I did it though. I got up, got ready and hit the road once more. It’s habit-forming, these early days when all you really want to do is keep snuggled up in bed, but nooo… you decided at some point in your life to start this running thing.
Now you’re fighting a thousand voices all giving you excuses to not bother.
I’m not fast.
I’m doing okay without having to run.
I’m too tired, I’ll do it tomorrow.
But you have to fight that first battle before you even get out of bed.
Once you’re out of bed, there’s an old morning routine – for me, a cup of coffee, throw open the laptop and digest all the news, tech and reddit I can before dashing to work.
No more. It’s the second battle, to get your clothes on (not that I sit at my laptop naked mind you) get those shoes and set Runkeeper going.
Then it’s the door. Typically my scumbag brain will create a last-second distraction.
Once all those are dealt with, then it’s the door. You open it and an artic blast/rain/hail/zombie apocalypse is awaiting you.
Your brain freaks out and demands you close the door.
But you put a step forward, and you’re on your way. The battles have been won. Now the biggest battle seems easier – to complete the run…
A diet of cheap chinese takeaway (where I discovered an affinity for egg-fried rice and beef in black bean and green pepper sauce), vast amounts of cheap lager, wine, whisky, vodka, and when feeling affluent, white Russians (not that white Russian – the drink you idiot).
I collected DVD’s – hundreds of the blighters, would watch them every night. I evolved.
These, and an unreasonable addiction to midget gems gave me this wonderful figure I have today – I’ve worked really hard on it.
And yes, I’m a hairy bloke. Another kick in the can for road cycling. I never could get the hang of shaving/waxing/epilating my legs. I mean, hairy as this, where on earth do you stop? It would cost me a fortune to have a bath full of immac (now Veet) every night to keep these follicles down.
So this is where I am at. I took these last year, and trust me, things haven’t improved at all. I’d need to buy a 28mm lens for my camera to get all my blubber in one shot.
You can immediately understand why my back aches during running. I have a deep empathy for pregnant women. In my recent ear surgery, I felt sorry for the porters and nurses who had to lift, prod, poke and even try to find a line in my fat hands.
You can also appreciate the idea that I don’t particularly like the look of myself. I don’t have a very good, as the Matrix would say, ‘residual self image’ of myself.
I imagined myself fit. I imagined myself strong. At least until I did something that proved otherwise. (see here). So part of the reason for running is to prove to myself I can change, to prove I can, er, improve and can get myself somewhat closer to how I think I should be.
When I first heard Low Orbit Satellite I was blown away. There was a simplicity to their music, and that they have crated music right across the dance spectrum gives them more respect from me. Hailing from Russia, this is some wonderful music that stands alone or in the mix.
The track I’ve chosen for my playlist is a nice builder, great for getting a groove going, or pushing harder. To me, at any rate, it’s inspirational.
It feels like an epic age has passed since the last C25K post – despite it being only two days ago. How has time become so distorted in that period?
Anyway, I made it! Now for a celebratory kilo of chocolate of the white variety.
Despite having some ache still remaining in my thighs, and a slightly tickly cough (of which I am being careful not to really aggravate) I did the run walk malarkey and came back home alive again, whilst listening to an early Low Orbit Satellite release – 2010
So, heres the stats:
1.91 miles, completed in 28:34. Average pace: 15 miles/minute.
A brief potted history here of richardcheesman. Well, the whole fit thing anyway.
I was born. Pretty good start.
Anyway, I grew up fairly active, my dad worked in countryside management, I was always out playing in woods, riding my bike – something I continued to do going to college (35-ish miles a day), right up to mountain biking across 1200ft+ high mountains in South Wales.
I was always beaten by my mate who was faster both climbing and descending. I tried road riding, did one (ONE) time trial for 10 miles. I got about 29′ for time, pretty respectable I thought.
But I was last. Something I was extremely good at.
I went through school being slow, but excelled intellectually. I just could not run, despite all the activity I did in my free time.
My school 100m record? Oh its about *ahem* 30 seconds.
My worst moment came that sealed the fate of running into “things I absolutely loathe and detest and would cast into the pit of hell along with satan” was this: the 3000m. 7.5 laps (IIRC) of a track circuit.
Once, I was so far behind (by almost two laps – yes I am THAT SLOW) one of the bigger guys in the class (in fact, he was a giant) cam over as I started my final lap. He picked me up and carried me, piggy back style to the finish line, and cheers (at least my brain tells me) from everyone else.
