I ventured back to the gym last week, after several years hiatus, as they have now reopened following the latest coronavirus lockdown. I’ve been running outdoors for a while but a combination of apathy and illness meant my mileage for 2021 has been relatively low. There were days I could barely tackle a flight of stairs, let alone a 10K braving the Northern Irish elements.
It hasn’t changed much. Some of the equipment was off-limits to ensure social distancing was maintained and we were regularly reminded over the PA system to regularly wash our hands and clean down equipment after use. One thing remained the same, however. The pain of getting back on the treadmill after a long time away from it. Nothing had changed in that respect. Nothing.
After an hour I was a sweaty, undignified mess. You’ll see no smiley, glowing post-workout selfies on this page. I staggered back to the changing rooms exhausted but proud that I had faced a personal demon that has been niggling away at me for some weeks now. The fear of failure, of undoing years of hard work and losing all the gains I had battled to secure and maintain. Day 1 was over and I’d survived.
I’m now up to Day 3 and each time it gets a little easier. Easier to face up to, at least. It will always be a slog but the feeling of achievement after kicks any lingering feelings of self-doubt and anxiety to the curb. I may never run a 3:30 marathon again but I’m determined not to let the pounds creep back on. Running is a bit like writing or anything else for that matter. You fall off but you get back in the saddle. Over and over again.