It’s been a long, bumpy road, this past 18 months. And as my 29th birthday speeds towards me, along with the anniversary of becoming a marathonererer, it’s made me all nostalgic and shiz.
So what’s this “adventure” taught me about myself, and my new hobby?
1. Good. Bye. Dignity.
Imagine squatting for a pee in a bush only to turn round and be face to face with a confused greyhound while its startled owner awkwardly backs away. “Come on, Milo. Nothing to see here”.
Or running out of water mid-ride. Unclipping in a typically wobbly fashion and then waddling into a cafe with not insignificant amounts of snot on your chin.
Get used to it.
2. Soreen is your friend. Embrace it.
2 years ago, if you’d have waved a malt loaf at me I’d have recoiled in disgust. “DON’T try and call that a cake. It’s not a cake. It has RAISINS in it”
Well. Now me and Soreen are BFFs and I don’t even care. Original, Banana and the holy grail that is Chocolate flavour are what fuels my longer sessions. And provide “lunch pudding”.
That leads me to my next thing what I’ve learnt:
3. I can fucking EAT.
Let’s face it. I never had any issues with putting food away. Like, srsly. But being told by coach that I needed a minimum (A MINIMUM) of 2500 kcal a a day just to maintain energy was literally the best thing anyone has ever told me.
Of course, this technically needs to be 2500 kcal a of goodness. so no breakfast kebab. Boo. But if, say, I’m down on my fat and carb macros for the day, I can actually eat Nutella out of the jar and it’s not even remotely frowned upon.
I’ve also had to create new meals. Allow me to introduce you to
“Breakfast pudding ”
Life is good when you can have thrice the amount of pudding in your life.
4. I cannot BEAR padded shorts.
Of course, I have to. Because who wants to sit arse-on-saddle sans padding for 4 hours? Not. Me.
But it’s afterwards. After melting on a turbo trainer for 45 minutes. When there is no fluid left in your body because you’ve sweated it all out and it’s been absorbed by the bike-nappy.
5. Humble-bragging is a very real thing and you don’t even realise you’re doing it.
“You look tired”
“Oh not really. Was just up at 5am today to smash an 8k run in before breakfast”
“Not really. Just gotta be done. It’s tough but I feel so amazing right now”
(That is a lie as you eat your 18th digestive of the morning.)
Which leads me to:
6. Everyone who says 5am sessions are invigorating and amazing is a LIAR.
5am sessions are not invigorating. Or amazing. Or fun. Or “energising”. They suck balls. Big, hairy, sweaty balls.
They are essential to those of us who have a full time job. But they are in no way fun.
Saying that, I always try to take positivity from each session. So the only thing I can say that I love about early sessions is the quiet. I can sit in peace or run undisturbed. And that’s nice.
7. I am the angriest I’ve ever been in a swimming pool changing room.
Sweaty. Chlorine scented. Tiny cubicle. Gross floor. Can’t get leggings on. Can’t get bra on. Can’t find phone. Dropped my goggles. Where’s my car keys. WHY THE FUCK WILL THE TOWELS NOT GO BACK IN MY BAG.
8. Pain free running EXISTS
There was a time where I thought this would never be possible. But it is. Combining the three disciplines has improved my recovery and strength so much. And by including strength and conditioning, I can lift heavy things AND put them back down again now. Every pain free step is a blessing. I remember back when I had to stop and call for a lift.
Don’t get me wrong, sometimes running DOES hurt. But not always. And that’s progress.