Yesterday I managed to run the first 5k in a very very long time. It wasn’t pretty but it happened.
Couch 2 5k is a very useful tool for getting people like me off their backside. I’d started lockdown with good intentions of emerging like some kind of butterfly from a cocoon, but after day two I mostly drank tea and sobbed into my hob nobs. It took a while to want to do much at all.
A fair way through I thought I’d give the programme a go again (you may remember the excitement when I ran 5k in 2018.) I set off with the kids in tow and it was murder. No-one ran at the same speed and everywhere around home is hilly so we abandoned it and cracked open the biscuit barrel.
A few weeks later I dusted off my trainers and set off, having chosen the dulcet tones of Sarah Millican to encourage me along since I identify with her body shape a darned sight more than Michael Johnson.
It wasn’t plain sailing. It’s supposed to take 9 weeks – it took me more like 12. I didn’t get to 5k until week four hundred and twelve or something. I also encountered a few difficulties including:
One run where I forgot to wear my sports bra. Running with arms folded across your chest doesn’t make for aerodynamics.
The time when my music got stuck on repeat and I listened to Freya Riding ten times in a row.
Once when I tried a different route, passed some men chatting, ran for about two minutes then realised how steep it was and had to turn round and run straight past them again.
The time when the zip came down on my stupid second best sports bra and I had to run along trying to surreptitiously zip it back up again.
The fear of twisting my ankle with all the running up and down kerbs that comes with social distancing while running.
The runs where I was bitten to death for stupidly wearing cropped trousers in the woods.
The time the app paused in my pocket and I ended up nearly passing out by running for two extra minutes.
The holiday to West Yorkshire where the roads are even steeper, the grass even longer and the cows even more intimidating.
But I kept running, and hopefully I’ll keep running. I’m never going to be a long distance runner, or have a new career as a personal trainer (as I briefly thought when I managed to run twice for 8 minutes in week 8). But this time I want to carry on. My kids are running – both have almost completed the programme and are running 28 minutes straight and there are a few points where I can actually run a bit quicker than them. We even managed a family run to the woods last Saturday – we’ll just forget the fact that my husband didn’t even break a sweat as he practically walked all the way there on my heels while I turned the colour of beetroot and lost the power of speech.
I felt like there was a bit of a pressure during lockdown and after to achieve something. Learn Spanish or how to watercolour. I didn’t do much, but I sowed the tiny seed of something and that’s a good thing.