Spool on a dozen years. We were on our way to The Organic Food Shop, which involves driving up Crickley Hill. This is notorious locally as the graveyard of juggernauts, especially in icy weather. Here's the view from the top: http://www.bbc.co.uk/gloucestershire/360/crickley_hill.shtml
As we ground our way slowly up the endless incline, I heard myself saying : "I wonder if I could run up here?". I have no idea where that idea came from. I hadn't done any sort of exercise for a dozen years, beyond walking to and from school on the daily delivery. At school, I'd been the kid who was always last to be picked for teams. My love of food and driving a desk all day had a terrible effect on me. To cap it all, a bout of reactive arthritis had left me nervous of stressing my joints - well, that was my excuse, anyway. That one idle thought would have gone the way of all the rest, but a few weeks later our local clinic offered free health checks. As walking wasn't shifting my excess baggage and I'm congenitally unable to diet (I was born without willpower), I decided to go along in the hope they'd say "You're fine. Keep taking the chocolate cake."
Unfortunately, they didn't. I had to get active, and they recommended the NHS's "Couch to 5k Plan". I tried it, and it almost killed me. Too unfit to risk ridicule by running on the roads, I started on a treadmill. Week One was supposed to be a brisk five minute walk, the running for 60 seconds followed by walking for 90 seconds, repeated for twenty minutes. I did one repetition, had to walk for two minutes the second time, then gave up. It felt like the NHS was trying to drum up business rather than get me fit. There had to be another way, but I was too exhausted to look for it. Luckily, a few weeks later DD came home from the library with a book called "Running Made Easy". It was funny, it was non-threatening, and best of all, it made me want to try again...
I'll be updating my progress regularly, so call back to see whether I ever get to run up Crickley Hill.
Have you got a huge ambition?