A quick follow up and back story to yesterday’s Sinful Sunday post, which was hastily snapped and bashed out in 10 minutes between showering and diving into the wine and cheese!
I was looking at my running app on the way home from yesterday’s race. On 2nd March 2013 I ran 0.93 miles and it took me 15 minutes! Four months later I ran the London 10k and got my first medal. Ten months after that I ran the London Marathon. I am sure yesterday’s medal – my third – will not be my last.
But, I am still really bloody slow. Faster than a 15 minute mile for sure, but still slow enough to be in the last few hundred crossing the line of an 11,000 strong race. Do I care? Yes, I care enough to want to get better because I know I can, but I don’t care enough to stop doing it.
You wouldn’t look at me and see athlete. I am 5′ 10″ and a solid 13 – 13.5 stone. When the BBC had its athlete generator thing on its homepage during the Olympics my height, build and weight put me closest to a member of the Jamaican women’s shot put team. A lithe Paula Radcliffe I am not! But I still ran the same 26.2 miles through London that she previously had, because I decided I wanted to and so I did.
This is something else I’ve noticed about getting older. Exercise is no longer about making ourselves look a certain way, it’s about making ourselves feel a certain way. It’s about challenging ourselves, putting in the work and experiencing the joy of achievement. We no longer spend silly money on expensive gym membership only to wear our lack of attendance as a badge of honour indicating how busy our social life is.
As life diversifies and responsibilities encroach, exercise gives us time with our friends, not away from them. Even better than that, it gives us valuable time alone with the most worrisome decision being which playlist or TED talk to load and whether to go left or right at the next junction. More and more of my friends are taking up sport that takes place outdoors too – running, military fitness, netball, rowing, long distance walking, open water swimming. Fresh air and taking on the British weather – double win!
And I love that we are all doing this. No matter our weight, ability, family or career responsibilities we are quietly making time to look after our physical and mental wellbeing. Because, like I said, for most of us these days that’s what exercise is about – not how it makes you look but how it makes you feel. Because a healthy, glowing, happy person is one you want to be and be around a whole lot more than one who’s slaving in the gym to get into a dress.
The title of this blog is in total homage to the This Girl Can campaign, which I absolutely bloody love!