For anyone who remains even remotely interested, I am still running at least three times a week. Usually I do two runs of 4k and one of 5k. Some days – mostly when I have other things I really should be doing instead – I run much further. Sadly, the shit is still there on my return. Some days, when the weather is bad, I don’t run as far, but I run faster – always taking great care not to trip over my own halo. I don’t actually enjoy the running any more than I ever did, but I do now go out secure in the knowledge that short of any mishap, I will finish the run and the chances are fairly good that I will not die on the way.
Sadly, I have now developed a routine associated with run days which, if I am honest, is starting to border on ritual. I wear the same things, I follow the same route, I listen to the same songs. I really must shake it up. I am beginning to annoy myself and normally, of course, I find myself the very best of company. If anyone has a life available, I should probably get one – but I shan’t be looking today, because just at the moment I have deeper concerns.
You see, since finishing the Couch to 5k programme, I have tried, as best I am able, to stick to the routine which, in addition to running three times a week, dictates that I leave a gap of at least forty-eight hours between runs. I run on Monday, Wednesday and Friday, so what do I do on the days in between? Well, drink whisky and eat peanuts, if I’m honest. When I decided that I needed an alternative, I tried gin and chocolate, but even I realised that that wasn’t really what it meant, and so I looked for a healthy alternative, preferably one that did not involve hummus. What I discovered was my daughter’s discarded exercise bike and my old redundant laptop. So, I have taken to climbing aboard the exercise bike on these non-running days, whilst watching Old Grey Whistle Test DVD’s: an ancient fat man amongst the decaying clutter of his garage, pedalling for all he is worth and getting nowhere fast. My whole life has become metaphor.
Consider my garage. It is chock-full of junk. If I manage to cram something new into one end of it, it is highly likely that something else, completely unconnected, will pop out at the other. Whatever does make it in, is inevitably lost within hours, never to be found again until I trip over it some years later whilst searching for something else entirely. Occasionally I will find a space in there, but I will have no idea of what used to fill it. If I fill the gap, I knock over and break something else in the process. When I do, eventually, find what has gone missing, it will no longer fit back in. At the risk of labouring the point, my garage in no way now fulfils its primary purpose of storing a car: it is full of general rammel, little of which belongs there, but all of which stops it being used for what it was designed for.
Consider my exercise bike. It is not, as I have mentioned, actually my own. It requires a lot of effort to get it going and, when I do, it goes nowhere. It is noisy, unsightly and boring. When I have nowhere to run, I pedal to the same place and when I get there, I’ve got nowhere to go but back. I think that in future I should mount the static velocipede only when it is not safe for me to run e.g. when there is weather outside. (My wife lives in constant fear of me falling over. I haven’t done so yet, but when I do, she will have earned the right to be there at my side, with a nicely supportive ‘I told you so.’) Worse, I’ve just caught sight of myself in the mirror. I look pretty much the same as I did six months ago, and I feel pretty much the same, so where does all of this pain and anguish leave me anyway? Well, I certainly have a very fit pair of legs – they have to be, they carry about my lard-arse top half, which currently gets no exercise at all outside of lifting food to my mouth, so perhaps I need to buy some weights: dumbbells, or a heavier TV remote…
Actually, I think I’ve changed my mind. Has anybody seen a life around here that I can have after all?