Blisters are not normally a cause for celebration – for runners, or anyone else. But I have to admit to a considerable measure of satisfaction when I peeled off my socks after my first 10k and discovered one. There it was: my first blister. (Left foot, little toe, if you’re interested – and I’m guessing you’re not, so you’re spared a photograph – there’s no Instagram filter that can make that a palatable sight). A colleague who runs marathons has been entertaining me with horror stories of toe nails dropping off, etc, and compared to her I realise this is still tame, but even so ... Looking at my first blister, I felt that in my own way, I'd made it.
Granted, the fact that I had just run 10k probably had something to do with that feeling, but I have realised that for me, running is all about the little things. I very rarely run the same route twice, as I get bored quickly and I like to explore new places. This means that it’s difficult to compare the times or distances that I’m running. So many other things affect my pace, as well: the weather, what I managed to cram in for breakfast, the kind of day I’ve had. Don’t get me wrong, the first time I ran 5k in under 30 minutes, I was pretty chuffed. But a personal best isn’t going to happen every day. Normally I measure the success of a run in other ways: the view I’m rewarded with at the top of a hill; catching sight of a heron silently unfolding its wings; managing to overtake someone as I run laps of the playing fields. Sometimes just the act of lacing up my running shoes feels like a huge victory. Little things become big things and all of a sudden, you’ve run over six miles.
If you’d told me six months ago that I would be running that kind of distance, I would have laughed in your face. Which just goes to show how much can change in six months. Just before Christmas I went to visit a close childhood friend and was bowled over by how amazing she looked – she told me she’d been doing Weight Watchers and it really got me thinking. I have always loved food and I have tried not to confront the issue of my weight too often. It’s only since I started losing it that I’m realising how unhappy being overweight was making me. Or maybe it’s just that losing weight has given me a lot of things to be happy about: my passion for baking has been swapped for one for cooking much healthier food (same pleasure, but without the inevitable post-brownie guilt); I have discovered an unexpected kind of confidence that has seen me try new things for the first time (rollercoasters, cartwheels); and running, which has given me a different way to look at the world, as well as myself. So that’s what this blog will be about. Looking inwards and outwards, but with new eyes – and appreciating the blisters along the way.
Running 10k in Cornwall - I promised no photo of the blister!