I am not what you would term a natural runner. I don't enjoy sweating especially, for one thing, or even really getting mildly out of breath. I don't have any of the gear and am painfully aware of how ridiculous I must look huffing and puffing along through the streets and parks of London wearing a dreadful pair of old tracky b's with “angel” emblazoned across the arse (thanks Mum) and wooly earmuffs, cos my poor wittle ears get cold. I go the colour of a tomato after a really quite gentle run, which doesn't fade for aaages and I'm sure the brazen London squirrels actually laugh at me.
All that devastating evidence of my skillz aside, I have a confession to make. I can tell you xoJaners, because I know you won't judge, but it is a troubling confession. I'm starting to worry that my obsession with all things bunny-related is becoming unhealthy, is leading me into making odd choices, making me do things that go against my usual good sense and inclination for self-preservation.
I have been lured by the temptation of bunnies to enter a 10k race, which takes place in March. 10 whole K, which I have never even come close to running, in a matter of weeks. I know you're wondering what this has to do with bunnies and so I will tell you. It's a bunny run – all entrants get a free bunny costume which they take part in and then keep afterwards as their very own.
A desire to get fit? Oh, barely. The mention of bunnies? Indubitably. A free bunny suit? SIGN ME THE HECK UP.
Oh dear. How can I have been so blinded by lagomorphic love that I would go against my very nature as a lazy cheese-scoffing layabout to sign up for a RUN?! I don't know how this has happened, but frankly I'm worried about the implications. What next? Taking up wing-walking because I've decided the shape of the plane's wings make it look like a lop-ear? Insisting my boyfriend run round my feet in circles every time I see him? An experimental and probably dangerous operation to give myself an actual rabbit tail?
Luckily, it is not all rabbit madness. The run is a fundraiser for disability charity Livability, so I can at least try and do some good with this whole hare-brained scheme – AHAHAHELP ME - by raising much-needed funds for them. If you fancy donating to them you can here: justgiving.com/KirstyMerryn
I tell you what though, now that I'm all signed up I'm actually, weirdly looking forward to it, and to the training process too. I did a tentative first run on Saturday and managed 3 ½ miles without too much pain. I've bought a Primarni sports bra (steady lads) and I've persuaded a few people to take part with me, including my boyfriend Felix and and xoJane's resident LAD Stuart, which means I have the frankly brilliant added incentive of getting to see them complete a 10k run dressed as sweet, little, fluffy bunny rabbits too.
I'm going to diarise my attempts to get ready for the run for xoJane, because for one thing I know that all of us want to see Stuart dressed in a bunny onesie (please oh please oh please let the “bunny suit” mean bunny onesie) but also because actually, running is something I do want to get good at. We'll see how long my good intentions and resolve lasts. But for now – this bunny is getting her run on.
A lunch time run round Battersea Park with two of my fellow bunny runners to kick off the training. (I looked up what a group of bunnies is called – according to Wikipedia it's a colony. FACT FANS) So me and some of the Livability colony go running. I mean, who is this person wearing my skin and choosing to go running in the cold at lunch? Since when did lunch time become a reasonable time for exercise?!
Anyway, sad thoughts of the tasty bagel waiting for me in my desk drawer aside, I am taking the whole thing jolly seriously; resplendent in shiny new Primarni sports bra and with matching tracky bottoms too – gone are the angel-arsed monstrosities, in their place are some all-the-gear-no-idea sexy black numbers with go-faster yellow stripes down the side. The top is actually rather revealing, which I hadn't anticipated, but I am not letting the extra flesh jiggling up and down put me off.
Felix is already showing me up, having burst off into the distance, running perfectly upright and loping like a majestic, blonde gazelle. I am by no means jealous of his superior technique and stamina, oh no. Danielle (another bunny) and I carry on at a slower, but perfectly respectable pace, and manage to add an extra mile to our run by getting distracted gossiping (I mean, isn't that always the way with them wimmin, eh?), which takes our run up to 4 ½ miles and around an hour in total.
I'm surprised and very excited about this, and decide that running is quite frankly a piece of piss. This 10k is going to be easy.
The next day and ouch, ouch, oh dear me ouch. My calves feel like blocks of solid aluminium and I am walking like I had a very fun night last night probably involving tequila and a bucking bronco. Perhaps running is not the guaranteed piece of piss I think. I am resolved to carry on though. I push aside the pain by thinking about my bunny suit...
Soon it is time for another run, having done sweet FA over the weekend, except giggle at an incredibly perfunctory tour of some caves, given by a man who clearly feels like he's been in the job for far too long. “Here's some rocks and that” he probably said.
For some reason the run today feels a lot harder, which could be because Felix is pushing us on slightly faster than I am used to. THANKS A LOT FELIX YOU TOTAL ARSE. (Not really... A little bit though.) We do 3 ½ miles this time and I have to stop to walk twice. I feel irritated at my lack of pace, and a little bit worried that I might not find gearing up to the full 10k as easy as I thought. I'm somewhat placated from a message from Stuart though:
“Today was my first real moment of 'oh GOD, I'm TERRIBLE at this'. Also: blister. This is not fun.“
Encourage Kirsty to keep on runnin' on Twitter @kirkycheep