Exercise, Healthy Eating, Running, Targets

What Maketh a Runner

Weigh-in: 2.5lbs Gain

6 weeks without tracking, weigh-in, class or any sort of regular exercise regime and I’ve gained a measly 2.5lbs. Not so smug now, eh Walter? And that was with jeans on, without exercising. I usually run the afternoon before weigh-in and get on the scales in running tights. I’ve never been so happy over a gain in my entire life. I had visions of half a stone, 8 lbs 10 lbs…. it has been known to happen in the space of a few weeks – but I’m also glad I was able to go back to class tonight. Actually, I was ecstatic. When I go to class, I know everything will be okay. When I can’t, I feel a wild sense of complete out-of-control chaos. The minute I stepped on the scales last night, that completely disappeared.

The last few weeks have actually turned out to be a good lesson – I’ve averaged a gain of less than half a lb per week. Minimum I usually run 12 miles a week, maximum 30, and without that (I can count the number of runs I’ve been on in the last 6 weeks on one hand) technically I should have gained more. After chatting at class, I realised that my diet has not changed dramatically over this period, although I may have been more relaxed with my portion control. That teamed with less exercise shows me why I’ve gained. The upside is that it also tells me that my healthy eating choices are beginning to stick – I would have put on a LOT more if I’d reverted back to the way I used to eat, but I just ate normally, minus the tracking. The best bit is I didn’t do it consciously. I did it automatically, suggesting that perhaps I might be winning the war with my food addiction. This feels like a really positive step, and I’m now bizarrely pleased that I’ve missed WWs. However, I am careful not to convince myself that I can continue to lose weight without the support network that I have – I’d just be kidding myself on, and at the end of the day, a gain is a gain.

There are four weigh-ins until Christmas (EEK!) so I’ve set myself an interim target of getting over the stone hump for Santa. Who’s with me?

Cordelia in Sports Gear

Thin Brain has been very quiet over the last while (I actually think my entire brain went on holiday through lack of sleep!) but here she is now in her neon running gear (Of course it’s neon, she’s slim enough to pull it off)  ready to get back into the routine and encourage me along on my jogs. I’ve run over 100 miles in my new shoes and am steadily easing myself back into 4 runs per week and preparation for my half-marathon training. My 5k last week was the first back after being ill and honestly, I felt as if I’d never run the length of myself. Ho-riffic.

For the first mile, I felt as if I was running awkwardly and that I couldn’t co-ordinate my limbs or find a comfortable pace. My breathing was an issue throughout, but I think that was mainly due to the remnants of my congested airways more than anything. By 2.5 miles, I hit an uphill stretch and my legs felt like lead. By the the time I finished I thought my lungs were going to burst and I felt sick. My time was slow, and I felt unfit, out of shape and fat, as well as a million other negative body-related points.

For the first time in a long time, I didn’t feel like a runner.

So Are You A Runner?

This really gets my goat. I know there is a lot of debate about what makes someone a runner, others say its an individual opinion. First of all, here are my criteria –

  • You run/jog further than a mile continuously – a non-runner would not do this in their right mind, unless perhaps running from the law
  • You go out regularly
  • You wear clothes that are not socially acceptable under normal circumstances (i.e multicolour swapshop/tight like a tiger/sweatbands)
  • You keep track, in some way, of distance or time

To me, anyone that does these things is a runner. What pisses me off even more is people who do waaaaay more than this and turn round and say, ‘Oh,but I don’t class myself as a runner’. You know who you are. I understand that people do not want to appear as a show-off, or perhaps don’t have the self-confidence to use such a positive affirmation, or feel their personal efforts aren’t worthy of the title. Anyone who runs regularly-be it ten minutes or ten miles- knows the discipline, physical exertion and most of all the mental strength required to get through. And THAT’S what makes a runner.

The running community is one of the friendliest, encouraging and supportive networks I know, particularly for newbies or runners trying a new challenge. By saying to someone ‘I’m not a runner’ you automatically belittle their efforts if they run less/slower/shorter distance than you. That has an impact. A big one. So please, think about it the next time you chat to someone about running – if you are having that conversation, chances are you ARE a runner.

I know I am.

Just a slightly out-of-shape one at the moment 😉



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