Day Dot

I remember clearly when I mentally committed to start running. I was obese, newly single, and had everything to prove to the world.

And… I’m going to start running

Frankly, I think I only said it to get a reaction. I was desperate to prove to her that I wanted to change. From the moment it came out of my mouth, I knew I’d remember I had said it, and I knew I’d hold myself to it too. Conversations wholesale: I forget them; but sometimes the most innocuous, meaningless comment will stick with & influence me for the rest of my life.

“That’s cool. You don’t really need to lose any weight though.”

Well that wasn’t true. I’d sailed past ‘obese’ on the BMI scale, weighing 15st 3lbs. The gains weren’t stopping either, and nor had they been for the last ten years. I was in denial about that, and a lot of things, but finally someone had found a way to hold a mirror up to me. I hated what I ‘saw’.

“You should go around the Uni. Maybe you’ll meet a nice girl when you’re out jogging”. I don’t think I even processed that one. I wasn’t interested in someone new. I was doing this for myself.

At least I knew I wasn’t totally averse. I happily ran miles in the Cub Scouts and took it home with me by using a cycle computer to work out how many times around my neighbourhood was equal to a mile (3½ ish. Tight turns too…)! Even when I was beginning to get fat, I was the only person I can think of who didn’t hate cross country.

“Well you can’t really run up behind joggers and just start conversations with them, can you?” I heard exasperation in the absence left by her lack of reply.

My negativity was hard to bear but — maybe for the first time — I was using it; using it to start something positive. She probably didn’t realise. Nor did I.

As I was recklessly streaming this ‘plan’ from my head to my mouth, I found myself realising that I had no idea where to start. I had no barometer.

I’ve always done my fair share of walking, but I was devastatingly sedentary besides. One of the conclusions I came to was that I’d better buy myself a heart rate monitor. I was seriously scared I’d push myself too far!

The reason I thought that was because every time I played football, casually with friends, I would be on the verge of being sick. I even indulged myself once or twice.

Who cares where you start? Just start. Possible vomiting didn’t even register on the Richter scale of excuses to not do this. The seed was there, it just needed a little water. I was going to change.

My Dad had a pair of never-used Adidas trainers. They were not running shoes. They were the vacuous, unsubstantial, (D-List) celebrities of the trainer world. He bought them in America. They were as clumpy as fuck, so they suited me. Maybe in Florida state, Dad was some kind of pimp, but everyone in Woking wore shit like that.

With those trainers, and the same tracksuit bottoms and t-shirt I would normally wear for a hardcore session butchering a packet of biscuits, I could start tomorrow. I’m not 100% sure of the timeline, but there’s a good chance that I quite literally did.

“ ”

I honestly don’t remember a single other thing we talked about that night. I only saw her one more time after that. And then I ran, and I ran.