I hated myself a little bit this morning as I tied up my trainers.
Day 6 of running 5k a day and I had fully accepted it wasn’t going to be a good run. Accepting it was the best thing I could have done. I thought about changing my route, running on flatter ground or the scenic route. I tried to pick the perfect podcast to listen to and then just gave up and thought it’s probably going to be shit regardless so let’s just get it done as quickly as possible.
Despite all this dialogue in my head, there wasn’t any part of me that thought about not doing it. I think I have got pretty good at knowing I will have to do things in life that I don’t want to do. Intentionally putting myself in situations where I feel uncomfortable and choosing to do the thing I don’t want to do has, I believe, made me a better person. So I did the run. I reminded myself the whole way that it was just 30 minutes, which I had previously worked out was only little over 2% or a 24 hour day - If I can spend a good 10% procrastinating, scrolling and watching Buffy the Vampire Slayer I can defiantly spent 2% running. And it wasn’t raining. It could have been worse. So I got on with it and did it. Running 5k a day for 28 days is something only 1 months ago I wouldn’t have been able to believe. Up until about week 7 of the couch to 5k app I still couldn’t believe I was going to run that distance. I questioned it, both in numerous voice notes to my best friends and on Instagram to anybody who would watch my stories, but I trusted the process and now I’m running it.
Some mornings I think I am genuinely beginning to love it. Others the minutes drag and I have to talk myself through every second. Focusing on the next step and repeating over and over that I am not going to stop.
It’s not the exercise I enjoy. Physically its demanding (I dread to think what I sound like wheezing running up behind someone- luckily for me my headphones drown it out) but the health benefits, although great, aren’t why I do it. Every time I go on a run I remember how impossible it’s always felt to me. How I honestly thought it was something I could never do. And when I do it, it serves as a reminder that I can. It builds a little bit more confidence that I can do the things that at first scare me or I think are impossible. How I started running for 60 seconds and slowly built it up, I can do that with anything. I just have to break the idea down into smaller steps. I have to be patient, work hard and trust the process. I still find 5k hard, it will probably get easier but it won’t necessarily be easy.
A bit like life. I don’t think it’s meant to be easy. Or fair. I know I don’t have to run every day. But I choose to feel that discomfort. Because that’s life. We will feel uncomfortable sometimes, we will feel pain, sadness, grief and despair - and that's if we are lucky. To feel all those things means we are alive. It means we are still here, still trying and still getting to experience the world. When I run, I am grateful I get that experience. I am grateful my legs allow me to do it, grateful I can feel my heart beating in my chest and that my 'suffering' that day is only feeling uncomfortable while doing a 30 minute run - that I got up and decided to do. I think of the people I know and love that can’t do that.
Those that can't even walk or drive to the seafront, let alone run next to it. The people that I wish were still here to run next to.
The thing that reminds you of these things might not be running.
But I encourage you to find that thing that makes you remember how lucky you are to be here.
I am donating £1 for every run I do this lockdown to The ME Association.
They offer help and support with Myalgic Encephalopathy (M.E), Chronic Fatigue (CFS) and Post Viral Fatigue Syndrome (PVFS). One of my best friends has spent 4 months recovering from and continues to suffer with PVFS and despite her incredibly positive attitude and nature I have seen how it can turn someone's life upside down. There is limited support and help with this because everyone reacts differently but The ME Association invest in biomedical research so that we can find out more.
Long Covid symptoms are similar to both PVFS and CFS and is affecting young, healthy individuals long after they have had the virus.
COVID-19 has effected all our lives, but if like me it’s only affected your work and social life (no matter how difficult) we are the lucky ones.
If you would like to donate please use the link to my Just Giving page.