Training for my London 10K in aid of the Cystic Fibrosis Trust is going well.
Or it was; a mixture of extended work commitments and Man Flu prevented me from doing anything at all last week – for a whole week! I am a little gutted about this because it almost feels like I will be starting all over again when I get back into the gym this week.
Mentally I am committed – or I certainly should be.
I found my way down to the gym to start training for my challenge two weeks ago. Rob the Gym Man was beside himself with joy when he first spotted me back in his life. I thought he was going to cry, I’m certain that he whooped. I don’t think I’ve ever seen anyone so happy at the sight of me in shorts before, it was quite flattering really. We just sort of stood and man-hugged for about a minute too long, saying something on the lines of “Love you man” before moving on and leaving me standing there.
On a treadmill.
I looked at the buttons, they looked at me. Kilometres, I noticed, not miles. Usually this annoys me. In previous visits to the gym it has really vexed me that all of the machines work in metric. I’m a miles and yards person – is it really too much to expect my country to be the same? And if being metric is so damned important, why are all the roads marked in Miles? Answer me that Mr Cameron!
On this day though, and on this mission, the quirk of British measurement systems was on my side. I need to know about Kilometres, I need to know when I can run 10 of the buggers.
So, after about 5 minutes reminding myself how to make the machine start, and pinning the little emergency cut-off wire to my shirt (I have first-hand experience of why these things are worth doing), I was ready.
The treadmill started to move.
At speeds that would terrify a tortoise, I heaved, puffed, sweated, coughed, grunted and gasped my way along until the distance display read 1.0.
Oh yes! 1.0!
With oxygen depleted blood pumping hard through your veins, salty sweat dripping over your eyes to blur your vision and the knowledge that you have been ponding along virtual streets for hours, it is amazing how much 1.0 Kilometres looks like 10.
I fist pumped the air like a crazed Tennis champion and shouted a triumphant, room stopping “YES!” Then I wobbled scarily, because it turned out the machine didn’t know that I had finished and was still actually moving. I franticly jabbed at the dials to make the damned thing stop, but nothing seemed to have an effect. That was when I remembered about the little clip attached to my shirt.
One quick tug and it was all over. (story of my life).
The machine came to a halt and I flopped down ecstatic at my achievement. Darren, my friend and nominated “fitness type” who will be running with me on the 12th, saw me and popped over to see how I’d done.
“I’ve bloody done it!” I shouted over the sounds of ‘Spear Of Destiny’ still doing their thing in my ears, “Day bloody one and I’ve done 10K! – This run is so on – You lot all laughed but look at me now! I can do it - I can bloody do it already!”
Darren looked at the screen and scrunched up his face. He coughed first of all, and then spluttered a bit.
Finally he just sort of walked away, shoulders bouncing uncontrollably as he walked.
I turned around and read the distance again.
The aches and pains in my stupidly stiff legs did absolutely nothing to alleviate the dark mood that occupied the rest of my day. Nor did the way that people all around me giggled whenever I hobbled by them. Darren is a true and proper friend, but about as discrete as the love bites on a 16 year old supermarket till-girl’s neck.
So that was day one. I managed to go a few more times and after such a depressingly discouraging start, progress is going excitingly well until last week’s absence. But I am back now and the challenge continues. Meanwhile there should now be a page up above that you can TAB to and follow the action. Route details and times will be on there so feel free to turn up. If you want to run you can, if you don’t then you can certainly turn up at the pub (though there is at least a small chance I’ll be trying to sponge a drink out of you if you do!).
The most important thing is that somehow – I raise some cash for Cystic Fibrosis.
Training report 2 – where I finally give in to pressure and sleep with Rob the Gym Man coming soon. Actually I might not write that one…