Super Me

Here I am! Hi, yes it’s me… I know, I’ve been gone awhile haven’t I? Guess you want to know what I’ve been up to, after all, what could be more important than keeping my blog ticking, especially during lockdown (sigh…).

Well, alrighty I’ll tell ya…

I’ve been concentrating really hard on ploughing through the work for my Masters in Creative Writing which I’m doing with the Open University.  Its been challenging, tough sometimes, but I’m sure my own writing has evolved and improved over the two years, and my appreciation of poetry in general has definitely increased. Anyhoo, I’m pleased to say I handed in my very last essay yesterday and now have a couple of months of intense poetry writing to complete before I hand in my final examination collection.  So, nearly done and dusted, but not quite. 

For nearly 15 years my daily walks with the dog have kept me sane, and off the sofa for a while, but now I’m afraid my little friend is so arthriticky that she’s no longer up for the walk preferring to potter about around the garden in between sleeping and eating (oh, wait a minute, she’s turning into me!!) Of course, this not only makes me very sad, but also leaves me at a bit of a loose end when it comes to exercise.

I don’t like to go on walks without Suki beside me and wondered what I could do to fill the gap. As anyone who has read this blog for any length of time will know, I’m a total drip when it comes to physical exertion of any sort – can’t throw, catch, jump, kick, or run. But then I came across the Couch to 5k programme.

Could I?

I was pretty quick with coming up with the answer

No. You can’t run. You are hopeless. Mr once described my running as mincing. YOU CAN’T RUN. You get out of breath going upstairs. And besides, you are really, really old now. Old people shouldn’t run, it would be killing you off instead of making you fit. And you’re fatter than you want to be. Do you really want to be seen mincing along the road in lycra shorts?’

The answer to that was also a firm ‘no’. But, dear reader, I have to tell you, I did it. Yes, I downloaded the app, and thought I’d have a go, just around the garden, just to see what it was like….

And here I am, nine weeks later, having graduated from the course yesterday by running for a full 30 minutes. Not 5k or anywhere near, but I’m told that will come in time. Honestly, I feel like superwoman.

The course starts with interval training, the first three runs being just a minute long with minute and a half walking in between, eight times.  That’s doable.  Round and round the garden I went. The dog thought I’d gone mad.  The second week the runs are a minute and half – not too bad… Michael Johnson was in my ear encouraging me through the app, I had music on, the sun was out, and I was out there doin’ it! What’s not to like.

Pretty soon I got bored with running round and round the garden, and yes, I ventured out in my lycra, expecting shouts and jeers, but none came. No one took a second glance – well as far as I know… I was too busy singing along to my soundtrack and concentrating on picking up my feet.

Oh, don’t get me wrong, its been really, like really, hard. Many, many days I’ve absolutely hated every step. My breathing hurt, my legs hurt, my back ached, I’d get runners headache… the list goes on. 

However, the course advocates a technique called Japanese Slow Running which is, well, running, but slowly, and using this to trot along helped immensely. The runs got longer, and tougher, but with support from the absolutely wonderful people on the Healthunlocked C25k forum I managed to keep going.

I can’t begin to tell you how proud of myself I feel for even attempting this, let alone finishing it. I’ve now got to consolidate with some more half hour runs. It remains to be seen if I can keep it up, but I’m going to give it a go.

Nah, I’ve not lost weight, but I have gained stamina and endurance which I never believed I had in me. I’ve also gained a sense of achievement and a way to wrench me from the laptop for a while.

Honestly, anyone can do it, even if, like me, you are totally unfit and have never run. The programme is magical. Its worth a try.

It’s not a run day today (even my day to day terminology has changed) so I’m going to settle down and try and get writing now!

Take care everyone, and keeeepppp running!

Power to the Pink Parade

DSC_0213I was one of those sad kids last left in the line-up.  I couldn’t (and still can’t) run, throw, catch, jump or hit a ball with a bat, or racket, or my foot.  I am categorically, pants at sport.  It’s ok though really, ‘cos I haven’t got a competitive bone in my body either.

However, in June I will be doing the ‘Race for Life’ in aid of Cancer Research UK.  Last year I did the 5k with a friend, and this year I’m upping my game to do the 10k with one of my daughter’s for support (or to carry me…).  Of course, you will have guessed, I have no intention of doing any actual running, but I’ll walk as fast as I can.  Last year Net and I did run the last bit, the bit where people were watching and cheering, and I think we may have fooled one or two into thinking we were capable of running the whole thing.  My body knows different though.

I have to be honest, 5k isn’t that bad.  In fact, it felt almost like cheating, as I regularly walk the dog that far anyway, which is why I decided to go the whole hog and attempt the 10k this year.  It could be a mistake. An over-estimation of my motivation.  We’ll find out soon.  Whatever happens though I know it will be fun to be part of.

Its heartwarming to see thousands of ladies, all dressed up in pink, most, like me, who don’t do ‘that sort of thing’, going for it en masse.  Huffing and puffing our way round the course, chattering, encouraging, moaning, groaning… and, in a sad reflection of how pervasive this diabolic disease is, each of us have, pinned to our backs, our own story of encounters with cancer. Most, like me, are running in memory of family or friends that they have lost.

So, I’m in training.  Long walks, with an occasional 30 second burst (most I can manage) of jogging for good measure.  I’m looking forward to it in a quite nervous sort of way, and am hoping to raise just a little bit of awareness and maybe a bit of money for the wonderful work Cancer Research do.  Have a look at their website, and if you’d like to support them you you can do it through my sponsorship page here.

The event takes place after my birthday, so I’ll be a very proud pensioner when I finish!! Oh yes, I’ll finish…it may take a while….