Forgive me for getting a bit nostalgic and self-indulgent for a moment. But it’s for a pretty good reason: today is March 23, 2016 (well, it was when I wrote this…). And thats a significant date for me: it marks two years to the day since I took up running, for reasons that still aren’t entirely clear.
I’ve previously written about that first, faltering, painful run – which lasted 12 excruciating minutes and covered half-a-kilometre. If, after that run, you’d asked the 15-stone, limping and drenched in sweat version of me if I’d stick at this running thing for more than a week, I’d have said no.
If you’d told me that, less than two years later, I’d be able to run a half-marathon in 1h 27m 54s, finishing 78th (78th!) out of 3039 runners, I’d have laughed in your face. A lot. And then I’d have laughed some more. Heck, even now I’ve actually done that, I still find it difficult to fathom.
That’s not some form of #humblebrag (as I believe the kids call it), by the way. I’m hugely proud of what I’ve achieved in the last two years, and it’s take a lot of hard work, stubborn determination, substantial diet change and effort.
That said, it does raise one interesting question.
I took up running a few months before my 35th birthday, and over the first nine months of my efforts I managed to shed five stone of chunky fat I’d built up over a decade or so of not exercising enough and eating badly. As a result, a few months before my 37th birthday I’m fitter than I’ve ever been. And I’ve discovered what is clearly some form of inherent natural ability to run around quite quickly. So how quick could I have been had I taken up running and lost this weight, say, ten years ago?
I’ve mulled the question over a bit, and come to a simple conclusion: it doesn’t matter.
Why? Because I wouldn’t have taken up running ten years ago. I know I wouldn’t, because I tried. Several times. And it never lasted more than a day or two. I just didn’t have the motivation needed to do it.
It was only being in the unhealthy, overweight state I was on March 23, 2014, and at the age I was, that made me realise something needed to change. That was my motivation – and that’s what’s pushed me along over the last two years.
Since then, I’ve made a lot of promises to myself about what I’d do and achieve through running. And I’m happy to say I’ve kept all of those promises.
All… except one. I promised to myself that I’d never, ever, ever sign up to run a marathon. Ever.
Yet in 31 days time, all being well, I’ll be lining up ready to start the London Marathon.
Well, if you’re going to break a promise to yourself, make it a good one.
Besides, no matter how long the 26.2 miles ahead of me sounds, it doesn’t feel like it’s as far as I’ve come in the past two years.
I’m running the 2016 London Marathon to raise money for the South West Children’s Heart Circle – a group that helped care for me when I underwent heart surgery. Any donations would be greatly received, and support a tremendous cause. Click the ‘Just Giving’ button for details on how to donate. Thanks!