Tuesday, June 13, 2006

Fat Girls Can't Run

I had a fantastic weekend in London. The race itself was horrible, and I've written about it over on BerlinBlog, but the weekend, and meeting up with some online friends, was fantastic. We wandered round, we shopped, we ate, we talked and we ran. Or staggered, at least.

I was so proud of the two friends I ran with. They'd never done a 10k before, and I'd have been truly scared if I had to do my first in that weather. But from the moment we woke up in the hotel until well after the race had finished I was surrounded by people who were really looking forward to getting out there, doing it and having fun and then basking in the glory, the experience and the sheer fun of making your way round a course with 8000 other people, all joined in some sort of communal insanity.

I still come across people saying that running isn't for people with a lot of weight to lose, and that signing up for races might not be a good idea. That's rubbish. OK, so there might be some people with leg injuries, or other medical reasons they would struggle to run. But there are also lots of people who make excuses that don't necessarily hold water.

The more races I do, the more I realise that running is the most fantastic sport in the world. You get all the cameraderie of a team sport when you turn up and run with a seething mass of people, but it's still an individual sport where you can concentrate on your own performance, and compete against nothing but the clock and your previous achievements. And if your previous achievements consist of never having tackled the distance before, what do you have to lose?

Every big race I've done there have been people who have walked the whole way. Maybe some of the smaller, local, clubby type runs have been a bit faster overall, but in the big events, the ones with the great atmosphere and really inclusive feeling, it's almost impossible to come last. Run or walk as much as you want to or you're able to, and you'll still get round, and you'll do it more impressively than the people who couldn't be bothered to enter or to turn up.

And if you don't want to walk it all, well who's to say that fat girls can't run? I always thought that I'd like to start running once I lost weight, and my biggest lightbulb moment was when I started doing it despite still being obese. If you start slowly, carefully and steadily there's no reason why you can't build up. Sure, it might be slower progress than if you were fit to start with, and you might need to take more care with those knees and ankles, but it's possible, it really is.

I still can't believe my luck, that I discovered a form of exercise that I love, that has become a sport I participate in rather than a chore I endure, and that is infectious enough too help me persuade my friends to participate in the insanity!


Blogger Sandra said...

It would be good to know how slowly/steadily you did it. I am following your lead a bit (although I did the 5km Race for Life before I found your blog - walked all the way on the hottest day last summer). Anyway, I'm trying to get better at running and doing interval training at the gym but I just can't run for more than 2 minutes at a time. I am beginning to think I'll never be able to! I am definitely a lot fitter than I was before I started and am making progress in other ways but stamina is difficult. Any words of wisdom?


9:47 AM  
Blogger Kykaree said...

London was so fab!

I plodded around that course, walking a lot, running a bit, walking a lot again.

I have new confidence now to increase my running intervals and reduce my walking, at least I know I can do 97 minutes in the searing heat, what can I do with a bit more focussed training and proper English weather!!! LOL

It was a fantastic day, and I am so proud to have you as my friend!!!


8:32 AM  

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