That was it. I cast running into the box of ‘never, ever put this on a bucket list’.
Fast forward to my mid thirties – I’m overweight from years of alcohol abuse, fast food and lazy living. I have to do something.
I try road riding again. I enter the local club’s time trial. I get a respectable time of 28’20″ or thereabouts. But I am dead last, having been overtaken by everyone who started before me. I’m winded, unable to speak. To top it off, I’ve got a 7.5 mile ride home because I don’t have a car or swanky van to pack the bike in. Heck, I didn’t even have aero bars (not the chocolate).
Competition was not for me. Dejected I gave up. Again. Then I discovered running. It seemed ironic that the very thing I had flung across with all my might to the other side of the galaxy was now the very thing I was considering doing.
It made perfect sense. I read up on the reasons to run, fed myself some motivational videos (“Nah I ain’t crying, it’s onions” after watching this one particular video) – finally found the C25K program.
It seemed so simple.
But why did I choose to run?
I chose to run because it pitted me against myself.
I chose to run because I didn’t need tons of money on fancy gear.
I chose to run because I could not coast downhill, or cheat in any way.
I chose to run because it got me out of the house.
There’s probably many more reasons, but the ultimate reason why is, despite how hard it has been, I enjoy it. I’m competing against myself, learning about myself, conquering myself. I’m not blessed with long legs, but hey, I am getting out there and putting one foot in front of the other.
Now all I have to do is get out of bed on a weekend at 7am and go do it.
And I made it! Despite having had a cold, a tickling cough I got up, out the house (later than I wanted to) and hit the road.
Well, walked. For 5 minutes.
Then I ran 60 seconds, walked 1 minute 30 seconds for the next twenty minutes. Then walked home.
I was knackered. But in a good way – because I was prepared to give up for two reasons, and only had one to keep me going.
I could have stopped because of chest complications – this would not have been a problem, and I had to prepare for this eventuality in case it caused more problems than just pushing through.
I could have stopped because it hurt. Not it the wrong way. I met the Blerch. He told me it was too hard, I was going to get sweaty for no visible reason, I wasn’t going to be super-fit by the end of the run.
I outran the blerch on this occasion. He’ll be back, I’m sure of it.
I ran because of my long-term goal, which I’m not ready to reveal yet. It’s written in a secret place at the moment, and once I pass the C25K I’ll be making some posts about goals, short and long term. Right now my only short term goal is to complete each running day. My long term goal is the completion of the course.
So my run:
1.94 miles, completed in 29:32. Average pace: 15.5 miles/minute.
It was a fairly flat route, and the weather was good. As I ran, I called myself a runner. I even said:
Many many many many years ago, I was in school. I was a short, dumpy kid who could not run for toffee so to speak.
Fast forward 25(ish) years and I am an overweight, unfit, unkempt mess of a man. At least I can call myself a man, though.
Why am I writing this? It’s simple. Some time ago last year I attempted to start the C25K program (that’s Couch To Five K(ilometres)) – I lasted a week before I twisted my ankle. I wrote off the whole thing as a bad attempt at new year’s resolutions. They have never been successful in my opinion anyway.
About 6-8 months later I try again. This time I am better prepared. I have read up on gait, stride, foot strike and examined all my shoes. I went out and spent £80 on a single pair of shoes (I could buy about 4-5 pairs on that kind of money, proving what a miser I am).
I lasted well into week three, and even called myself a runner. I didn’t care that I had to walk parts of it (it’s the program) and was beginning to push myself, I felt I was achieving something.
But it didn’t last. I became severely depressed, burnt out from overwork, no holiday, no break, I had debt I wasn’t getting a grip on, and just wanted to drink to oblivion again.
Then I had to have ear surgery. This may have affected my balance, ability to hear, and much more. Despite my personal resolution that I had to get fitter again, I had to wait until after the surgery.
So, here I am, nearly two months after my mastoid exploratory surgery, and itching to run.
I catch a cold.
Three days later, I’m itching to run. Again.
Motivational videos? Check.
Shoes ready? Check.
Alarm set? Check.
Runkeeper ready with the C25K workouts? Check.
Here’s hoping I don’t catch diarrhoea overnight.
I’ll leave you with my personal top favourite awesomest most motivational quote ever (at least for me):