I have just got back from the best run! I absolutely love runs like that, where I time my snack just right (for me, about 2 hours before works), warm up (5 minute walk uphill), stretch really well (stretch your calves especially, hold the stretch for 15 seconds on each leg and repeat 3 times) and then I’m off! Tonight, I was running like a crazy woman!
On the longer route that I do at home, I have to run through the centre of the village which has three pubs and, at this time of night and at this time of the week, there are tons of people outside enjoying a pint. I always feel incredibly self-conscious, especially because my village is so hilly and so the run is always hard (which is why I do it). Tonight, I ran down the hill past all the pubs on the beginning of my route and then I decided to take a different route home and add in that hill to all the others (I do a loop which requires going down some hills on the way ‘out’, so to speak, but you’ve got to run up them all on the way home). It was the best feeling to run up a hill that I have literally dreamed of being able to do…and it wasn’t even hard!!
Recently, I have been having really really goods runs. I mean, there are steep hills everywhere around here and I’ve been doing 11k+ runs with ease. I am the person who was fat all the way through school (yes, I was FAT not curvy, FAT), until I was 17. I used to try to make myself ill, I hated sports lessons that much. Once, a friend and I drank a pint of milk and then a pint of orange juice afterwards because she had read that the orange would curdle the milk in your stomach and make you vomit (it didn’t work). That is how much I hated sport. When I first started running, I could not even run 100m. That’s not an exaggeration. I absolutely despised myself…
One day, I just got sick of what I saw in the mirror and I pushed and pushed myself and lost 2 stone. Building up my fitness was bloody awful. It was pure pain and I paid in sweat for every step that I was able to do.
I’ve been through so many stages in terms of my level of fitness and how I look and I have bordered on obsessive eating habits before but I have never totally stopped exercising since I was 17…and I’m 25 now. That’s 8 years of sweating and sweating, running in the rain, making myself go to the gym early in the morning and late at night, cycling to the gym in Corsica on a dual carriage way (not sure that was legal, but hey, it was Corsica) and killing myself in the fitness classes. All this, when many of my friends just ate what they wanted and looked amazing.
Last year was so frustrating for me because I was working full-time the other side of the city with 3 hours of travel everyday and then 40 Days For Life was happening with work and my driving test and I just didn’t have time for exercise. I had gained a ton of weight when I wasn’t working and it just wasn’t coming off, even though I was eating healthy foods and trying to get in exercise when I could. But I didn’t give up! Now, I have the time to exercise and although my body doesn’t really reflect how far I can run or how strong I am right now, that’s ok, because I’m not going to give up. I get a kick out of running up a huge hill with ease, knowing that I don’t look like I could do it. Being fit does not necessarily mean being thin! It took me years to learn this. In school, I was so jealous of skinny girls, but now I’m (kind of, sort of) thankful that I gain weight easily because it means that I don’t abuse my body with fatty foods. That doesn’t mean that I wouldn’t love to eat whatever I want and not gain weight, but it wouldn’t be good for me in the long term.
Why am I writing this? Not because I think I’m so great, but because I know that I need the motivation of reading stories of people who haven’t given up on themselves, who take the time to look after the body that God gave them, to eat properly and exercise and not to get disheartened because they’re not stick thin. Every workout that you get in makes a real difference so just keep going! It all adds up in the end so don’t think that just because you can’t do it everyday this week, that you shouldn’t do it just this once. Remember that no matter how slow you are going, you are still lapping everyone on the couch.