I bin RUNNIN. Yeah! Running! If you don’t know me personally, you’ve probably lost interest, instantly. I don’t blame you. If you do know me – and especially if you haven’t seen me for a while – you’re probably doing a big WHUUUUUUUT right now. Either way, let me explain.
Last year it struck me that eating paracetamol like sweeties was possibly not the best nor the most sustainable way of dealing with some fairly extreme ladypains. Having read Mizz magazine in the 90s, I was vaguely aware that exercise is supposed to be an effective analgesic. I was beginning to rattle when I walked. These were desperate times.
My first run was a panicked canter around the block. It took five minutes. When I arrived back at my building, I sat on the front steps, saucer-eyed, with my head between my knees, and said “huuuuuuuuuuur” into my hands for a bit.
The next day my uterus tried to escape through the small of my back. I took the same route and returned to Dalrymple Towers a mere four minutes later and hardly out of breath – so looped the block again. After five sessions of cantering round and round the block, I’d got my basic lap down to three minutes and, when I came to, was able to consider going further afield.
Ten months on, I now run two to three times a week for 30 to 60 minutes. And somehow, I seem to be entered in this: Cancer Research UK’s 10K Race For Life. 9 am, Sunday 14 July. Hyde Park. This is happening.
A lot of stuff has changed. I’m a bit fitter, a bit thinner, perhaps a bit happier. My arse, KICKS arse. My womb is definitely happier. Other parts, however, are not.
There’s some stuff I feel that isn’t widely known about exercise (or at least the kind of exercise I’ve been doing) which I think it’s important I tell you, so that you know, and feel sorry for me, and give me money. Like the fact that, while some bits of you look fantastic with no clothes on, others suddenly, spectacularly, don’t.
My right foot was the first casualty. Pre-posh trainers, I’d more or less resigned myself to a future in which a corn, a huge blood blister, and a mountain range of permablisters on the ball of my foot featured prominently. Post-posh trainers, it’s only a slightly rosier picture: the corn and the blood blister have gone, but the blister-range has just moved a bit. So I’m sexy, but disgusting.
That’s a specific problem. What’s worse is the general exercise fall-out. When I didn’t do any exercise, I basically assumed that everyone who did just floated around in
an easy, flexible, vaguely lubricated sort of way, and that when I got into the whole exercise thing, I would become similarly bendy.
So that assumption was WRONG, mmkay? Over the past ten months I’ve discovered that while exercise makes you flexible in some ways, in other, equally significant ways, it makes you much, much less flexible. Especially immediately afterwards, and especially if you don’t keep it up, because then you’re back to square one – or worse.
I recently had a lapse in training (ha! training) when my left ankle went all wibbly. For a while I thought I’d twisted it. Then I assumed I had ankle cancer and would surely die. People kept telling me to go to physio, but the Internet kept telling me that physio was really, really expensive. In the end I went back to the shop where I bought the posh trainers and begged for help. They filmed me running on a treadmill, told me that I was listing to starboard (they may have used different words) and sold me some posh insoles.
But while the posh insoles instantly and totally solved the ankle problem, they created two entirely new ones: my thighs. The insoles righted my gait to such an extent that I was unwittingly compelled to use a completely different set of muscles to do the same exercise. This was fine on the day I first ran with the insoles, and the day afterwards when I did
a shorter run. It was NOT fine, however, the day after. Or the day after that.
Five days later, I am still walking like a velociraptor. Sitting down necessitates placing my hands on the arms of the chair to be sat on, on or on the space my bottom is to occupy, before lowering myself onto it gingerly, and wincing. In three weeks I’ve gone from being a reasonably competent human woman capable of cantering a respectable few kilometres to a portly new-born foal who doesn’t completely understand how its legs are attached.
Don’t even get me STARTED on what all this is doing to my boobs.
I feel I may be straying away from the point of this post, which is to transmit the message that one month today, I will run a 10k race with other, possibly significantly fitter people, very early the morning after I perform with Voce and the Rolling Stones to a crowd of thousands in Hyde Park. So why should you sponsor me? Let’s recap.
1. I don’t like exercise. Everyone else who has ever asked you to sponsor them for running probably secretly enjoys it. This race represents significant hardship for me. Pain deserves money.
2. My journey towards semi-fitness has been long and arduous. Historical pain deserves money.
3. I will be wearing lycra, possibly no pants, and will make running 10k in under 60 minutes look really, hilariously difficult. This surely deserves money.
4. This race is about more than running, and effort, and my mum, and mankind’s fight against cancer: this race is about me going to bed early after one of the biggest gigs of my life. Should any emaciated rock gods ask me back to their dressing room for a drink and a spliff and a go on one of the groupies, I will be obliged to say no. This deserves all the money there is in the world.
5. This race is actually about running, and effort, and my mum, and mankind’s fight against cancer. Please give generously.
And thank you.