I was in Shoeburyness yesterday, and it was covered with high-vis signs which suggested that it was the start point for the Southend half-marathon.
It got me wondering whether a half-marathon is something I'd want to have a go at someday. Did I want my running to lead me to the point where I'd be lining up with those runners in Shoeburyness, facing thirteen-odd sweaty miles of running?
No. Really, a thousand times, no.
I'm running to get fitter and thinner. I have absolutely no aspirations to be one of those lycra-clad muscled women who think nothing of pounding the pavement for ten miles each morning before breakfast. There are no exercise-based items on my bucket list at all.
So what are my goals? Primarily weight loss. I have set myself a target of losing four stones by Christmas. It sounds tricky, but I have lost 9lbs in the past two weeks, so at a steady 2lbs a week it's entirely achievable. The main tool to help me in that goal is the wonderful Slimming World plan, but running helps keep my head in the right place, and keeps me away from the fridge.
My running goals are in stages. I can now--just about--run 1 km without slowing to a walk. I run 2.5km each day, and my first stage goal is to be able to run all of that without having to walk any of it. Once I can do that, I'll build up the distance slowly. Luckily the circuit from my house, down the road, up the middle of the Common and back to my house via the cut-through is exactly 1.25km, so I run two circuits, and will build up to three eventually and, finally, four.
That's my final, ultimate goal. I want to be able to run 5km comfortably, without slowing to a walk or stopping. Once I can do that, I'll maybe only aim to do it quicker, but I don't feel the need to do any more.
I think that'll be pretty impressive for a fat, middle-aged asthmatic woman.