So, it all began a few months ago when I realised I suddenly somehow weighed more than my husband. All of Mr Knightley’s quiet and persistent bike rides to work and lunchtime swims were paying off. I was now the heavier spouse, by a full 1.4 kilos. This would not do.
So I figured out a plan. I would download the Couch to 5k app and follow the baby-steps program until I could run 5 kilometres without lapsing into a coma. At the same time I would sign up for a fun run to encourage me to stick with the program. I would become Fit Woman. I would post images of my fit and muscular self online with the caption “I lost all my baby weight in just two years!” and everyone would hate me. It was the beginning of a new day.
At six in the morning, three mornings a week, I would toddle out of the door in my two sports bras (necessary) and my running clothes and listen as Johnny Dead, the friendly zombie trainer in my ear phones, told me when to walk and when to run. I would like to say I bounced out of bed and ran with joy through the park whilst meditating on the wonder of nature, but I did not. The whole time I had to run, I was thinking “I hate this. I hate this SO MUCH.” But I figured it was like medicine. I just had to take it. I didn’t have to like it.
I signed up for a 5k fun run that sounded like my sort of thing. You wear white and run along and get pelted with different coloured cornflour so by the end you look like an extra from Doctor Who – Day of the Rainbow. And then there’s this wonderful festival at the end where everyone dances and throws colour simultaneously in beautiful clouds “like nothing you’ve ever seen before”. It was going to be awesome.
The weeks rolled by and I stuck with the program (hate it). After a bit, I also went on that stupid no sugar diet for a whole month (after which I went to a doctor who said “don’t be an idiot: you should be on low FODMAP instead”). How much did the weight fall off when I was running five kilometres three mornings a week and eating no sugar or carbs or – you know – food? NOT AT ALL. Not one kilo. I’m not one to obsess over body image (most times of the month) and I went on the diet to fix up some health issues, not to get skinny, but I kinda hoped that weighing less than my husband might be a happy side effect to all that salad with no dressing. Sigh.
I moaned about this disaster to my husband. “You probably need to do more anaerobic exercise.” he said, matter of factly. “Your body’s hanging on to all its fat because it thinks there’s a famine.” Very interesting. Very informative. What Mr Knightley did not realise was that the correct response was “Oh, my beautiful darling wife. You are the perfect shape and quite lovely to behold. And, what is more, I would love you at any size. Please, do eat some chocolate.” When I sulkily pointed this out, however, he promptly repeated the required response verbatim, and, whilst I declined the chocolate (sugar), I did feel a little better.
I don’t think I was breaking any speed records while I was on my morning training runs. At one point, as I was shuffling along the path, a lady managed to overtake me WHILE SHE WAS WALKING. But I would always do a big sprint for the final stretch. I would imagine myself near the finish line, loping along like a gazelle, so gracefully that you didn’t even realise how incredibly fast I was moving. My friends and family would watch on, mouths agape:
“Is that Cathy Freeman? No – it’s Kate!”
“Kate? But she is not sporty! She is not athletic!”
“That’s what I thought. But LOOK”
And all the kids I went to school with would be there – remarkably all still school-aged. And oh, they would stare and they would call out:
“We were wrong not to pick you for our team, Kate!”
“We were wrong not to pass you the ball!”
“Go, Kate, GO!”
And I would burst triumphantly through the finish line and everyone would cheer. All of my former PE teachers would rush in and hoist my slender frame onto their shoulders. And not one of them would look disappointed or exasperated. And off we would go to a little card table set up with little ribbons on it. And I wouldn’t get a white “Merit” ribbon, or a brown “Participation” ribbon or a pink one that said “I Ran in a Race”. I would get a blue one, on a little gold safety pin. And it would say “First”.
Finally the big day arrived. After negotiating hordes of people and jams of traffic, I stood with my sister Cindy in the “Start Zone”, stretching my limbs ostentatiously and bouncing from foot to foot. A couple of my friends were in the race too, but they were taking their kids in pushers. I informed them self-importantly that we would quickly become separated as I would be moving too fast.
After what seemed like an eternity, we shuffled through the “Start Zone” arch. I thought it was the starting line, but it wasn’t. I tugged self-consciously at my regulation white t-shirt. I had ordered it months ago, thinking by the time I got to the race, I would be a ‘medium’. I was wrong.
An hour later, we made it to the real start line. Cindy and I rubbed our hands together and tried to muster up some of our original enthusiasm. There were so many people it was hard to really run, but we jogged rather slowly, and I tried hard to look impatient, like a Serious and Important Runner.
We spent a lot of the race stopping and starting and trying to run around people who were, for some reason, walking in the opposite direction. The track was often too narrow for anyone to more fast and when we got to a ‘colour’ section, everyone seemed to stop and queue up to get colour thrown on them. I never really fell into a rhythm. But it was still fun to be out running with my sister.
