This is not going to become a running blog. (If you’re interested in running blogs then there are thousands of them out there already: make sure you find the one about ‘runners craps’ (apparently it’s fairly normal to find yourself running along desperate for a poo) and appreciate that I am not the only person who ‘fucking hates running’ but is doing it – many American running bloggers appear to feel the same way).
Never-the-less, I am going to talk about running again today. I have been, you see.
Before I set off, I remembered my past attempts to run a few miles. These have taught me that running doesn’t work if your boobs are flapping about; if milk is leaking out; if your trousers are trying to fall down; if you are having a hypo; if your pump isn’t attached securely; if your glasses keep slipping down your nose; if your shoes make you lame or if you try the crazy barefooted thing round the regular dog-walking circuit.
So I put on three bras, trainers, a pump clip and some clothes as well. I fed Tiddler so that he wouldn’t miss me. Tiddler threw up down my front. I fed him again, lay him down under the baby gym and got changed again. I ate some sweets and made sure I had insulin in my body. I checked that hubby was conscious and had noticed I’d gone (Toddler was having a nap). Then I walked outside.
There was a lady walking past the house. Not wanting to embarass myself, I said good morning and set off walking. Briskly. Got into the woods and there was a man with a dog coming the other way. Dogs don’t like runners. I kept walking. Reached the first road and decided I didn’t really want drivers watching me jog across the road. Besides which, are you really supposed to jog while you’re waiting for cars to pass? I waited… then kept walking. Ate some blackberries…. nice….. kept walking. There were fishermen with their lines across the path next to the lake. Didn’t want to trip over them. Kept walking. Some pigeons on the path. Didn’t want to scare them. Kept –
What was I doing? ‘Bloody Pigeons,’ gritted my teeth and started to jog.
My friend Claire, who Knows about running, tells me it’s all about the stride length. She says that beginners bounce around on the spot but if you want to get anywhere, you need a forward sort of motion not an up-and-down one. Long strides. It improves your Time.
A girl called Liz, whom I talked to on my previous foray into running (I never made 3 miles) said that it’s all about pacing. If you go as fast as you can, you’ll be gasping within minutes. Run at a pace you could hold a conversation at. If that’s comically slowly, then so be it.
Bearing these two things in mind simultaneously, I am miming the beach-running sequence in Chariots of Fire. Never mind: keep going. Keep going. But what the hell are you supposed to do with your head? Wherever I put it, it doesn’t seem to feel right. I am tensing my neck muscles somehow: I’ll have a stiff neck at this rate. Soon I look like a demented pigeon, moving my head, neck, shoulders, wings into different positions, trying them out. Note to self: go on Internet. Google ‘What to do with your head when you run?’ (I’ve done this since. Some helpful answers: ‘keep it stacked over your spine’ and ‘in a neutral position’. Right.)
I’m getting out of breath but luckily I’m on the main path past the cafe. It’s one of those places where loved-up couples, people out for a Sunday stroll, people exercising toddlers and people exercising dogs hang out. Dog-walkers traditionally hate joggers and joggers traditionally hate dogs: apparently it’s unusual for a runner to pass a dog, stop and say ‘Good Morning’ to it. But at least none of them bark at me this way.
The two big ladies who are pushing their prams in parallel making it hard to get past, apologise when they see me and hastily move aside. They look a bit surprised when I say ‘no no! I was enjoying having a rest for a few seconds there’ before I slow-mo past them.
I keep stopping. It’s in my nature to stop: every time I run out of breath. But if I shout at myself (not out loud, thank goodness) every time I do it, I scare myself into moving again. It’s a bit demoralising when a real runner goes past, with really long legs who doesn’t look as if he’s even trying. I want to stop him. ‘Don’t you know who I am? I’m that girl who’s going to do a Bob Graham Round, you know…. just in case you thought I was useless…..’ But obviously he’s already disappeared over the horizon before I finish forming the thought.
Anyway I get round. Two miles, most of it running. It makes my breathing heave. But that night I go to sleep feeling good because I have done some exercise. The next morning, there is a satisfying tight feeling in the muscles down the front of my thighs.
As someone said before me: I fucking hate running. But I do like having run.