Could I really run a marathon? That was the question I pondered to myself after watching some of the London Marathon last weekend. I didn’t think so – I know I certainly couldn’t run 26 miles at the moment and I doubt very much I would be able to do it by next year. I would struggle to run much more than 26 minutes, to be fair.
So I set about Googling, and I Googled assorted daft questions like, “Can you walk the London Marathon?”
Apparently, you can. But you’re likely to incur the wrath of the running fraternity if you do, unless of course you’re dressed up as a giant teddy bear or something. It’s only OK to be slow if you are in a costume. Other than that, walking is seen as a bit of a cop out.
While I was Googling though, I came across the ‘Shine Marathon’, which is a full 26 mile walk through London. In the dark. I could do that, I thought, and of course I signed up, didn’t I? It’s in September so I’m training already and so far my longest walk has been 6.5 miles. I’ve got a long old slog in front of me as even six miles gave me blisters…I need better shoes! I’d love it if you’d sponsor me too…
I’ve had lots of thinking time on my walks so far and I’ve been writing blog posts in my head. And then forgetting them. It’s a bit hard writing them at the moment because I promised not to play the blame game, and it’s true, everything that’s happened has been because of the way I reacted to it. But 2001 really was a shit year. I forgot to mention that I got engaged in 2000, didn’t I? Well I knew he was going to ask me, L more or less told me so I took full advantage and made sure she knew the style I wanted and the ring size. L knew most things about my relationship before I did! We didn’t actually have a plan to get married, we just thought we’d do it when we had saved enough. And when I’d lost weight, naturally.
Remember when Atkins was all that people were talking about? That and the South Beach Diet which was just Atkins with a few more veggies thrown in. I tried Atkins for about two days and all the protein made me want to barf. I’m not a low carb kinda girl. I couldn’t really see how any diet that said fruit was a bad thing could be sensible anyway and had plenty of arguments about it on online forums.
In 2001, after being booted out of the job I loved, I went back to work in the design agency where L was now working. This was a BAD move. I’d worked there before and quite liked it, only for about six weeks and as an assistant project manager, so I did quite a few interesting things. When I went back I was depressed, still in shock from being made redundant like that and working as a print manager which was a steep learning curve to say the least. I wasn’t the cheery, happy “I’ll do anything” person I’d been a year or so before, and I didn’t want to be there.
The place seemed oppressive and image-obsessed, and I was the only fat person there. Some of the very well paid directors and account managers tottered around on designer kitten heels trailing clouds of expensive perfume behind them, and were so damn thin it made me feel like an elephant. With my confidence dropping through the floor, I didn’t really make an effort. It was a six month contract, and when it got to the end, they didn’t keep me on. There was no more work for me to do, I wasn’t really surprised, but it was the icing on the cake and I was out of a job properly now.
So, you’d expect that Husband #2 would have been supportive? Nah. He said I needed to pull myself together and sort myself out, blamed me for the fact I’d been dumped out of a job three times in 18 months and said (not for the last time) that I wasn’t the person he’d fallen for and that I seemed to attract bad luck.
I cashed in an old endowment policy (remember those?) and we managed to get by. I was only unemployed for six weeks or so, and I managed to get another job with the University of Cambridge, this time editing submissions for a website aimed at genius kids. It was only three days a week and the money was crap but it was better than benefits so I hauled myself into Cambridge and back (H#2 was still working in Cambridge) and did my bit. The only thing tht kept me going was chatting to the mate who rescued me from Spa Starvation Hell on MSN (from now on I’ll just call him my cheerleader) and the nuts woman I worked with…who was Portuguese I think, talked so fast I could only generally pick up one word in three, and was on some bizarre diet where she drank shakes and ate revolting smelling bars. Lighter Life!!
(This was H#2’s album of choice in the car. Just about summed up 2001!)
Just as things had settled down a bit, a couple of weeks before Christmas 2001, my Nan died. I was heartbroken – despite living 150 miles apart me and Nan had always been close. Christmas was rubbish – I had no money, H#2 was in a bad mood, the fridge broke on Christmas Day and the oven door broke between Christmas and New Year. I spent the whole of Christmas & New Year eating junk food to console myself and was getting close to 15 stone by 2002.
Husband #1’s words came back to haunt me; I once asked him “Would you still love me at 15 stone?” and he said, “Yes, but DON’T!”
I felt just about the size of a bus. I hated how I looked, and I was supposed to be a bridesmaid to L and P in 2002. I had to do SOMETHING.