There’s an old adage that everything in life is about balance.  Whilst I’m not an avid follower of horoscopes I am Libra, the sign of the scales, balance, justice, weighing up both sides – and a great sign for a keen baker! I do think a lot about things, I argue both sides of almost every decision equally, I can always see someone else’s point of view, even if I don’t agree with it and I also believe in trying to lead a balanced life.  So, I love baking and need a foil to it (or at least to counteract the consuming of the products of my passion).  Luckily, through a bizarre sense of laziness, I also run. 

I know that running and laziness don’t often appear in the same sentence, but when time poor and carrying several (!) pounds of extra baby weight from three and a bit years of producing 3 small people, I needed something quick and efficient to sort it out.  There was a photo taken of me, on a beach (clothed thank goodness) with a three month old third child which frankly, even though she was only 3 months old, horrified me.  There was a bulgy, flabby, white thing in a vest and combats standing near a relative holding littlest daughter which gave me more motivation than I’ve ever had to do something…. What would allow me to still drink wine but not resemble Jabba the Hut?  What doesn’t involve the humiliation of the gym, has complete flexibility to fit around travelling husband and three very small children and fundamentally, what shifts fat fastest?  Running of course.  Only one problem, I HATE running (and it hurts my knees). But, it shifts fat, fast.  So off I went to a shop, availed myself of an eye-wateringly expensive pair of trainers, a decent sports bra and after a quick internet search, a beginners training programme, and hit the road.  It wasn’t pleasant, but the feeling after my first 15 minute outing was amazing.   

It had the potential to be incredibly boring though and I had to motivate myself more than just weight loss, so in a moment of extreme optimism, entered a 10k race.  I discovered there’s nothing like the combination of fear of (public) failure and a fat bottom to make you get out there and train.  But, weirdly, I fell in love with running.  After a few months, to my utter amazement, I found a calm, zen-like state when I could forget what my legs were doing and find my mind wandering, creative and relaxed, with space to think.  No one was asking me questions, needing a snack or screaming for the loo.  I also discovered many like-minded women who run and made some of the longer runs hillarious, cathartic, inspiring and downright fun.  I did the 10k in under an hour and have done many more.  I’m not exactly sylph-like (but who is when they love cake and wine?), but I’m fit, energetic, and in awe of what my body can do when challenged.  Alongside childbirth, it reminds me daily what bodies are for – not just to look at, but to use, to enjoy and to take care of. And of course, to put cake in.  What could be more balanced?