I set myself a challenge in 2019 to do a 365-day running streak. On New Year’s Day I pulled on my trainers with a goal of running a minimum of one mile each day for a year. By the end of January I’d clocked up 102 miles so readjusted my goal to do 100 miles a month. So far so good.
Throughout the year there were good days (running the Sherry Half Marathon in Jerez put some extra miles in the bag) and some not so good days (going on safari in Kenya in July proved tricky as, obviously, hitting the road where wild animals abound isn’t ideal)!
However, by the end of the year I’d amassed a grand total of over 1,300 miles, worn out several pairs of running shoes, and was probably the fittest I’ve ever been. Not bad for someone who’d turned 50 in the summer.
I planned to scale down my running activity in 2020 – daily was just too much to keep up and I’d achieved what I’d set out to do. In any case I was still walking around five miles a day (one of the perks of living in Spain and working in Gibraltar meant that I regularly hit my 10,000 steps by lunchtime thanks to doing the border crossing on foot).
Naturally, no one could have predicted what happened next. In mid-March we went into lockdown and, as far as my fitness was concerned, it was more or less game over.
Lockdown in Spain meant that, until May, there was no opportunity to get out of the house even for an hour’s exercise. My Fitbit went into shock – from an average of 20,000 steps a day throughout 2019 I was suddenly doing much less than that over the course of a week.
Of course, the inevitable happened – lack of exercise combined with rediscovering a love of baking means that I’m now left with an excess of the dreaded lockdown lard combined with the horror of a perimenopausal muffin top.
It’s great that we’re now on the road to the new normal. The main drawback is that summer in Andalucia is just so hot that, unless I get up and out early before the sun gets into its stride, I’m avoiding exercise and just lounging around fanning my hot flushes. I also left my job just before lockdown so I don’t even have the daily border crossing to keep me active.
I’m on the slippery slope to moving up a dress size – my clothes still fit (just) but I’m inching (no pun intended) ever closer to the stage where I no longer need a belt, and elasticated waists are looking like a much more comfortable option.
I’m essentially pretty lazy (last year’s running streak was a freak one-off and lockdown life has been much more my cup of tea) but I’m so far beyond the Special K ads of the 70s (trust me, I can pinch way more than an inch) that enough is enough. It’s time for action. With the amazing Mediterranean diet on my doorstep, combined with the spectacular Andalucian great outdoors, I should have no excuse not to be able to shift a few pounds which is why I’m making myself accountable with this blog. Even if nobody reads it, the fact that I’ve written down my intentions ‘should’ be enough to spur me into action.
But first, I’m off to Portugal for a week where I’ll probably eat my body weight in pasteis de nata.