Running from Zombies

How 5km changed my life

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It was one of those questions which should have been answered with either “No, thanks,” or “No, are you completely mad? Do I look insane to you?” Instead, I said “Yes, sounds like fun”. One of my friends, we can call her the fitness nerd, had invited me to run a 5k race. This was part of her training for one of those 10k runs where you have to climb 10 foot obstacles and crawl in mud. It wasn’t any regular old 5k. This one involved being chased by zombies and running in and out of caves.

I should add that my general state of fitness wasn’t good. Despite being a county-level sprinter in my youth, I’d never intentionally run more than 800 metres in my life. I’d try, and I’d start, but I’d give up without actually running anywhere close to 5k. I knew that I could walk it in just over an hour, or drive it in 5 minutes. I was in a bit of a pickle as I’m a naturally competitive person, but I was in no shape to run any distance at all. My exercise regime was non-existent unless you count the 30 day New Year’s yoga resolution where I’d barely managed to complete 12 days…

I had agreed to run with her because she needed some support, I’m a good friend and I thought that something would turn up like a freak accident where I broke an ankle or something while stepping onto a curb. The weeks passed and worryingly there was no sign of any accident that would prevent me from running. The standard Couch to 5k was no good as that takes a couple of months and I didn’t have that much time. Also, I’d tried it before a few years ago and the plan worked okay right up until it didn’t and I gave up.

With five weeks to go, and still no accidental injuries, google came to my rescue with the 5 weeks to 5k plan from the Great Run I joined my local sports centre so that I could run on a treadmill. This was key as it was close to my house, and it wasn’t a fancy gym where you’re constantly being hassled to sign up for things by aggressive ‘trainers’. The program worked a treat. I especially liked the rest days. I went from hardly being able to run to clocking up 33 minutes for 5k. I had really impressed myself.

The day of the race arrived. I was ready to smash my treadmill time, and… it was cancelled because of the weather. I was raring to go, but had no race to run because the zombies didn’t fancy the Beast from the East that was terrorising the UK that weekend. I was relieved and disappointed in equal measure.

I don’t mean to go all Tony Robbins on you, but the significance of finally being able to do something that I’d never been able to do before was huge. It gave me a ridiculous amount of confidence in lots of other areas of my life. For example, training our rescue dog, setting up a new business, learning new skills and even starting weight training. My thinking was that if I can teach myself to run 5 km then I can do anything. I even said “Yes” to climbing Mount Snowdon with my daughter and her rugby team without any misgivings or silent prayers for minor injuries. Who knew that saying yes to being chased by zombies would open so many doors!

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