Well, this isn’t a flashback to my first run ever, because that would be silly. I can’t remember that. I was probably very young. But now that I’m gearing up for a marathon it’s insightful to look back on the run – a short, sweaty, unsteady outing – that somehow set me on a path to moderate running success.
I can even tell you the date: March 23, 2014. That’s not some incredible power of recall, by the way: my first run was, in part, to test out the Fitbit Flex I’d been bought for Christmas (and yes, it date take three months for me to take it out of the box…), and my Fitbit profile has the date recorded.
It was a pleasant Sunday morning, but I had little to do and was a bit bored. So I decided to head out for some cycling, partly for fitness and partly to test out my Fitbit – only to plug it all in and realise that it didn’t actually record fitness date for cycling.
So, on a complete whim, I decided to go for a run instead.
I found some shorts suitable for running (I don’t really do shorts, so it took a while…), stuck on an old T-shirt, strapped on my Fitbit, laced up my new trainers and set off, eager to take in an epic quest of fitness.
My path took me from my house down to the river, a largely straight footpath than went slightly downhill.
This is how my inner monologue charted the run:
0 minutes: I’m out my front door. I’m going running. I’m actually going running! I’m running!
1 minute: This feels great! I can do this. Look at me, I’m running. I’m running!
2 minutes: I’m running fast now. I’m really running fast. I think. Do I look quick? I must look quick. I make running look cool.
3 minutes: How fast am I running? Am I going too fast, or too slow? I have no idea.
4 minutes: I must be running fast, this is already hurting. I’m sweating too. I look stupid. Hope nobody sees me.
5 minutes: This is definitely hurting now, how far have I run? It must be a long way.
6 minutes: Struggling now, struggling. I’m going to turn round, start heading home.
7 minutes: Wow, it hurts more going uphill. This must be steep. Really steep. [It wasn’t steep. It’s not really a hill. It barely qualifies as a slope…]
8 minutes: My legs are burning now. How long have I been running? I reckon 15 minutes…
9 minutes: I don’t like running.
10 minutes: Ouch.
11 minutes: Okay, I’m nearly home. I should sprint the rest of the way, see what I’ve got… [Breaks into something resembling a sprint]
11 minutes, 10 seconds: I’m done sprinting.
12 minutes: I’m going to walk the rest of the way home. Still, that must have been 20 minutes or exercise, right?
It wasn’t. I was back in my house within 14 minutes of leaving it. Only this time my legs were aching, my T-shirt was soaked with sweat and I was shattered. Still, I must have run a long way, right? I fired up the Fitbit app, to see how far I’d run…
0.5 kilometres. Damn.
So that was run number one: 12 minutes, 0.5km. That’s… not good.
But I kept at it. The next day I went running again. It still hurt, I was still slow. But I went a bit further. The next day I went a bit further again.
And so it began…