I was on my back, gasping for air, “this is it”, I thought, “I’m going to die…and then, I heard an (oddly) encouraging, voice speaking to me...

“You can start your fifth run now, in one minute you will be two minutes from completion.”

That’s right folks, I have jumped on the ‘Couch to 5K’ Bandwagon and from where I’m sitting at the moment, it’s an OK ride.

I have, in true JMack style, amended the rules to suit me. This does not mean that I am getting a Labrador to go on the runs for me (but now you mention it – why didn’t I think of that before I started the challenge, doh!?)

I’ll list the rules, the actual rules, plus my modifications:

THE Rules: Rules According to JMack:

Stop when it hurts: Agreed.

5K’s (Non-stop) 9 Weeks: 5K’s when I’m good and ready;

3 ‘runs’ each week: Agreed.

Rest is V. important: Agreed.

It’s 31 August, Sunday; technically, (and we ARE going to be pedantic about this because every second I am in running gear counts!) this challenge began on Saturday 22 August 2014. Let me tell you how that went:

We started well. I had it all going in my favour, the iPhone was recently uploaded (or downloaded, I never understand which way the technology works) any way I had some rocking tunes. I had taken the time and invested a whole £20 in actual over the ear headphones as I have perfectly concentric earholes and can’t wear the plug-in kind. (Google it, it’s a condition!)

Got my comfy pants, sturdy “the-girls-aren’t-shifting” bra, extra expensive runners, remembered keys, iPhone; brilliant – let’s run!

“You will start walking briskly for five minutes, to warm up.”

I’m walking briskly, no worries. I’ve started at Worthing Pier; a safe and central location (and one which I felt would be really easy for the ambulance to locate.) It’s a Saturday afternoon in Worthing, a seaside town on the busy Sussex coast. I had the tunes in one ear (stupid £20 headphones) but other than that it felt good to be out and moving. It’s been a really rough three weeks, a rough six months; who am I kidding? I haven’t been myself since I left Australia.

“In one minute you will start your first run. You will run 8 times today…”

Why are there so many people here? This is Worthing people, come on, if you’ve seen one seaside town…

“Start getting prepared for your first one minute run, this will start in 30 seconds.”

It was at this point that I got really nervous and felt really exposed, it just didn’t feel right. But she kept going on.

“Start your first run now, you will run 8 times today.”

My feet just started getting faster, I’m not going to lie, I wasn’t running by any stretch of the imagination, but it definitely wasn’t walking. And she was there, every step of the way. She didn’t even argue when I swore at her, she stayed with me, she saw me through the tough times!

“Keep running for just half a minute and then you can walk.”

I fell in to a pattern, a trance almost and when I slowly came to I heard her mesmeric voice telling me “if you need to turn back you are halfway through your run now.” I don’t really know what surprised me more? That I had been able to complete half of something (of anything – not my usual style) or that I had half-completed something that involved moving, nay, running? And it is for THIS reason that I collapsed.

Then I realised that in all my meticulous downloading/uploading, headphone purchasing and forward thinking I was without water! In my comfy pants and having just run the JMack marathon I was now going to shrivel up on the beautiful Sussex coastline with all of the concerted efforts of the previous evening going to waste. I had placed my favourite ‘Australian Institute of Fitness’ water bottle in the fridge so as to have icy cold water to quench my insatiable runners thirst, and now death.

“You can slow to a walk now.” There are just three more minutes of running today. Well done.”

This woman hadn’t taken ‘no’ for an answer. She was refusing to accept that we, that I had given in. So, as soon as I could get my legs to take my weight, I walked wobbly yet with an air of brisk about me!

I got home and ate a banana and modified the rules.

People fail because in my opinion they attempt things at a pace they have no business trying. I’m no Mo Farrah, why would I run alongside him for all 42km of a marathon, without first training for a marathon? I need to build up to 5K, this is what the app is teaches. I haven’t exercised in a few years, my job, and in fact my life is extremely sedentary and before I take this big bite, I need to learn to digest the crumbs.

I have a lot of ‘stuff’ to work through; this is not just Couch to 5K - this is 5K to OK!