Tuesday, 24 May 2016

Run for your life!

Back in the mists of time, sufficiently long ago that I can no longer remember when it was, I took up running. BigBear had been running (on and off) for years, and I needed to find some means of getting some aerobic exercise that didn't involved jumping up and down in a crowded sweaty room with other people, the very thought of which gives me hives. So I had a go at running. It was, as I anticipated, a slow and painful ascent from non-runner to reasonable-jogger. But I managed it, and reached a point where I was relatively comfortable running 3-4 miles at a time 2-3 times a week and even doing 6.2 miles (10k) on occasion. And I found the experience remarkably rewarding in a way I hadn't expected.

Nothing difficult in my life until that point had been done without an end goal. I had always been striving to achieve something. To pass an exam, or to complete an award, or to beat other people in a race or a sport. This time I was running on my own, doing nothing other than attempt to improve my stamina, speed and distance. I wasn't comparing myself or competing against others. I was running only for myself. And I couldn't think of any other challenge I'd ever undertaken for no reason other than to see if I could. And it felt good, and liberating, and gave me a satisfaction that came entirely from within, not relying on any external validation.

And then I got pregnant, and went on holiday to Australia, and got out of the habit of running.

And then I was soul-destroyingly tired, and suffering from depression, and the idea of doing anything other than whimpering on the sofa in what free-time I had from a small baby was laughable.

And, after a while, running simply wasn't part of my life any more, and I didn't seem to have a place to put it.

Until last year, when I decided to try again. So out I went, and it was painful and exhausting to get from non-runner back towards stumbling-jogger, but I did it. And then, that April, I got a really foul cold that dragged on for weeks, and all my energy and motivation and fitness evaporated. So the last time I went running was 29th April 2015.

I have spent the past few months mock-sorrowfully regretting all the reasons I can't possibly go running again - BigBear goes out three times a week, so there's no time for me to go as well; I'm too busy; I'm too tired; I'm not good enough at it; I can't be arsed; my sports bras are too old and don't fit...

The eagle-eyed among you will have spotted that only the last two of these excuses reasons actually holds water. And I'm completely in denial about not-being-arsed being the big problem. Instead I have focussed on the physical idiocy of going running with woefully inadequate structural support. Because those sports bras all pre-date the original foray into running which, as mentioned, means they're actually older than I can remember. They also clearly pre-date all the changes in body shape brought about by pregnancy and breastfeeding. Which essentially renders them more or less useless.

I have clung to my underwear-inadequacy as a reason for not running, and clung also to the rashness of shopping online for such garments for months now. So last weekend I bit the bullet and ordered an item of intimate upholstery from John Lewis*. And when it arrived it fitted, though it does take about half an hour, a degree in structural engineering and the flexibility of a yogi to get into it.

Last night I ran 1.4 miles, with nary a bounce. Admittedly I can barely walk now, but I have broken my duck, and my capacious bosom is intact. Now I just have to keep fighting the battle of being arsed enough so that I overcome the initial pain and lack of fitness and reach the nirvana of "happy runner".

* An aside for women. Unless you're a man who needs a sports bra, this probably isn't relevant. I chose John Lewis not because of their awesome reputation as a purveyor of sporting goods, but because I know I can return things there with no hassle at all. And I was ordering a new freezer from them, so it seemed to make sense. And size? After I finished breastfeeding LittleBear, I went all "Trinny and Suzanne" and took myself off to Rigby and Peller to be fitted. It was eye-wateringly expensive, but life-changingly awesome. I have never owned such well-fitting, supportive, comfortable bras. See, I told you this section was for women didn't I? So I ordered a "Shock Absorber Ultimate Run Sports Bra" in my Rigby and Peller size, and now I am obliged to go running because the damn thing actually fits really well and eliminates all jiggle, wobble and bounce. 

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