Diary of A Fat Chick!!! Part Three…
Quick recap. Last year I decided on a bit of a lifestyle change, sometimes with humorous and embarrassing moments – now with a little bit of pride in myself to see how far I have come in such a short space of time.
Something I always have and most likely for reasons to become apparent always will struggle with is running!
Or in my case, bounce at a slow pace with the grace and elegance of an elephant that has seen a mouse!
This is something I have always struggled with, even at school. Yet it is something I am determined to get right!
Over the last 11 months I have come to realise that there are a couple of different people in the world when it comes to running:
1. Those that can run – Not me
2. Those that cannot run – Me
Now my “bounce at a fast pace attitude” really comes from the fact I actually do bounce – everywhere when I ‘run’. Of course it has nothing to do with the fact that my breasts are quite sizable. I know a few folk that would pay a fair amount for which I seem to have naturally. I used to even joke if you stuck straws in one it would probably come out as a pint of Stella, the other a bottle Pinot Grigio!
There really is no getting away from the fact that if they were not tied down could cause me some significant damage while partaking in this particular activity!
Normally what happens when I try to ‘Run/Bounce’ is this: I would hold my breasts and then hold my breath!!
Inevitably this would then lead to me seeing stars at some point and practically passing out; so time and again I gave up on what I could only consider to be some form of torture, while I was in awe of others around me that could do it and for long distances.
I was also self-conscious if I saw other people out and about, as part of me worried what other people would think.
One such day springs to mind when I was ‘bouncing’ at the back of my house along the canal path which I had been doing for a couple of weeks. One day this elderly man stopped me. He was someone I often saw when out for a quick ‘bounce’. He explained that he often wondered that due to the way I run i.e. one-armed due to holding said breasts and clearly struggling for breath, how on earth I had not fallen into the canal and that he was a little afraid for me!! I do laugh about it now, when I think about how ridiculous I probably looked, and I would like to think that it was not said with any malice, but at the time it stung so I stopped going altogether.
This is how it stayed until I joined my Boot Camp classes, and quickly discovered that it doesn’t matter if you can bounce or run, you have no option but to do an element of this in EVERY class.
Looking back, I wish someone had a camera to show my first session… all red face, seeing stars while trying to hold my chest together and hoping that no one would notice daft I looked!!
Let’s not even talk about the fact I couldn’t even make it 50 metres without stopping and thinking I was going to die!!
My legs hurt, my ass hurt (turned out this is because of my glutes?)
My Achilles hurt and then my hamstring, while my breathing has been likened to anything from a steam train through to someone auditioning for a chatline!!! :-/
However, all seems not to be lost. With a bit of encouragement and conversations with my instructors (one in particular) that has really taken the time to help me with this, I seem to finally be getting this right.
One of the main things I would say to any of you lovely ladies that – like me – are heading for their mid-40s and are now paying for a lifetime of fun, laughter, drinking and food…all while having the metabolism of a snail; it really doesn’t really matter how fast or how far you can run and you will never do either until you have mastered the basics!
- Invest in a bloody good sports bra
- Do NOT hold onto anything while running (you all know what I am talking about!)
- Stop being self-conscious; NO ONE is looking at you.
Jump forward to late July (I think) as I had just got new trainers for my birthday and we had an Instructor that we’ve not had for a while and is one of the ones, if I am honest (although he is a lovely person) I dread, because you know automatically you will be running everywhere practically through the whole class.
Now at this point it was a standing joke that I am always the last one back. If I come back before anyone else, then they are having a bad day. So imagine everyone’s surprise when in part of the class we were told that we had to sprint and discovered that I could not only do this but quicker than EVERYONE else in my class!!! Literally had no idea where it even came from, I must admit it was liberating to discover I could.
Thinking it was a fluke I ended up doing this 5 times in the same session. I managed to run at speed, breath and not hold on to anything all in 1 go!! (Yeah me!)
Trouble is when something like this happens a couple of things happen…
- Because you have done this once, people expect this to happen all the time
- You yourself then start to believe that you can actually DO this ….
During this time of my discovery and as part of Edinburgh Transplant Games supporters team, I was asked if I would take part in a 4 mile relay this May and armed with the realisation and joy that I can sprint…of course I simply said “Yes”.
Upon reflection, I am now thinking that I got caught up in the moment and just said YES! I am sure we have all been there at some point.
I can sprint and I know I can as since this time I have done it time and again, not sure if it is part of the process but my normal ‘bouncing’ has gone from being at a slow pace to a quicker pace that in fact I am frequently being told to slow down so that other people in the class can catch up with me!!
Apparently I no longer bounce but can actually jog and sometimes even run. Huge turnaround from the days when I was always the last one back J and couldn’t run 50 metres.
However this development has now presented itself with another small issue, I can sprint but I cannot seem to do distances! Bit of an issue when you need to do a 4 mile relay in 4 months time. The problem I have with distances is as follows:
Breathing: Yes, my friends, this old issue seems to rear its ugly head once I get a certain distance. As such this has led me to seek the advice and guidance of one of my Instructors who in all honesty I would not have come as far as I have without.
Apparently it’s quite a simple process if you remember the following:
- Breath in through the nose and out through the mouth.
- Do not focus on the time, but focus on the distance. Apparently running a few lamp posts/trees depending on where you go and then walking one and the running a few more helps with the distance.
- Keep your head up and not down (seemingly this helps with the breathing) – turns out that works lol!
- Eat well and make sure I drink plenty of water (tgis is something they are quite adamant about lol).
As well as all of the above, I also took the decision to cut back on the old grape and potato juice as I figured there was no point in asking for help and advice if I was just going to come home and dive into a bottle of wine or vodka. It’s a tad counterproductive.
After 2 months of this I have finally managed to see some progress in this myself. I am currently running further distances each time I go out than the time previous. Even when we are not sprinting, I am constantly being told to slow down to let other people catch up. Nearly 6 months after my last one, I finally feel ready to do my next fitness test and get that Red Bib I missed out on last time. Although, in retrospect, I was not ready or prepared for this change either physically or mentally back then.
As I have previously mentioned, there is one Instructor that has helped me above and beyond while I have been on this path of discovery, to the extent that I know I have eaten into their own personal time with my endless questions and requests for help. Even though they must be truly exasperated with me at times, has never yet let me down. As such they have now become a very important person in my life, and someone that I would consider to be a true friend.
As such I feel that not only am I doing this for myself now, but for them as well, as I really do not want to let them down. I mean, what would be the point in asking for help, and then not following it or giving up?
There are some days that I do still struggle but these are days when it is more of a mental fight than a physical one and again my trusty instructor comes to my aid as all I hear is their voice in my head telling me to keep my chin up, smile and that I have got this and importantly breath and do not give up.
And so where at the beginning I thought there were 2 types of people when it comes to running. I now feel that there are now 3 types of people when it comes to running:
1. Those that can run – Not me
2. Those that cannot run – Used to be me
3. Those that thought they could not run but actually can – Me now
To be continued
The 4 mile relay is in May and even though at this moment in time I do not feel that I am ready to do this, I know that with my trusty instructor by my side and in my head as well as me putting in the hard work and listening to their advice that I will have this in the bag. I think this may well be the most amazing thing I have done for myself since climbing Ben Nevis in September.
So until the next one which will be after my run in May.
It’s never too late to try something or learn new things; you just need the will and sometimes a little bit of encouragement from someone that cares. The rest is up to you!
Mazza Out XX