Vanity is surely one of the strongest human emotions. It makes ordinary people do unnatural things. Plastic surgery, make up, expensive clothes. Sometimes, especially today, it seems that we’ll go to any length to satisfy the part of our vanity that wants us to look good.
My vanity “vice” is running. At least it used to be.
In my mid teens, I was growing rapidly, like any teenage boy does. I was pretty active (although at some point thought smoking was a good idea!), and I’d eat and eat and eat to support the growth in my body, and just because I was a teenage boy.
Didn’t matter what it was. Food would go in, for a net weight gain of zero.
Fast forward. In 2003, at the age of 29, my family and I moved to Sydney, so that I could start a new job there. I had just had a knee reconstruction, and I threw myself into my work, living in a small flat in a beautiful part of the world.
Didn’t matter what it was. Food would go in, for a net weight gain of about 8 kg in six months.
8 kg doesn’t sound too bad I suppose, but that’s the point where the vanity kicked in! I felt big and fat! I’m about 6 foot two, and the 94 kg that I was carrying at that time certainly wouldn’t have put me into the realms of obesity. But I did have some clothes that didn’t fit me any more, and I didn’t feel that I was living healthily. I felt soft.
And that’s how Vanity got me running. My knee rehabilitation called for a little running regardless, so I started going before work. Just 2 or 3 km at first, around the streets near our flat, and out around Sydney Harbour. I’d always enjoyed running, but had considered it “training” for other “real sports”.
Even then, and for the following seven or so years, running was just a hobby, used to keep my body from expanding! I dropped about five of those extra kilos, but I’d put them back on just as easily is my discipline waned for a little while.
In early 2010, almost on a whim, I decided to enter the great Ocean Road Marathon. I thought it looked like a good experience, ambling along that spectacular stretch of coastline, taking in the sights. After some brief googling, I devised a programme for myself in preparation. Since then, I had the running bug.
I’ll make some more posts about running training, that great Ocean Road race and whatever, but that’s how I got started. I am now an enthusiastic (but not that talented) recreational runner, and it’s no longer a vanity that drives me. I’ve come to love the sport, obsessing over it at times, working towards personal bests, and fitting my training in around life in general. To running super long distances, but far more than I used to, and loving every minute. I definitely feel healthy these days, and that extra weight (and a little bit more), is long gone.
It’s really good for those days when you just feel a bit down too, or when you are trying to work through something tough – work, marriage, kids all need contemplation!.
The really overly keen guys even blog about it.