It was the point at which I found myself running up and down the hill outside my house – just so that I could finish on a complete mile – that I began to realise that my love of exercise has reached new heights.
And it was in the bath not long after that I began to realise that there were actually tell-tale signs all over the house and in my life that I had, up until that moment, chosen to ignore.
Think you too may be a little too overexcited about a thing called exercise? Any of the following sound familiar?
- You have more bits of lycra in the laundry (bathroom, bedroom etc) than normal clothes.
- You feel nervous if your fitness watch hasn’t synced with your app to prove that you actually did some exercise (running without tracking isn’t actually running).
- You know more about the weather than the Met Office.
- You talk about the temperature outside in terms of how many layers you need on and whether or not gloves are required.
- You crave people giving you kudos (in the case of Strava) or liking your exercise session.
- Photos of you looking red and sweaty clog up your social feed (and that of others).
- You can recite your race PBs across all distances in an instant.
- You have a drawer reserved exclusively for free post-race T-shirts and charity tops.
- You get more excited about a new pair of trainers than a new pair of shoes.
- You have a kitchen cupboard dedicated to energy drinks, free goodie bag water and random (out-of-date in my case) high-protein snacks.
- You will run a very long way for a shiny bit of metal (or a supermarket shop and a mug if you complete the Kingston Breakfast Run).
- People sponsor you to stop talking about exercise, not for completing new challenges.
- You don’t eat, you fuel.
- You have a constant store of jelly babies (and you know just how many fit in the pockets on your clothes).
- Deep heat, freezing gels and painkillers frequently make an appearance on your weekly grocery shop.
- You actually enjoy reading about exercise (I am on to apocalyptic running novels now!)
- You get excited about adding music to your running playlist (Proud by M People, anyone?) and cry at the sound of the London Marathon music (it makes me well up, but I guess it was my wedding day).
- You look up running routes for holiday destinations (some hotels even print out maps).
- You keep a list of all your race numbers (please tell me I am not the only one to do this?).
- Your perfect day would have a run in it (followed by a mountain of cheese and bread).
- You have used the word ‘fartlek’ in polite company.
- You have turned a night out with friends into an exercise session (more on this later, but these are the musings of the woman who made 20 women run a 10k for her hen do).
- You get visibly excited at the prospect of christening your new diary (or calendar) with race dates.
- Your post-exercise routine involves many instruments of torture (foam rollers with nobbly bits, hard balls for under the feet, physio bands for strengthening and exercise balls for sitting on when the sofa is just too comfy). I also do squats when brushing my teeth, but I’ll admit that is a bit odd.
- You think writing blogs about exercise is a good use of leisure time (guilty as charged).
- An exercise session is only over when you have reached a complete mile/KM on your watch (as per my intro sentence).
26.2. You think it strange others don’t do any of the above (ok, I am slightly cheating with the number, but if point 26 resonates with you, you will see why it is essential I end on a recognised race distance).
So how did you do? I would say if you’re scoring less than five, then you have not yet discovered the real joys of exercise. And, if you’re scoring more than 20 (like me given this are all plucked from experience), you might need to find new friends (unless they all score the same).
It’s only when you sit down and think about the impact of exercise on your life that you realise how much it can change the course of your life. I know I’d be lost without races in the diary and times saved on my watch. I know a kitchen without jelly babies wouldn’t feel quite right.
And I know that every time I find myself running up and down the hill outside my house (a frustrating start and end I might add), I don’t feel stupid, I feel grateful for the legs that have carried me home.
May your exercise adventures give you 26.2 reasons to smile and may the above inspire you to take those adventures to a whole new level.
Jackie is currently trying to complete 2018 activity-based miles as part of a #Milesbetter2018 campaign, while encouraging 2018 people into exercise. To share your sweaty stories and meet a group of virtual cheerleaders to support you as you train, you can join #Milesbetter2018 on Facebook or Strava. Please use the hashtag on social media to celebrate your efforts and add to Jackie’s marathon list!