Tuesday, 5 November 2013

In praise of mediocrity

"Most people don't workout and then feel sad about it you know" The Person says to me when my downcast face appears in the kitchen after another hard workout.

I then take him through all the exercises that I wasn't able to do. Mostly because the woman doing the exercise workout is a ballet dancer who appears to have legs the length of my front room and can dislocate her hips at will.

"You are literally the only person I know who works out and then beats herself up about it. You can't be perfect at everything you know."

I have decided he is right...

I can't run a very fast 10km.

(In fact at the moment I can only run 3km.)

I have the flexibility of an arthritic 80 year old.

I can't do 'normal' push-ups.

(In fact I struggle to do the 'girl' push-ups.)

I use baked bean cans instead of normal hand weights and sometimes those are too heavy for my puny arms.

I could be one of those people who works out until I vomit. I could be one of those people who goes out and tries to beat every run that she's done before. I could be one of those people who says "No pain, no gain."

I could be one of those people who reads other people's fitness posts on blogs and then feels like complete crap about herself because she'll never be that fast/strong/toned etc etc....No. Wait a minute. I am one of those people.

But being that person makes me terribly unhappy and the boyfriend is right, it really isn't normal to feel bad after doing a workout because you suddenly realise that you're not Mo Farrah/most other people you know who run 10km races.

And so, instead of finishing the workout and beating myself up that I could only do three quarters of the leg raises before having to stop and call the stupid, smiling, dancer woman in legwarmers a bitch, I shall finish the workout and give myself a high five for working out until my arm and leg muscles ache - it's not my fault that they ached so early on, turns out I'm not as fit as a fitness instructor. I shall give myself a high five for even doing one leg raise - that's one leg raise more than I would have done if I'd come in and sat on the sofa in front of the TV all night.

I will delight in my mediocrity. I don't want to be the "best I can" at running. I want to be able to do a bit of running and not die during/immediately after. I want to work up a bit of sweat, not throw up the contents of my stomach. Most importantly I will stop calling it cheating if I have to walk during a run - because that shit is crazy.

And now, if you will excuse me, I need to go and mentally throw darts at the face of that stupid, smiling dancer woman in the legwarmers.


  1. Oh my fucking god, this. I don't want to do the Tour de France, I just want to enjoy cycling to work, save money and not be over weight. Your awesome. Welcome back. Don't leave me.

  2. That's 2.9km more than me you can run by the way. ;)

  3. Maybe you need a slightly more "normal" fitness instructor? Also, I would kill to be able to walk 300m without keeling over. Remember, you are keeping your body strong to be able to do the things you want it to, you are not a professional sports person who needs it to do crazy stuff, you are a normal person, trying to do the best you can to keep your body in working order. When you feel yourself start to beat yourself up about what you can't do, think about what you can do. Your body is getting you to the gym, it is getting you to your class, it is letting you do leg lifts and stretches and walking and even running. What a miracle that is. Rejoice in a working body!

  4. You've probably seen the quote that says something like "it doesn't matter if you run slowly, you're still lapping everyone on the couch" (I think I've mangled that, but you get the idea). Well, I'm the person on the couch. I wish I was the person running slowly, or not very far, but I'm not, because I suffer from idle-itis. But you don't. What you're doing is great. Be proud of yourself.

  5. Hear hear!!! Well said! I have terrible flexibility and I used to feel bad about this during my dance classes as a child that I just couldn't do things that all my other class-mates could do and I really did feel useless about it. But I should have thought, "I always tried my hardest and I was there doing it. Who cares if I wasn't the best!)x

  6. I don't think I could do one leg raise - in fact I'm not 100% sure what a leg raise is (I'm serious!)
    You work out - you're 1 million % fitter than me.

  7. Hello again! I am actually the other way round. The anticipation of how hard exercise will be makes me fear it and put it off, but when I do it I feel really good. Even when I only managed to run for 15 minutes and if I'm being completely honest slowed to a walk twice during that time. Those endorphins really do their job on me! Now if only I remembered that bit when trying to persuade myself to go to the gym!

  8. As long as you do your best you should never be disappointed in yourself! Lovely to see you blogging again :)

  9. I was managing to run 3k then I got a cold and haven't run for 6 weeks so it'll be back to the beginning for me. And I've never been able to do even girlie push ups so don't you worry about that. Who needs it anyway. Glad you're back.

  10. ps. Saw these a while back and thought of you but never got round to emailing you: http://hobby.uk.com/crafts-hobbys/3d-cross-stich-models/christmas-tree-large.html

  11. Lovely to see you blogging again, I have missed your posts! Even if it is *only* 3km, that's 3 more than me!

    Maria xxx


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