A picture of a generic runner, just getting out there and doing it, not necessarily me. Good on you, keep it up.

Do you remember how much it hurt the first time?

As I lay flat on my back at the side of the pitch I was hoping for a few things as I felt my chest tighten more and more. First I was hoping it wasn’t going to get worse as a burning sensation had started to flare up in my lungs and seemed to be spreading pretty quickly. Second I was hoping no one was going to notice I was in a little bit of trouble. It had been around four or five minutes into the game until I had to retire to the side and was rather embarrassed at my non existent fitness, particularly as my enthusiasm pre-game had been the highest of everyone. At least if it had been a full half an hour, or maybe even twenty minutes I could still lift my head high even as concerned parties would crowd around me, further obstructing what little precious air was available, but four or five minutes of play was not even enough for a warm up. And that brings us to the final thing that was being prayed for at the side of the pitch that night and that was that it wouldn’t end with being loaded into an ambulance and my wife having to arrange babysitting at that late hour to accompany my side.

In the end an ambulance was not needed, thank God, and after a few puffs on the inhaler and a full fifteen minutes of struggling I was able to sit up and watch the rest of the match. It is true that I had bounded around those first four or five minutes like some sleek fit teenage machine, but still the pain I was feeling in my chest was not normal, and probably rather dangerous.

It was decided then and there, that if I survived that night, I would become healthy fit and slim. It was going to happen. Nothing was going to stop me. But relying on football was not the answer, it was too unpredictable if it would happen or not. I was going to need something that just needed myself to rely on, that would leave me with no excuses.

Now just so you readers out there know, I was never a fit young thing, always the slightly overweight non sporty type, the kind who would walk the cross country run at school at a slow gentle pace, not a runner. And now a couple of decades later, slightly overweight had grown into really rather fat actually, and walking up the stairs was sometimes quite a daunting task. But determined I was and nothing was going to stop me. That night at the side of the pitch it was decided I was going to become fit, I was going to become thin, I was going to become healthy.

That night at home, I stayed up late scouring the net for ideas. In my head running was the answer but I was skeptical of how I could do it. Did fat people run? Was it allowed? Were there any laws, man made or natural ones, that prohibited unhealthy, fat people from running? From my research it seemed like it was certainly possible and many sites were all pointing to the C25k program as a way to ease into it. It sounded good so as soon as I would recover, C25k was going to pave my way to fitness, health, glory and the world.

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