This is what I look like when I run. IN MY HEAD.

Back down from the mountain – getting fit in preparation for some new adventures

Coming home from Eryri was poignant; I’ve missed the mountains and wanted to stay up there a while, on the slopes, ridges and peaks, in the mountain air. I love the feeling of rocks beneath my hands and feet, love the way rock clings to its temperature, solidly cold or resolutely warm. My years of sailing have meant rocks are demonised in favour of an intact hull – watch out, a rock! But I live on a rock, it’s our foundation. I also love to move over the hills, every step carefully taken. As my children fell in love with the mountains, I realised how much hiking and adventuring is a part of me that I’ve had to give up over the last few years.

Now I want to take my children on some of the wonderful journeys I’ve enjoyed. I want them to know the joy, and to know me. But before I can take them on any more demanding hikes, I need to get fit.

If I want to take my family adventuring safely, I need to be able to carry a child down a hill, or tow a tired swimmer across a bay. I need to be fit enough to exercise for 5 or 6 hours and still be a cheerleader. 

Before I had children, I routinely ran five miles in 32 mins (never broke that 30 min barrier!), swam a mile in 30 mins (breaststroke), and weighed about 115 lbs (BMI 20). Since then, I’ve had three pregnancies and a series of injuries/ops, and now I’m nowhere near as fast or strong. I’ve also put on weight (BMI 22.5).

Since my job pays me to sit and write all day, slurping coffee and dunking biscuits, this means I have to make a special effort to get moving. (Moving and possibly not eating the Oreos.) So today I did my first proper, non-stop run since my last op:

2 miles in 17 minutes (240 foot elevation).

If I’d come back feeling great, I’d be slightly reassured by that time — it’s not good but it’s not desperate either. However, I came back with sweaty eyeballs, feeling like I’d been stabbed (my surgeon said that I couldn’t hurt myself by exercising, but I might feel like I’d been kicked in the stomach by a horse. Turns out he wasn’t kidding).

Swimming — I’ve yet to time myself but last month I swam a 42:50 mile (admittedly my weakest moment health-wise), which is lousy. I’ve healed a lot since, though, so I’ll have another go. Maybe aim for a 41-minute mile. (Really, 30 min.)

When I started this post I was going to write about how I’m burning with energy, how I can’t wait to get started and am really looking forward to this strong and exciting-blah-blah stage in my forty-something life. (Forty-five is the new twenty-five?) How revoltingly smug — how very social media — would that have been. But I’ve just done the run now and need to concentrate on breathing, so I’m going to abandon my blog and go and faceplant with a large wedge of Brie, until the sweat stops sticking my face to the floor, or school phones to ask why I haven’t picked up my children.

I might never blog about this again.

Image attribution.

(I’m not giving up. I’m hoping that eventually I’ll get everything done and it will all look a bit inevitable, or effortless, and people will say, “Oh, you’re so lucky!” at my successes, and not realise how many times I fell on my face, or got it all wrong, or made a sweaty fool of myself.) 


    • TU says:

      I have several friends doing 0-5k and others who run marathons, who invite me to do 5-6 miles with them. It feels like everyone is running now, which is a good thing. Oof, though.

    • TU says:

      Thanks, I think my kids need me to do this, so it’s just a matter of ignoring my body and forcing it to go faster and eat less till we’re there. I remember what it feels like to be properly fit so I know it’s worth the effort. Ugh, though. It’s Day 2 as I’m writing this and I have very little enthusiasm… (although thankfully no ill effects from the first run so can keep going). It’ll be nice when it’s done!

  1. susanlanigan says:

    Sounds great, Tracy. My goals are more modest than yours, I just try to get in five sun salutes every morning. Been doing it about a fortnight now and I do notice a subtle difference! Good luck and enjoy the adventures with the smallies.

    • TU says:

      Ooh, sun salutes on a mountain, at dawn… that would be a combination. I’ve yet to test out my ability to do abdominal stretches (had 3 abdominal ops) so haven’t tried yoga or surfing for a while. I’d love to go somewhere remote and do it though, camping and hiking, get up in the morning and do yoga outdoors. Maybe next summer!

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