Sunday, 25 September 2011

Thrifty Ways to Get Your Groove Back!

Since having kids - as I'm sure many will agree - resulted in life becoming one long roller coaster where my needs pretty much come last in the house - even behind the cats! 

So, after a lifetime spent on the couch (well, not quite but I've never been accused of being a gym bunny, that's for sure) I took up running a couple of years ago.  2nd April 2009 to be precise.

I've always said running wasn't for me, I don't have the build, I'm too busty, I'm more of a dancer blah, blah, blah.  However, when a good friend's mum - who used to smoke a few a day, was still partial to a wee whisky and, more importantly than either of those facts, was 65 at the time - decided she was running the Edinburgh Marathon in 2009, I realised that my excuses for not getting out there and putting one foot in front of the other were paper thin. 

So, I originally took up running - run a minute, walk a minute, repeat for 3 minutes, then 5 etc. - as a bit of a challenge to myself and to prove that I could actually run for a bus (after years of knowing quite the reverse was true!).  Even though I'm not a fan of the gym, I do walk everywhere and always have done and I wasn't particularly overweight - so I was completely shocked at a) how hard I found it to run for a minute and b) how much pain I was in the next day after a paltry 10 minute session. 

However, even though it was awful and I felt sure that I probably couldn't run as I'd always suspected, after only 1 week of frankly pathetic efforts, I signed up for the Cancer Research UK's Race for Life 5K around Arthur's Seat in Edinburgh (i.e. up a bloody great hill!) and emailed all my friends to ask them to sponsor me.  Talk about no way out!

The first 4 weeks of training were fairly awful.  I was still counting my running in minutes rather than miles and, as the date for the 5K drew nearer, I began to panic that I wouldn't make it past the 'running for 10 minutes without stopping' stage.  However, by week 6 I'd turned a corner and was happily putting on my running gear 3 or 4 times a week.  So, I was delighted to finish the Race for Life in a quite reasonable (although not anything to write home about) 34 minutes. 

Panicked that I would suddenly develop lazy-itis, I immediately signed up for the 10K Race for Life, trained for it and completed it in just over an hour (1 hour 6 minutes).  Again, I don't think Paula Radcliffe needs to be losing any sleep but given that it hadn't been that long since I'd struggled to run a minute, walk a minute, I was chuffed.

(That's me 2nd from the left coming over the finish line - phew!)

Although there have been the odd glitches here and there and weeks that have gone by without me so much as looking at a running shoe, I've always got myself back into my 'groove' and have more or less steadily kept running since April 2009.  There have been days when 2 miles seemed like 20 and days when I've done 6 miles feeling no pain at all.  I've even managed to run a half marathon (which admittedly was an accident because I got lost!) but that's not the point.  I ran, 13.5 miles.  Me.

Nothing quite beats lacing up my running shoes, plugging in my iPod and setting out around the beautiful countryside where we live.  And the added bonus - apart from feeling better than I've ever felt and having more energy to keep up with the kids - is that somehow, without reducing my food intake (or wine) at all, I've lost 10lbs!

Oh, and apart from investing in good running shoes, I don't have to pay a penny so it's a pretty thrifty way to get fit, enjoy the scenery and do something that's just about me.  Despite all my misgivings running definitely helped me get my groove back.  Big time.


  1. Sorry Heather, only just spotted your entry. Great and inspirational post. I think there are loads of women out there who would like to run but think they can't. Thanks again and look forward to seeing you on the blog hop this week too

  2. I've been running now for just over a month. I've signed up for a half marathon next year and have joined a lcoal running club too. Really getting into it. Quite surprised as I thought there was no way I could run!