That's how Dave described it when I said I was going out for my training while the rest of the UK was being battered by high winds. He said I'd been bitten by the Running Bug. I think he was exaggerating. It wasn't that windy in Norwich. And besides, I had one more workout to go before my Rest Day. Silly man.

You will continue to note that I say training, rather than running. There's still rather more walking than running going on; though I am gradually beginning to run more and more. I work hard for each and every slight improvement. The sessions leave me knackered, sweating and aching. My legs are a constant dull throb and I'm learning to live with the discomfort. At the end of March I'll be running that Sports Relief mile and in November I'll be running the half-marathon. From zero to hero in 40 weeks. Oh yeah.

I can't say I like it much. It's not at all comfortable. I have to do my training in the morning before I go to work. If I don't do it then, it doesn't get done at all. I can't train at the end of the day, I am just too tired. Work is very demanding and when I get home, I take my shoes off, dig something out of the fridge and disengage my brain in front of a screen. I don't particularly like getting out of breath and sweaty. My shins and calves ache all the time. There's no let up. 

Why do it?

Ten years ago, my mother died. It was my wake up call to the inevitability of death. I bought an exercise DVD, some cheap workout gear from Primark and some cross-trainers. Every now and then, between then and now I'd break out the DVD, write a blog about how much I wanted to get fit and take the shoes off, put the DVD back on the shelf and have another handful of chocolate.

Two years ago, I started having a lot of trouble with my lower back. I couldn't sit down for any length of time. I started popping ibuprofen like tic-tacs. A few sessions of yoga and a few visits to my osteopath got it to a more manageable level. It was becoming clear to me, I needed to move more.

Last year, Dave finally convinced me to get on a bike. I did and it damned near killed me. I dusted off my exercise DVDs and looked and my knackered shoes. The little bit of exercising I did made a whole heap of difference to the experience of going out on the bike. And then Dave bought me the Shiny Bike. We've not been out much over the winter, but as the nights draw out, the road is beginning to call. 

Over the winter, I've upped my exercise activity. I wanted to move more, to be able to do a little bit more. And then, in a vulnerable moment, I said I would do the Norwich half-marathon. More fool me.

At this point, I say this and I have no idea if I will actually be able to do it. I tell you what it's done - I am now one focused woman. I am in training, not just exercising. There is a point to my increased physical activity level. The Viking recommended Zombies, Run! as a fun way to  run and I downloaded their 5k training app. I'm so glad I did. It combines a proper running program with Zombie Apocalypse storyline and is way more fun than just running around and around my local park. 

For Christmas, Dave gave me a heart-rate monitor. I can now keep track of how hard I'm working and it's been a very useful tool. I now visit fitness websites and have loads of apps to track my progress - fitness and weight goals. Yes, I am perfectly aware that they are fun to have and are not really necessary. Just as I don't really need to have three pairs of running leggings, long-sleeved running shirts or those shiny, expensive running shoes. I do feel a total fraud still. I'm not actually running...I am working up to it. I squeeze my body into the running lycra, put on my florescent gear and head out feeling like a total fool. I look like too much mince, shoved into a tight sausage skin. I suppose that's part of the other reason I run in the mornings - no one else is awake to point and laugh.

I'm also having to work on my running technique. I'm a heavy heel striker which is part of the reason I'm having such issues with my shins. By concentrating on adopting good form now, it will hopefully mean less joint and back issues in the future as I begin to pile on the miles. 

Speaking of my back and previous skeletal back is remarkably happy with me at the moment. To the point where I did some strength training yesterday and then went for a long walk around town. I was able to keep standing and move without any grinding in my hips or lower back. I didn't even think about it until I got home. No, I couldn't have done that in October. Walking around the city became quite uncomfortable very quickly and I adopted many strategies to avoid it as much as possible.

My knee is surprisingly quiet. No undue bitching or complaining about the extra work-load at all. It makes me wish I started working out far sooner.

Exercise is not a magic bullet. I am not going to suddenly become happier and healthier and go skipping through fields of daisies with bunnies, unicorns and rainbows. Training has given me an outlet for my emotions, it's a distraction from some of the stuff I'm really struggling with right now. In my weaker moments, it's stopping me from reaching for the bottle of gin and the packet of rolling tobacco.

The biggest physical challenge I've ever faced up until now was Boy's birth. I know I've got a whole heap of emotional resources to call on, I can face down most crises with confidence. Physical stuff...not so much. I've always been a bit of a wimp. Not now though. I've got my running shoes on.


  1. Well, I'll happily take care of that gin & tabacco stash, you do not need that anymore, right ?

    1. Thanks darling! You're a total peach hanging on to those for me. xxx

    2. I do not believe that someone has ever called me a peach before.

      I'm moved.

  2. Good for you. I know how much stamina I can build up through cycling - and how quickly it diminishes when I stop, so I appreciate it's really good for you. I've never learned to enjoy cycling mind you, and if I can't in six years I'm probably never going to, so I'm glad you find training has so many emotional benefits as well as the physical ones.

    1. Thanks honey. Cycling at the moment is one of those things that I enjoy more when I've finished pedalling and the bike has been put away. Running is growing on me much more quickly.

      I'll let you know how I feel about it in 6 years time! :-)

  3. I hope you are suitably stretching those battered legs of yours. The last thing you need is a violent case of shin splints. You know to always stretch afterwards, right? That your muscles, tendons and ligaments need to be warm before they can properly stretch? And that you stretch to the point of pull not pain, then back off a touch and stretch a bit more?

    Very proud of you for taking on this challenge, Roses. I used to be thoroughly bitten by the running bug, but now knee and foot issues just won't let me run much anymore. I walk on a Bowflex treadclimber, or outside (when there is no snow ~ we have a good three feet or so here). I loved running... absolutely loved it! I could get into the "zone" within the first three minutes. Nothing beats those endorphins racing through your veins. :-)

    1. Hey gorgeous. Fear not, I'm doing the dynamic warm up and cool downs from my exercise DVDs, they do long stretches for the legs as well as the rest of the body. My hamstrings though...I could play a tune on them for you, just give me a bow. Even after stretching. As I build my stamina, I'm going to introduce a yoga session to help with that.

      Thank you darling. I'm still not sure whether it's courage or stupidity. But, we'll see. It's certainly got me off my butt. I am surprised that my knee and lower back are holding out so well (so far), it might be that as I clock up the miles and try to up my pace, they may start to complain. I'm hoping that by taking it very gently I'll build up the supporting muscles...

      I look forward to the Zone! At the moment there's only panting, gasping and a heck of a lot of swearing (mentally).


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