Pulsating legs are never a good sign.



I’ve been running. Trying to get fit. Ibiza in August, you see. Needed to drop almost two stone! I was 13 stone 11 pounds and I wanted to get down to 12 stone. Those are my legs in the pic. Don’t know why I was wearing purple socks. I don’t even own any purple socks. Anyway, I started running regularly in April and have kept it up (except for a few occasions when it was either too wet or too cold or there was too much weather or whatever excuse I could think of…) When I started, I could do ten lengths of the rugby pitch near where I live followed by a dramatic ambulance ride to intensive care. I reckoned that after three weeks of running three times a week I should start to see a difference; I should be gasping for air and turning crimson less, I should be adding more lengths of the pitch to my total. I was wrong.

After three weeks, I actually felt worse than I had felt on week one! This is the point at which I normally give up; the pain barrier. And I did give up. End of story. No, I actually carried on. I thought that maybe there would be a difference after week four. Nope. Still turning crimson, still gasping like Darth Vader with a heavy cold. And now, in addition, I had agonising pain in the lower backs of my legs (is there a anatomical term for those? Legsobackimus?). But did I give up? Yes. End of story.

Well, I only gave up for a week until my legs stopped pulsating. Pulsating legs; never a good sign. Then I started up again expecting to find some tiny indication that all of this was having some… any kind of effect on my pain-riddled, throbbing, apology for a body. Anything would do! A slight reduction in hyperventilation! A lessening of the need to thrash about on the ground clutching my throat! The absence of that stitch that always appears after about four lengths and lasts till the following Tuesday, about dinnertime. Any of these would be a sign that this was worth persevering with. None of them happened.

This week though, after doing eight (ish) weeks of running three (ish) times a week, I felt, for the first time, a slight difference. At the sixth length, I was still gasping and clutching my throat and writhing in agony with a stitch but then… something happened! The agony got a bit less. I felt like I could carry on running for a little longer. The pain reached a sort of plateau; it was still there, but it wasn’t dominating me anymore. I carried on running and managed to do 32 lengths of the pitch. I know that’s still rubbish (probably only a couple of miles) but compared to the ten lengths I was able to do when I started it was a big improvement. At last! It’s starting to happen.

Two days later I was rushed into hospital with a massive heart attack. Unfortunately, I died and nobody came to my funeral. No, just kidding. I’m fine and continuing to  run, continuing to go through the agony week in week out even though the improvements are tiny and slow in coming. It’s weird how, because the rewards are tiny and slow in coming, they mean so much more when they do come. I’ve learned something about pain, about perseverance, about breaking habits (my chosen sport used to be lying down), and about establishing new ones (I still quite like lying down though). I’ve lost eight pounds in weight and I might even get a bit closer to my target before going to Ibiza in August where, no doubt, I’ll put the whole ****ing lot back on.


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