My relationship with exercise
My relationship with exercise is quite a turbulent one. I'm either fully devoted, with no eyes for anyone else, or I'm completely uninterested. Like no thanks, not today, nada. I have written recently about how I have found balance in other areas of my life, but exercise is the one area I can't seem to crack.
I was that person in school who was always picked last for P.E. and I dreaded Wednesday afternoons because of it - my hand eye coordination isn't the best, so team sports were definitely not my thing. That being said, I was a dancer growing up, spending most Saturday's in an old musty hall learning new routines or trying to make pointe ballet hurt my feet less. In my later teens I joined a local cheerleading group and all the high jumps and getting thrown around in the air kept me fit and active without me really having to think about it.
Then I went to uni, and any thought of exercise completely left my mind. While some people on my course joined sports societies or got a membership for our campus gym, that wasn't the case for me and my housemates. I traded nights at cheerleading practice for pre-drinks and student nights and I bloody loved it. My high metabolism and spending lots of time on my feet at my bar job kept me slim (although of course I didn't appreciate it at the time!), and I had no desire to factor exercise into my busy life of boxset binge watching and hanging out with my pals 24 hours a day.
But when I left uni and got a graduate job that required me to sit down all day, every day, it wasn't long before I started to feel sluggish and not quite myself. That was when I fell in love with running - I started with the ace Couch to 5K programme, and within a couple of months I was running my first half marathon (slowly!) in London. Passing the finish line of the Royal Parks Half was the best feeling in the world and definitely gave me the racing bug - so much so, when January rolled around I signed myself up for the very first Yorkshire marathon.
Over the course of the next few years I ran two marathons and a couple more halfs too. My fitness levels were better than they had ever been and I was getting out for a run 3 or 4 times a week with ease. Not bad for the girl who was always picked last in P.E., eh?!
But then, well, I kind of just stopped. I'd ran so much that my joints were achey and I kept getting a recurring bout of the dreaded shin splints. I tried replacing running with other things - bootcamps, yoga, spinning - but nothing else really captured me in the same way. I got a new job that took up more of my time, and relaxed into a pretty sedentary lifestyle much easier than I'd like to admit.
Which is how I've ended up where I am now - a sporadic gym goer who likes the idea of exercising more often but can't quite find the balance between all or nothing. I know that having a regular exercise routine makes me feel better, not just physically but mentally too, so I know that I need to find something that works for me.
So when the lovely folks at the Vitality British 10K asked if I'd like to take part in the race, it felt like just the motivation I needed to get back into lacing up my trainers a few times a week. I'm not pushing myself for a speedy time with this one, and it won't be the furthest I've ever run, but I'm hoping that it will remind me why I love running. The time to think, the feeling of strength, the invincibility of runner's high - I want to remember how good it feels to be a runner again.
What is your relationship with exercise like? Have you found balance or are you a yo-yo exerciser like me?