Tradition dictates that, at this time of year, I summarise how my running’s gone recently. I first started to take running seriously in early 2003, as I approached my 50th birthday. Getting involved in admin and coaching at Jersey Spartan AC was the main driver in this. The energy of the kids at the track was infectious and I started to contemplate my own comparative lack of fitness. And I’d also got slightly annoyed at one or two of the road runners challenging me to come and race. Well, since then I have got huge enjoyment as well as physical and mental benefits from this slightly crazy hobby.
But, as any runner will tell you, it’s a sport with more than its share of ups and downs. If you don’t have a bit of mental fortitude and ‘bouncebackability’ you had better take up something else.
2020 was no different. The simple fact of the matter was, as the year commenced, I was carrying too much weight. Again. How often have I been there? Two years previously I was fit and flying, now I was huffing and puffing, everything a big effort. On 1st March I ran a hopeless 58.30 10k in what turned out to be the last race before Covid struck. Falling and bashing my ribs didn’t help for a week or two either.
Lockdown, and what did I do? With genuine good intentions, instead of frequenting the fresh food aisles of the supermarket I decided to support the local corner shop in these troubled times. What the corner shop sells is convenient but rarely conducive to healthy living. I continued running after a fashion but it was now becoming something I wasn’t looking forward to. Walk breaks during runs had become the rule rather the exception.
Meanwhile my daughter Emma (who has yet to beat me in a race) had lost weight after consulting a local sports nutritionist Kit Chamier. She was flying as a result. The penny dropped. I went to see Kit and it was comedy gold as I wondered aloud to him where I was going wrong, talked him through my general diet, and watched him rolling around on the carpet, helpless with laughter. The scales told the horrible truth. He sent me away with simple, strict instructions and a weekly spreadsheet to fill in and send back to him.
And, Dear Reader, I am now finishing up Week 15. Plenty of weight lost, plenty to go. And (amazingly) I’m running pretty well again and always eager to get my shoes on. In spite of everything I’ve completed 800+ miles and – much more importantly – maybe I now have a lifetime template for healthy eating and enjoyable running. We’ll see. Check back this time next year by which time, surely, we’ll be back racing again.