On Saturday Paul, Dawn and I did our first parkrun. parkrun is an awesome world wide concept that started at Bushey Park in London. Weekly free, timed 5km runs are arranged in local parks for anyone who wants to to participate. All you do is register and then scan your bar code to get a time.
Dawn and I have been doing 5km runs together lately, which is really fun and good for keeping up motivation, so it seemed like a great way to commune with some other runners and run somewhere different from our usual King George’s Park route.
Our closest parkrun takes place in Wimbledon Common, which is very much a wooded area with dirt and gravel paths. Up until Saturday I had only really ever run on paving or tarmac so I have to admit that leaping over logs, avoiding giant mud dongas and not tripping over stones added a whole new element to the run. Also running with that many runners (393 people finished) was also very different and the moment when the super quick serious runners lapped us was a bit of an eye-opener. While Paul shot off ahead and did a pretty good time, Dawn and I were a little slow but proud of ourselves for finishing and running the whole way. I would rather run the full 5km at a steady pace than shoot off and keep stopping to walk like a lot of runners were doing. After all we’ve only been running as far as 5km for two weeks.
But that’s not the surprising result… that is a whole other story.
We don’t own a scale in this house. I suffered from a mild eating disorder when I was in my early teens and after getting better I made a little agreement with myself that I wouldn’t be someone obsessed with size – mine or anyone else’s. And I haven’t been. I have cheerfully chubbed up and enjoyed my voluptuous shape. But then I watched a series on 4oD called Embarrassing Fat Bodies and it gave me a little fright.
Based on the weight I was the last time I was weighed, which was when I registered with my current doctor about a year ago, my BMI says that I am clinically obese. Now I don’t think BMI is infallible and apparently with people who are taller than average it has problems scaling, but obese isn’t just a bit “fluffy”, it’s dangerous. The more I watched the show and saw the legion of problems that lots of extra weight can cause every area of your body the more I got freaked out and every day that I tell myself I don’t feel like running I picture some of those poor very unwell people on the show and think, “Get your trainers on, love.”
I am not a massively unhealthy eater. I never eat fast food or anything fried and I eat a lot of vegetables but I am also a big fan of a cake (several cakes… twelve cakes… all the cakes) and not doing much exercise my whole life has definitely contributed to my unhealthy state. Because this is all about health… not shape, not size, health.
Recently several people have asked me if I’ve lost weight and I will admit that I have been having trouble keeping my jeans up but I just assumed that it might be one or two spare kilos that had I’d shaken off from the running. On Friday night I visited with our lovely friends Emily and Oli, who happened to have a scale in their bathroom so I decided to test my theory. It turns out that I’ve lost 8.4kg, which is one stone and 4 pounds for those of you who don’t understand metric measures (Although seriously, what the fuck is a stone? Surely the weight of the stone would be entirely dependent on the particular stone???). No wonder the jeans won’t stay up.
While I still couldn’t give a toss if I’m a size 2 or a size 22, I definitely feel like this is something very positive for my current and future health and a great motivation to keep running and shift those little BMI points a little bit closer to the healthy range.