When the finish line came into view, I turned to Cindy excitedly, “Let’s run really fast to the finish line!” I exclaimed. So, we darted off, nimbly avoiding the thick crowd of people who were walking slowly (and failing to keep left – ahem!). I could feel my legs gearing up for a triumphant sprint. The finish line was approaching, my speed was increasing … and then I had to stop short. There was a bunch of people ahead of me taking a group photo. Hm. I scooted around them and started up again. And stopped again. And again. It would seem that everywhere I turned, people were stopping to take selfies and tweet their friends. This was a moment, it would seem, so precious that it could not wait until AFTER THEY CROSSED THE FINISH LINE. In the end, I performed a half-hearted waddle through the victory arch and stalked off to find my family.
Mr Knightley and my brother Greg (back from Japan!) were sitting with the kids at the side of the track looking weary and bored. When they saw Cindy and me, however, they summoned up encouraging grins and cheered and took photos. Cindy had to rush off to catch her train (the run had taken a lot longer than any of us had anticipated), but I was grimly determined to make it to the special rainbow end-of-race festival. It was supposed to be magical.
We moved with the crowd at glacial speed to collect our colour packets and proceed to the party zone. There was a sound stage with music playing and a small crowd of people dancing so enthusiastically I suspect they might have been paid to be there. People around us were having little colour fights, but there were no amazing rainbow clouds, nothing that looked enchanting, like the inside of a dream.
I looked across at Mr Knightley. He was Over It. It was past lunchtime and we’d left so early that he’d hardly had any breakfast. There were crowds of people everywhere and none of them seemed to know how to behave rationally. I could see it in his eyes. He just wanted to find a nice dark room and curl up into a ball for a few hours. The relief that flooded his face when I suggested we go home confirmed this hypothesis.
I opened my colour packet up and had a brief powder party with Matilda. I deliberately accidentally spilt half of it on the ground. I’m the one who has to wash these clothes, you know. Then we began the long trek to our car.
After we’d battled traffic chaos and dropped Greg off at his car (the closest he could find a parking space was several suburbs away), Mr Knightley turned to me apologetically. “If I don’t eat something soon I’m gonna go nuts.”, he said.
Which is how we found ourselves inside the nearest fast food restaurant stuffing our faces with Red Rooster Tropical Packs. This is pathetic I thought glumly I hardly ran at all and now I’m eating bad food. I’m never going to weigh less than my husband.
Then inspiration struck:
“My darling love,” I cajoled, “you really, really must eat some more chips!”
Ah, Kate. You haven’t changed a bit!
Good on you for trying. I need to get rid of my extra squishy bits, and some of the school mums are trying to get me to play netball with them next year. Recipe for disaster if my previous sporting record is to be remembered.
Like you, I was always picked last for team sports. And I was the sacrificially lamb when it came to the torturous game of skittles… told to stand in front of a skittle and just let the ball hit me rather than try and run and catch it.
I got a FIRST ribbon in primary school for sports day one year. It was for the egg and spoon race, but I didn’t tell everyone that. Just wore my ribbon with pride.
Ah, skittles! I forgot about that game – I used to hate it so much! I used to have to be made a guard as well! My proudest day was when I came second-last in a race (fourth!) because one of the other kids fell over…
Ha ha! Thank goodness I’m not the only one with a “helpful” and “supportive” husband when it comes to fitness. I think I’ll make sure there are some extra chips on his plate tomorrow! And congrats on your run! What an awesome accomplishment.
I’m working on ingenious ways to inject bacon grease into his meals! Thanks for your lovely comment!
Laughed so hard!! Love this post and you!
Awww! Thanks B!
So good! 🙂 We can be running buddies again at Phillip Island — I can even set up a ribbon at the end of the road and throw paint on you as you triumphantly pass through it! 😉
Yes! We can run on the BEACH xxx
I nominated you for The Versatile Blogger Award – http://ronaleer.wordpress.com/2013/12/09/the-versatile-blogger-award/
Wow! Thank you so much!
You’re always welcome!
Katie, you are hilarious! This post reminded me of Bridget Jones’ Diary,
which I loved! You are much funnier than the tv I turned off to read this.
Your husband is lucky, cause there’s more of you to love!
Oh, Anna – YOU make me laugh! When my kids fight over who gets to cuddle me (“MY Mummy!”), I always reassure them “There’s plenty of Mummy to go around!” Thanks for your top-shelf comment!
Is that your longest post yet? I think you made it fit your online personality (which is really just an amped up version of your offline personality).
Such a long post! Not sure if it’s the longest yet, but I copied it into Word to check it and it had 1625 words! I used to struggle to write essays that long. It would be better shorter, but I’d had enough of tinkering and wanted to get it up there!
My hubbie isn’t too bad but my Mum keeps making helpful suggestions and referring me to apps on the ipad. It makes me want to eat cake. Fat and happy, that’s me! Well, one of those anyway.
