Running, not counting the miles

I’ve always had a funny relationship with distances. My boyfriend is very good at running marathons and is now experimenting with ultra-distances. He finished the London marathon in a fantastic shape, crossing the line well under the 4 hour mark. He has friends in his canicross group who refer to 8km distances as beginners’ runs.

Then there’s me: little running wannabe me, who repeatedly signs up to the London marathon but – thankfully – never wins an entry. Me who saw the pictures of a 6k event I did last year and realised I looked like death. Long distances are hard, and anything over 5k means surpassing my comfort level.

So imagine my surprise when this weekend I found myself running over 7km, and only realising I’d done so because my thighs hurt for the rest of the day. My fitness app, the one iPhones come with… the one with the little heart icon, informed me it was a perfect 5km run. However, my body kept telling me that something was amiss. On Sunday I decided to cover half the route with one of my dogs, this time using the endomondo app. Lo and behold, I got home and the app told me I’d done around 4km. More interestingly, the “heart app” – how’s it called?! – confidently claimed I had done 2.5km. So there you have it, an app was underselling my performance.

The moral of this story? Apps are assholes. No, not really, but mostly, what I take from this experience is that I run more than 7km!!!!!!! ME! Little wannabe runner, ME! Chronically ill, perpetually bleeding me! – yes, I have been randomly bleeding for 5 days now, it’s become the new fun symptom I am dealing with every month, wohooo!

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This made me smile, shared by Shirley Manson of Garbage, via Garbage’s instagram.

Yes my thighs hurt, yes all I accomplished that day was doing one laundry load and knitting whilst practically falling asleep watching Mad Men. My exhaustion also clouded my judgment and I made poor Netflix choices such as Margot At The Wedding – what was it with all of those passive-aggressive characters?! – which I lacked the strength to finish.

The thing is, focusing on distances, can be a hindrance. It can make you feel inadequate very easily. I just have to listen to any of the conversations between my boyfriend and his running mates to instantly forget my accomplishments and start nit-picking at everything I do right.

I liked that I reached this distance by surprise: the only reason I went on running was because the little dog I had with me was full of beans, riding a natural high because it was sunny and it smelt of bunnies everywhere. My dog looked at me at every turn, egging me on and so, on and on we went.

It was an unplanned achievement. It doesn’t mean that going over my usual 5km run is my new target, or that I see myself as a 7k runner. It happened by chance, and if it happens again, I’ll try to do a little victory dance, even if my thighs hurt, possibly buy a t-shirt that says “mega-badass”, and stop forgetting my achievements at the drop of a hat. I wonder what makes me do that. Is it a women’s thing? A runner’s thing? Answers on a postcard 😉