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Posts Tagged ‘fit’

“You must be as fit as a flea”, commented a friend the other day. Having spent my youth and most of my adult life claiming (with some justification) to be thoroughly and hideously unfit, my initial response was to deny it. Yet I can’t ignore the fact that over the last few years, I’ve made steady progress away from the untoned woman who couldn’t even run for a bus.

So where am I now? Can I finally say that I’m actually, properly fit? And by whose standards?

Of course, going by the national average, I’m pretty much up there. I exercise several times a week, can hold my own at boot camp and am in reasonable shape. Yet at every sporting event I go to, I seem to be surrounded by hundreds of people who are in much, much better condition than I am.

There’s the 61-year-old in my squad who’s just run a marathon, with energy to spare for shopping the next day (my kind of athlete). There are all the people who overtook me on the Parkrun I attempted a couple of weeks ago (and there were lots of them). There are the countless triathletes, runners, rowers and swimmers who, every day, put me to shame. There’s even my own family who outstrip me in fitness in every way.

Of course, the sensible answer is that every person has to set their own standards and not worry about pitting themselves against others. That’s especially so for someone like me who has had to battle with chronic ill health just to get off the couch in the first place. But I still like to have a standard against which to measure myself.

Now, I’ve always had the idea at the back of my mind that someone was fit if they could run five miles. I’ve no idea where this notional marker of fitness came from, but it’s always stood as my personal gold standard. And I’m excited to report that today, for the first time in my life, I finally managed to run for five miles. It wasn’t fast and it wasn’t pretty, but I still did it.

Does that make me fit? It might not make me as fit as a flea, but for now, for me, it’ll do. Until next week, at least.

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