I hate running, I like feeling awake

After skipping my run yesterday, and consequently feeling slow, tired and crabby all morning, there was no way I would let myself skip this morning’s run. I only had 5 hours sleep which, at this end of a 60-hour work week, isn’t enough but, as proved yesterday, an extra half an hour in bed really doesn’t change anything. It’s simply the reality of the first couple of weeks of any of my work contracts. I’m used to this tiredness and know that there is nothing to do except to survive until the next day off, and then make that one a very restful one.

Today’s session was 5 minutes running, 1 minute walking, 8 minutes running, 1 minute walking for 30 minutes. The 8-minute run intervals were tough. It felt like a big step up from the 5-minute run intervals.

Runtastic ‘helpfully’ announced “one quarter of interval complete, 6 minutes left…half of interval complete, 4 minutes left…three quarters of interval complete, 2 minutes left” through the 8-minute intervals. I appreciate that this is meant to be informative and motivating but, for me, it was taunting, mocking, heckling coming from my phone. I felt a little of the ‘slow and stupid’ feeling, but tried to keep this under control by running at about half the speed I wanted to run at so that I wouldn’t run out of steam. There were only two 8-minute intervals, which was a relief – if there had been any more I think I would have sworn at my phone and thrown it under the nearest passing truck. I tried to keep in mind that running is something me and body are learning to do. It won’t be easy for a long time, and if I decide to go beyond running 5km at a decent pace, there will always be days that are hard. I think of when I started to learn to play the flute: At the start, even getting a sound out of the instrument was hard. Getting a nice sound was even harder. Playing a series of notes, vaguely representing a tune, while maintaining a nice sound was harder still. But fast forward 9 years, and I was taking and passing my Grade 8 exam. (In this analogy, the Grade 8 exam is the equivalent of running a marathon or completing a triathlon.) I’ve only just started running. I’m barely off the starting blocks. Expecting it be anything other than hard is naive.

Now, as I sit on the train, I feel 100% more awake than yesterday. My lungs feel unrestricted, as though I was unwittingly wearing a band around my chest yesterday and just didn’t realise. I don’t feel amazing – there is no euphoric, delirious happiness here – merely less crap that I would feel had I not been for a run. This realisation is what kept me going during my run, and what got me out of bed and out of the door this morning.

While getting ready for work, I noticed that although you can see a little puffiness under my eyes, betraying the lack of sleep of this week, I otherwise look much healthier than I would normally would at this point in a fit-up week. My skin has a healthy colour, it’s clear, and looks hydrated.

I still hate running, but maybe it is worth the effort.