Whoever said the journey to fitness is a beautiful one forgot to mention the unattractive panting and stinky sweating involved. On Monday 9th October, when I made my way to the nearest district park in the neighbourhood, I had absolutely no idea about what running entails. I had been a lazy couch potato all my life. All hyped up after a call from a school friend who was at least 5 years my senior and a mother of a 6-year old, I thought it can’t be all that difficult. All I have to do is run. Boy was I wrong!
Barely 100 metres into my ‘run’ I was out of breath and panting. Repeating to myself like the Yoda of running, “C’mon you can do it. Don’t give up. Keep on keepin’ on,” as I walked, huffing and puffing until I could breath normally. Half way through the trail path, I mustered up the courage to give it another shot. This time, I doubled over with a stitch in my left side even before hitting the 100 metres mark. The only part of me running was my nose.
While I doodled my friend’s stick figure image and pictured making her walk the plank off my pirate ship, I persevered and continued a walk-run-walk pattern for 30-45 mins daily. A few days in, I WhatsApped my senior and told her in no uncertain terms that she was the reason I was cramping in muscles I never knew I possessed. She had the audacity to laugh in my face, well virtual face on WhatsApp but you get the idea.
All said and done, there is beauty in my journey of running to fitness. There is beauty in the nature as you run by a squirrel crossing your path to climb a tree or a puppy chasing it’s own tail. There is beauty in the people of this supportive community of runners that welcome you with warm encouragement and pumping motivation.
Two days into my running workouts, I met Gunjan. A complete stranger who simply called out ‘Hey you’ to my back as I sprinted past her. We soon became running buddies (more on that in future blogs). And on my fourth day to the park, inspired by Gunjan, I made weird hand signals while walking backwards to stop a guy who I had seen running like a pro from day 1. Since I never did get his name, we’ll call him Mr. Stranger-with-an-Afro.
Mr. Stranger-with-an-Afro answered my questions and gave me tips on how to begin running. Turns out I was never supposed straight out run in the first place. Go figure! I’ll probably write out his words of wisdom in a separate blog post for other amateur runners and newbies like me out there. After the 10 minute impromptu tip session, when he ran off, I was in awe of the way his calves moved. He made running seem an effortless beautiful art while I sweated an ocean and panted like my Labrador when she sees ice cream. And that is when I said to myself, I’m not quitting until I have calves like that.
Three weeks from the day I started, I haven’t given up and while that may not sound like a huge achievement to you, I’ll have you run, pant, cramp and repeat the procedure for the same time before you brush it off. I have gone from doubling over with a stitch after a 100 metres run to jogging a full km on a stretch without taking any walk breaks. Oh and Lexi has gone from a sack of lazy bones on couch to walking about 1 km daily, even through her huffs and puffs, sighs and whines, and dragging her paws with the full on puppy eyes.
Originally the idea was to blog a weekly update on my journey but some old habits die hard and I procrastinated a little too long to update in time. I am still getting the hang of all that is involved in blogging but hey, nothing beats hands-on training so here’s my first post. I figure if I can run before jog then I’ll probably muddle through this blogging business. Thank you for reading.
Until next time folks. In the meantime, don’t forget to Lace up and Run. Write. Repeat.