Rather a while ago, I wrote about my new-found (and slightly lukewarm) passion for running. Back then I did all my exercise within the safe confines of a gym, where everyone was sweating and skin-tight Lycra was the look du jour. The thought of running outside, in the open air, where people with regular heartbeats and normal bras could see, was quite terrifying.
There’s something quite soul destroying about running on a treadmill, though. That brick wall never gets any closer, and no matter how often you change machines you’ll always end up next to some meaty guy grunting and humming the Rocky theme tune to himself. Always. So as the weather warmed and I finally finished a 5k on the treadmill without falling at meaty guy’s feet afterwards, I decided to get back to nature and take to the streets.
I was spurred on by the Aussie Lusciously Light project – faced with a choice of a Lusciously Lighter Style (a radical hair change in time for summer) or a Lusciously Lighter Self (a makeover of mind and body through decluttering, healthy eating and exercising) I surprised myself by choosing to concentrate on the inside rather than the out.
I’ve spent my life investing in new clothes, make-up and shoes to change how I look. Only this year have I really realised that changing my eating habits, levels of physical exertion and attitude to life can also change my appearance. It’s not about losing weight, but about mastering a staircase without panting, or dancing all the way through Yeah by Usher without breaking a sweat (seriously – as my friends will confirm, the dance floor is my own personal sauna).
I’m running the Race For Life on Sunday and have yet to complete the requisite 5k on open terrain. Running outside is HARD. There are hills and wind and people who walk smack bang in the centre of the pavement. And as my friend Jen pointed out on Twitter, dogs chase you. But it’s so much better than running towards that just-out-of-reach brick wall. Even if you do have to stop every 5 minutes to walk (like me).
As well as Race For Life, I’m training for Boutique Run. Having these goals has really helped, and knowing that I’ve got those finish lines to cross gets me out of my PJs and into my trainers. It’s still a struggle – just like it was back then and as it has been since I started in September 2010 – but I can deal with it because it makes me feel great. I can’t run far, or particularly fast, and I’m sure my technique is more Phoebe from Friends than Paula Radcliffe, but hey. As was often said to a 10-year-old me on Sports Day, it’s about the participation, not the winning (I could never keep that egg on the spoon).
Are you into running or does another form of exercise take your fancy? Share your tips for healthy living in the comments below.
PS – If you’re feeling inspired and fancy joining me at Boutique Run, you can get 25% off the entry price by using the code BLOG25 at the checkout.