So this morning at 6:30 I sprang quietly from my bed, full of optimism and confidence. I drank my customary two glasses of water, started the C25K app on my phone and walked out of the flat.
"HI THERE AWESOME RUNNER! GREAT DECISION TO RUN TODAY!" rang out through the corridors as I struggled to untangle the wires of my earphones. Eventually I got the things plugged in and sauntered up the hill to my starting point.
This morning's mission - 35 minutes of running. I had my plan of campaign. I would essentially follow Wednesday's route - which introduced circuits of Place Monteil - with the addition of circuits of the road between the swimming pool cross-roads and the Pape Clement crossroads. In this way I should be able to achieve 35 minutes of running, approximately 5 kilometres, without looking too much like a madman on the loose.
And all went well. The skies were grey but the birds were singing. It was warm so I unzipped my danger fleece and pulled off my hat. Up, down, round, back, forth. Yes, I have this.
Then I reached 30 minutes of running and off they went:
"You said 5K in 30 minutes by Easter. It's Good Friday and we've run 30 minutes. That's our side of the bargain done. If you haven't covered the whole distance you can't hold us to blame."
I never knew my legs were so articulate, but those limbs can argue, I can tell you.
"Feel that? That's the start of those shin splints that Mark told you about. You're getting them. Better go home!"
It wasn't. I didn't.
"Isn't it time for tea and porage? You love those oats, don't you."
I allowed the thought of the creamy goo to encourage me onwards.
"Ha! A chest pain! Did you feel that? You'll end up all white and lifeless at the side of the road."
It wasn't and I didn't. By this time I decided to retaliate.
"Shut up, you two. You're like the legs of a five-year old!"
"We're tired! Carry us!"
Anyway, though this struggle was annoying, it passed the time and now I had to slow down and walk. I'd done it!
"CONGRATULATIONS! YOU'RE NOW A 5K RUNNER!" triumphed the chirpy lady. Technically it would have taken another couple hundred yards to fully complete 5K of running but I daren't risk a mutiny from my hind-limbs so I called it a day.
Wow! Up until January 23rd I had occasionally run for the bus. Perhaps 45 seconds maximum. On March 25th I have run 35 minutes.
I am not swift or supple.
I am not elegant or athletic.
But I am, indeed, a 5K runner!
(And so is Patricia. She just made it home.)
Now for the future I plan to just do 30 minutes, three times a week, using the "Map my run" application to track my distance and my speed in the hope of gently increasing.