whoever you want to be…

A Mid-Life Marathon Crisis, by Anne-Marie Flanagan

So, why now? I’m 48, a mother of three, and, by rights should probably be relaxing and enjoying my rather ‘matronly’ stature. I have certainly earned my large bosom. The reality is I am not enjoying it – or my body. I don’t like being overweight, I don’t like being fat.

There, I’ve said it.

All credit to anyone who loves their outward physique – whatever the size, but sadly, post-kids, I have never felt quite at home with mine. Show me a full length mirror and I run a mile. I generally avoid looking at myself and have been in denial about my size for 10 years or more. However, when I did get a glimpse in a shop window recently I had to look again. What on earth had happened to me?

But, sorry, I must stop there and change tack. This is not about – or was not meant to be another boring rant about diets and being slim. God knows I have read enough of them, and fallen for all sorts in the past.

This is about why I have acted completely out of character and put my name in for a half-marathon, in September.

That might not seem that strange to many people, ‘Is it your mid-life crisis?’ one pal asked. Maybe it is, but so what? (I could be doing something far, far worse….)

I am NOT a runner. I don’t even attempt to run for buses,  I know I’d look ridiculous with all that wobbling, but mostly it’s because I am unfit. To try and get on that bus with the passengers secretly laughing, and me, redfaced and wheezing – no way.

I was fit once and that’s why it is so hard now. You take so much for granted when you’re young don’t you?

At 18, I trained to be a dancer, long story but it didn’t happen (obviously). But I was fit then. I just didn’t know it.  I guess it’s like a lot of things – you don’t know what you’ve got until it’s gone.       

So, fast-forward to now. I have a million excuses as to why I put on weight and have still not shifted it.  I won’t bore you with them, suffice to say there are many unsympathetic people out there.

Life, however, can take its toll in different ways, physically, mentally, and often both.

Parenting hasn’t been easy for me, I have been on the proverbial ’emotional roller-coaster’, and frankly my body now bares the scars – both philosphical and literal.

I know a mother (I shall call her Sue)  who seems to have it all sorted – yes one of those.  Sue has four kids,  a caring, sharing husband, fulfilling job and manages to have that wonderful thing called ”me” time. She goes to netball and tennis clubs twice a week, socialises with friends and ok, yes, I guess I’m jealous.

Needless to say Sue is as slim now as she was pre-kids.

Me? Well I had kids and caved in really. The concept of ‘me’ time seemed ridiculous, and after a difficult birth and a challenging first baby also seemed impossible. In hindsight it probably wasn’t impossible –  and if I could help anyone in the same boat now I would point to Sue. Carve out that space for your needs early on, everyone – and mostly you – will benefit.

So, I may be a bit later to the party than Sue but am finally realising there is nothing wrong with taking time out for me but running?

Well, it’s a challenge and I do like a challenge. 

I managed to do the Moonwalk a few years back – but that was walking. Running is a whole different thing.

I decided to do it because the first ever half-marathon is taking place where I live in Ealing and, as the editor of the local website I was offered a place  – it seemed as if it was meant to be – how could I refuse?

It also gave me a bit of a light-bulb moment. I have tried so many diets in the past – lost a bit and then put it all back on again. Diets haven’t worked for me in the long-term. So there has been this realisation.. they will never work. 

It’s time to stop thinking fat, and start thinking fit. Oh, to have some more energy!

I don’t want to run for running’s sake – although I am beginning to see some of the benefits of being able to escape the house to ‘train’ when it all gets too much… I just want my old body back. The one that was fit and healthy – yes, and slim. 

So my journey begins – I started with some enthusiasm but an early injury  made me falter – but I’ve not given in.

Yes, I most certainly want to lose weight but something has shifted.  It’s not about how many stone I weigh anymore, it’s more about running for that damn bus.

The idea of a half-marathon currently seems ridiculous. I feel as though I am at the bottom of a steep mountain and can’t even see the top. But I don’t give in easily and you know what? I am going to do it.

And the good news – if I can do it – absolutely anyone can.

Wish me luck!My new trainers


6 comments on “A Mid-Life Marathon Crisis, by Anne-Marie Flanagan

  1. Curly H-C
    June 10, 2012

    Do it! Do it! Do it! Very best of luck.

    • annemarieflan
      June 12, 2012

      Many thanks – I currently need lots of encouragement as am not quite ‘in the zone’ (whatever that is) yet!

  2. Helen
    June 11, 2012

    Oh lots of luck! I can really relate to this and will be using exercise as a way of shifting those pounds as I am never going to go ‘on a diet’ again. Cutting down, eating healthily – yes. But no more diets and lots of exercise. It also makes you feel happier. Win- win!

    • annemarieflan
      June 12, 2012

      Thanks. Yes – when younger I could lose weight easily- just by cutting back a couple of days etc.. my metabolism has totally changed now and diet alone will not do it. That’s why I think a shock to the system is needed – running will certainly do that!

  3. Denise Scarbro
    June 12, 2012

    Very inspiring! Yes, you CAN do it….we ALL can! Love it!

    • annemarieflan
      June 12, 2012

      Many thanks – I will need lots of encouragement and currently am looking for that inner key (called motivation) – which I seem to have mislaid!

Comments are closed.


This entry was posted on June 9, 2012 by in Bea Family, Bea Healthy, Bea Sporty and tagged , , , , .
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