A Mayathon experience … from a reluctant runner
Posted: Mon, 18 May 2020 10:08
The Mayathon challenge has got off to a great start and we have seen so many of you getting involved in all different ways that suit you and your buddies. Casey Dunlop, the Active Medicine Programme Manager for Active Oxfordshire, Get Berkshire Active and Leap shares her Mayathon journey at the halfway point:
I wouldn't call myself a "sporty" person. I think I could count the number of times I've walked into a gym on my fingers. And you wouldn't want me on your team for a sports quiz.
But I do love rock climbing. Ever since I arrived at university and discovered indoor climbing, it has been my thing. I loved that it was social but not competitive, I could stay warm and dry no matter what the weather, and that it didn't cost more than a gym membership.
But beyond anything else, I loved that it needed your complete and undivided attention which has been great for handling my anxiety – there's no thinking about anything else when you're 40ft up a wall. You completely zone in. It's a slightly surreal hyper-focus that gives you a break from everything else, helping put things back into perspective, and lasting long after you leave the wall. I think that's why climbing has stayed a constant no matter what town or city I've lived in.
Until now. Lockdown has taken my rock wall away. Over the past few weeks I've started to feel the that anxiety building. I've lost my much-needed zone out mode. I've done some online fitness videos, some cycling, some gardening but I hadn't really found anything yet that replaces that feeling.
I want to love running. I've had an on/off relationship with it for a while. The first time I really tried it was for pure practicality - I was commuting into London, working for a charity and trying to avoid paying for the tube on top of an expensive train ticket. It was a tough introduction to running but it did hit the spot.
Mayathon – the activity challenge of 26 minutes activity every day for 26 days. I've buddied up with my best friend living in Wales (a super runner) to spur me on. I'm aiming to run for 26 minutes, same route, every other day and fill the days in between with strength exercises on my yoga mat.
Day 1 Friday – Run. 6:30 am. The only thing I can think about is why someone would voluntarily move from horizontal to vertical to start running. I don't want to go. I snooze my alarm more times than I care to mention. Running kit and knackered trainers are eventually donned. I haven't showered or brushed my teeth. The run feels long and painful. I send my buddy a monkey emoji on the Mayathon app as a boost after I'm done. Hilarious.
Day 3 Sunday – Run. Only 3 alarm snoozes later I'm up. I've pulled on a used top on without realizing but if I turn back up the stairs now, I may not go. I hope I don't run too near anyone, thank goodness for social distancing. I have the Spotify Cardio playlist turned up full volume to get me going. Run feels even harder due to still achy legs. But coffee taste extra good when I get home.
Day 5 Tuesday – Run. In my sleep ridden state I've accidentally put a pair of trampolining socks on from my nephew's 4th birthday party. At the time they looked like sports socks. What I didn't consider was the plastic buttons on the bottom. I now have 5 perfectly circular blisters neatly running up the inside of my foot. Fabulous. Up until then it was a good run – no stopping!
Day 7 Thursday – Run. Agreed to do a longer run with my partner instead of by myself. He agrees not to comment on how slow I jog; how sweaty I get or how red I turn in the face. Good bits - we explore an area of Shotover country park I've never seen before and get right into the countryside. Bad bits - the run turns into over 1hr with lots of stopping, complaining, and crossing 4 lanes of traffic on a dual carriage way to get home.
Day 9 Saturday – Run. As soon as I get this run over with there will be pancakes. During the run I've realised I'm running more using my right leg more than my left so start experimenting with different running styles to balance it out. Shorter strides, longer, bouncier. I have no idea what I'm doing. If you see someone passing their phone from one hand to another that's me. Run is starting to feel easier now.
Day 11 Monday – Run. I've slept in and failed at doing my morning run. I have an internal battle all day about going but I can see my buddy has done their activity already. I don't leave until it's about to get dark and only because I've told too many people about Mayathon. I feel sluggish and slightly angry. All in all, not a great day. Note to self, run in the morning.
Day 13 Wednesday. Run. Today was a good day. It's still very tough to get up and out the door, with much snoozing. But once I start running, I can feel my pace and breathing is getting steadier. My music at maximum volume is, I've decided, a must despite what everyone I pass must be thinking. I picture my breakfast the whole way around. I'm Half-way!