Earlier this year I took up running. When I say running I mean jogging fairly slowly on a treadmill, since I have knees that make very odd noises when I do things like walk down stairs or bend down to pick things up. Creaky knees. They’ve been bad for years and I’ve always used them as an excuse to avoid any physical exertion. One day I decided to ignore them, bought proper shoes, and got myself on a treadmill, figuring that the shock absorbers in the machine would give me a hand.
And so it turned out. And of all things, it also turned out that I liked running. I went from being knackered after a minute, to running for 25 minutes without trouble. You’d think I’d conquered it, wouldn’t you?
So I stopped going. My husband began to make noises about the ‘stupidity tax’ I was paying to the gym. My trainers reproached me whenever I moved them around the shoe house and I shoved them to the far end where I wouldn’t have to touch them. I felt my successes draining away from me, my stamina receding back into the sofa.
And then, after a two month break, I started running again. I felt like a beginner again, true, but the improvement was faster this time, and I felt I could push myself to do more. I knew I could do more. I had my past success to draw on, knew what it felt like to push my body forwards for just another “thirty seconds”. I’m covering 5K again, and I think I might want to do a race.
Lately I’ve been sitting down to do a writing exercise every night. I feel much better once I’ve done it, though my fingers are still creaky. But it’s getting easier to make the words come, and I know I can do more. All I have to do is keep showing up.