My husband is never one to offer unsolicited weight-loss advice, but he’s yet to figure out that when I whine about something, I want sympathy, not a solution! ESPECIALLY when it regards body image!
My beautiful, late grandmother, however, was always showing me articles on weight loss and diets, and then feeding me chocolate. Go figure (no pun intended!)
Good to hear you’re HAPPY (I assume that’s the one you mean!)
Hehe depends on the day! 🙂 Let’s say I have other things to worry about than shifting the baby weight. Hubbie fancies me as I am but thinks my libido might be higher were I thinner. Poor fool. 😀
A man can always hope!
Thank you so much!
Love this post. I also do little fun runs to try and keep myself motivated. They have Sri Chimnoy runs in Sydney that are well organised and offer free pancake and fruit breakfasts at the end. This keeps the husband and kids happy. Don’t give up though….you did a 5km race, that’s a huge achievement!!
Oh, thank you, Roary! I like the sound of those Sri Chimnoy runs – it sounds like a more authentic and less commercialised version of the one I did. I wonder if there are any in Melbourne? Thanks for your lovely comment xx
Hey Kate – that was a very amusing read! I had heard about this ‘Color’™ (not ‘Colour’™) run before, and always thought it was somewhat daft. Do people not choke on all this dust in the air? Sounds more like coloured hype than ‘coloured goodness’. Take solace from the overtaking walker – I was once overtaken by someone pushing a child in a wheelchair towards the end of a 14km run! But yay for you for getting out there and training (which of course is the hardest part) – whilst the scales may say otherwise, I am sure it has improved your health.
Thank you, Ross! I couldn’t bring myself to use the trademarked spelling in this post, so I avoided referring to it directly whenever I could! The dust is cornflour, so fairly innocuous, but I was concerned it might set off my asthma, so I wore a bandanna around my mouth, like a bushranger! I need to find a new run to train for soon, because I’m getting pretty slack now without a goal to look towards! Thanks so much for the lovely comment, Ross. Are you still o/s? We miss seeing you around the table at family night!
I’m still in Germany – will be here until at least September next year to finish a Master’s degree. I caught up with your jetsetting siblings just the other week in Ireland – was great to see them both. Talking about running, I am hoping to run my first marathon in April next year! Training throughout the cold German winter won’t be fun though. Temperatures above 0°C are a luxury at this time of year! Snow remains novel and romantic for about 5 minutes before it becomes downright annoying!
Wow! A marathon! Training in winter is so hard. I can see how the novelty of snow would wear off quickly. But it would be lovely if you could have a white Christmas! I was so glad that you were with my jet-setting siblings last year when Mama died. That meant a lot.
All the best for your marathon – in what city will it be held?
Kate I needed to read this…it changed my grumpy mood…you are a blast….my man and I were at the shopping center a few hours ago and he went into the store while I waited. I watch this young couple going to their car…..it had rained earlier and the pavement had some puddles…there was one on her side of the car….would you believe this young strong man picked her up and put her in the car….I laughed because it was so sweet…so when my man came out I was telling him how romantic and sweet of him to do that…he said well wait til they get married….he won’t make that mistake then…I said oh they had to be married because they were driving a mini van and no unmarried man would drive a mini van….so his reaction was….I am driving a mini van we are not married…I said oh let me correct that….a “young unmarried” man would not drive a mini van…needless to say he did not take me into my house….as i also weigh more than he does….
Oh, this made me laugh – although I’m sure it wasn’t at all funny for you at the time! What a gallant young man! Mr Knightley is not what you would call traditionally romantic, but he can be thoughtful and romantic in his own, practical, no-nonsense way! It’s taken me a while to realise this!
The Blog and subsequent comments were wonderful to read. I think, and you know, my wife would say she married the most unromantic person that lived! I was doing weights last night and Elisha, the personal trainer is ruthless. She says ” I do that because I love you”.
My husband is a great believer in the value of weight lifting, as I’m sure you’re aware. I think true romance is about thoughtfulness, doing things with the other in mind and spending time in each other’s company. In this sense of the word, you’re not unromantic! I will tell my husband you’ve started weights – he’ll get all excited and overwhelm you with advice!
That was a great read! I think you did well to get yourself going, especially given that starting can be the hardest part. But don’t be discouraged! When we start excercising we do gain muscle, which weighs more than fat, which is why we often don’t lose weight when we think we should be. I think the important thing is just to be healthy, rather than skinny. Besides, I’m sure you look beautiful no matter your shape! So don’t be too hard on yourself Kate, and have a great day :3
Thank you, Nell! I do tend to be a little hard on myself when it comes to this sort of thing. But I’m starting to get back on the wagon. I went on a tiny run this morning (I slept in so it was pretty much just around the block!) and I’ve set my sights on a Sri Chimnoy fun run in February which seems like it would be less crowded and comes with free pancakes at the end! Thanks for taking the time to comment!
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