Run Forrest Run

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Its that time of year when its starting to warm up and my thoughts are once again turning to getting fit for summer. I am one of those lucky people who are without trying, naturally slim. Unfortunately this also makes me unlucky as it lulls me into the false sense of security that because I am slim I must be healthy and fit and therefore I don’t need to exercise. A glance in the mirror this morning after squeezing into my favourite skinny jeans was a bit of a wake up call. Well, less a wake up call and more a sharp slap in the face with a wet fish. How long have my butt and my knees been planning this merger for? Some time, going by the 80’s high-waisted jean clad mum bum look I’m rocking in the back. Time to get off the couch, dust off my trainers and start running again.

I’ll be honest here, I don’t really enjoy running. I am not, by any stretch of the imagination, a naturally gifted athlete. Have you seen that episode of Friends when Rachel takes Phoebe running? Of course you have, Friends is still on, what, twenty, thirty times a week? Well, anyway, when I run, I wish I were Rachel, but as you’ve probably guessed I’m Phoebe. I’ve never been quite sure what to do with my arms. I am very aware of them, especially as they seem to do such stupid things when I run. Think whacky wavey flappy flailing arm inflatable tube man. I have been known in the past to punch myself in the face whilst running down a hill. I am just not co-ordinated. But while I don’t enjoy running, I enjoy the after effects. The extra energy. The warm glowy feel of healthiness. The being able to dash quickly up the stairs without feeling like I’ve just scaled Mount Everest without oxygen.

After I had Biggest, and before I had Smallest, I was the fittest I’d ever been. I was going to the gym three times a week. I was running five times a week. When I fell pregnant with Smallest it all came to an abrupt halt. No amount of platitudes from my midwife that it was perfectly safe to continue could convince me he wasn’t going to either a) fall out of my foof, or b) be born with googly eyes from all the bouncing around in there.

I’ve only run once since I had Smallest, when he was about four or five months old. It started off well enough. I put all my lovely bright running gear on. Warmed up with lots of stretches. Then started off with a brisk jog. After about a minute I was congratulating myself. This wasn’t so bad. Running around after two boys all day was obviously doing far more for my physical fitness than I thought. A minute later and I was lent up against the nearest tree convinced I was going to puke/have a heart attack/die/all of the above. I waited for my heart to stop trying to explode through my ribs, and then set off at a slightly slower and more sedate but easier to maintain speed. And was promptly passed by two buggy pushing yummy mummies out for a relaxed Sunday stroll and a natter. One of them nodded a friendly hello. I tried to say hello back, but as I literally had no breath left with which to speak by this point it came out as a growl, during which I may or may not have dribbled down my front a teeny bit. They sped up in an effort to get away from the quite clearly insane sweaty mess of a person, I tottered on concrete legs to the nearest bench to collapse. Then limped home wearily with my tail between my legs. Did I warm down? No, I believe I headed straight for the treat cupboard to snaffle me some chocolate in an effort to raise my severely depleted blood sugar and to take the edge off my embarrassment. I also seem to vaguely recall walking a bit like a cowboy for a few days afterwards.

I’m beginning to wonder, whilst remembering this little nugget, why I’m so keen to start it up again. The truth is that for me running is the far lesser of exercising evils. Despite going for eight months I never got into the whole gym bunny thing. While I told myself that nobody was looking and that we were all here with the same purpose, I’ll admit the girls in full face make up and teeny tiny crop tops mulling around the entrance to the weights room to perve in giggling gaggles convinced me otherwise. Besides which, there is only so many times a girl can fall off of the cross trainer before admitting it’s not her bag. I’m also no good at games. My aforementioned unco-ordination does not lend itself well to team sports. Being patted patronisingly on the back and congratulated on a ‘good effort’ gets old pretty quick. I hate being responsible for everyone else losing the game at best, and at worst for someone being accidently smacked in the face and ending up in A&E with a sideways schnozz. At least with running the only person that ends up on the receiving end of my uncontrollably wayward arms is me.

So, partly inspired by a friend of mine who I am sure will agree with me is approximately my level of fitness awkward,  I’m off to download the C25K app to give it a whirl and see if I can’t just ease myself back into it. She has, after finishing the app, just completed her first Fun Run. Although I will say right here, right now, those are two words that shall never feature together in a sentence formed by my mouth. I will settle for raising my fitness level and toning up a bit. And maybe waving goodbye to the mum bum.

The C25K app can be found here: http://www.coolrunning.com/engine/2/2_3/181.shtml