I ran for 20 minutes.
I didn’t stop, or even walk for a bit when no one was looking. I went slowly, but I ran the whole way. This might not seem like a massive thing to some people, but this is by far the furthest I have ever run non-stop in my whole life. Ever. (I have never been what you’d call ‘sporty’).
Here I am just after I finished. See how pleased I am? So buzzing with enthusiasm am I now that I am even adding ‘run a 5k’ to my list of 40 things to do before I’m 40. (If I commit it to virtual paper then I can’t back out.)
I don’t know if it’s some sort of chemical rush, but about 10 minutes or so after running I get really emotional. In the shower just now, thinking about writing this post, I started to cry. I’m not sure if I can explain why – I think it’s something to do with the impossibility of it, the thought of how quickly I have progressed and that satisfaction of not giving up. I suspect it may have been a surge of pure pride, if that’s not too ugly an emotion.
It might seem a strange achievement to feel so proud of, in the context of doing your A-levels while pregnant, getting a first class degree with a toddler in tow, that sort of thing, but somehow all of those things were easier. Studying came naturally to me, I wanted to do it. Running does not and I never have. The need to get fit has been an internal battle with myself for 35 years and now I feel like I am finally in with a chance of winning.
I remember when I started, less than two months ago, and had to run for one minute at a time, with walks in between. It was awful. After each minute I was gasping for breath, my legs cramping – it was horrendous. I would scroll through the programme and see week five – running for 20 minutes – and simply not believe that I would ever be able to do it.
But I did, and that feels like a big deal.
What it means you see is that even if something feels totally impossible, it isn’t. Even if you are convinced you will never be able to do something, you will. The key has been not to focus on the ultimate goal, but to break it down and concentrate on one day at a time, gradually building up stamina and confidence in tiny steps.
Quite literally in my case.