I’ve been running since May. This is a big deal for me because I don’t usually stick to any kind of exercise and like to joke that I’m the anti-fit. My mum has owned a gym since I was 12, and though I used to train a lot when I still lived at home that was mainly out of boredom because what else are you going to do when you have to sit in a gym for hours after school every day? I’m now running almost every day, but I feel like I should be saying I’m a “runner” rather than a runner, and that I’m a bit of a fraud who goes out every morning in some fancy new running gear.

The main reason I feel like a fraud is that more than half of my “run” is a walk. I’m more walking interspersed with jogging, using the couch to 5K app that I should have reached 5k on months ago. I’m up to 3.4k every time I go out, with my longest sprint (ha!) being five minutes. I wish I was better at this, and feel likely surely I should be my now, but honestly that 3.4k just about kills me. I wake up wanting to get my shoes on and go - a completely new experience for me.

Here come the excuses: I have chronic asthma controlled by puffers, nasal rinses and sprays, and fairly regular courses of prednisone. My asthma has been worse since the pandemic began, which I’m attributing to the stress of it all, piled with the stress of the dissolution of my marriage, and absorbing all my children’s’ stresses. Being positive when I just want to curl up on the sofa and play Animal Crossing for hours on end is so damn exhausting. I also had my gallbladder removed in June, so that was fun, and then had to recover from that.

Shit-talking myself on this subject, I feel like I should be running further, and shouldn’t the weight have started to drop off if I was doing this properly?

On a good day though, I can see a difference. I’m getting fitter. When I started using the app, I could barely make it through the 30 seconds of running it demands of you in week one. The app tells me that since I started on May 4th, I have run 64 times for a total distance of 193.3k. I’m progressing because I haven’t given up, and that feels good!

I’m going out even in the snow (though of course it is only just starting to get cold in Nova Scotia so maybe it’ll be different when it gets to -15c). My number one running partner Coco, our eight-year-old Bernese mountain dog has never had it so good. I put my running shoes on and she goes apeshit, bouncing up and down by the door in anticipation. Because of her, I run every day on the trails in the amazing 100-hectare park we live by. (Forest bathing!) I’m glad I have her to run with because she motivates me to haul my arse out of the door, and I worry less about being attacked by some random man on the trails where nobody else is around when I head out (at sunrise or soon after).

How excited? And you get to hear the voice I use only for her.

Anyway, I’m a “runner” or a runner. I’ve bought myself some running gear that makes me feel a bit more like a runner when I put it on, and I’ve been looking at these fancy Goretex running shoes online because I guess like most activities, there is some pretty fancy gear to invest in if you choose. Maybe someday I’ll make it to 5k running all the way and maybe I won’t, but I know getting out in the fresh air for 40 minutes every day is helping my mental health right now, and my dog loves these daily jaunts.