Friday

Rest day.  V is suffering with a calf strain  and may not make our run tomorrow.  I’m sending positive thoughts of recovery to her. If that doesn’t work, I’ll cry and tell her I can’t do it on my own and hope that guilt works.

I stick in a cheeky swim to try and loosen up my aching muscles. Unfortunately, I arrive just as the high school kids are exiting the pool and skulk past them in the showers, aware that my thighs resemble condoms over-filled with blancmange.

The smell of chips from the cafe is like some kind of torture.

4.30pm Friday rolls around. Generally, I stick my kids in front of Cbeebies – those wholesome twenty-something presenters are the perfect role models and ideal unpaid babysitters – while I pour my first gin.  I realise with some degree of horror that I have not had a single gin and tonic for a WEEK!  I have had four glasses of wine but one of those was red, so can be chalked up as heart medication.

Aware that we are running and Metafitting tomorrow, I resolve not to start on the gins until N gets back.

After 5 minutes, I text him to make sure he’s already left the office.

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It’s January, lets get fit..

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.