The actual ‘running part’ of my day takes about forty minutes; the rest of the run takes considerably longer. Firstly, I have to convince myself that I am actually going to do it. This involves first going through all of the reasons why I should not do it: a definite twinge in the middle toe; a parcel delivery expected any time in the next few days; the possibility that it might rain; the possibility that it might not rain; a recently discovered re-run of the Phil Silvers Show on some obscure channel that I may never find again, and the necessity to gauge the current bladder status. It all takes time.
Eventually, decision made, I start to get ready: take a drink; empty bladder; bind up knees; don running tights, vest, shorts, ‘T’ shirt. Empty bladder. Put on running shoes – always double-bowed. Empty bladder. Pop in Bluetooth headphones, grumble on for ten minutes (approx) whilst sorting out ‘connection error’ and set up GPS tracking. Empty bladder. Open door in order to assess need for hat and gloves. Put on hat and gloves in certain knowledge that I will regret it within five minutes. Exit, closing door behind me. Open door. Empty bladder. Exit again. The routine is pretty much invariable, as is the realisation that despite the knowledge that it is all habit, I will regret not visiting the loo one last time at precisely the same time as I begin to regret the woolly head-covering.
I’m told that there is a close link between the pressing need for micturition and running. Why? Well, nobody’s ever told me that. I suppose it is the same link as that which lurks behind the curtain coming up at the theatre or the first chord booming around the concert venue. However recently I last went for a wee, it was always just too long ago. Some years ago, some friends and I went to a concert in a small, ‘intimate’ venue which meant that, for most of the evening, the artist* could see the audience. When the mid-session interval came around, one of my friends who was clearly almost as desperate for ‘the gents’ as he was to escape ridicule, leapt over two tiers of seats and ran down the corridor shouting, ‘Emergency. Emergency. Coming through!’ The already assembled ‘toilet queue’ parted like The Red Sea at the behest of Moses and deferentially let him through. Back then, I collapsed into the kind of laughter that sends well-meaning souls rushing for the defibrillator. Today I feel his pain.
On my eventual return from running I generally have a decision to make over whether it is worth retracing my steps in order to find the glove I have somehow contrived to drop at some point along my journey. Generally I decide that I will find it dangling from somebody’s hedge when I repeat the journey in a couple of days time, so I leave it where it is and, pausing for nothing more than twenty minutes to remove the triple-knot from my trainer laces where the double-bow used to be, head straight to the shower before the flies have the chance to settle. Thus the forty minutes of exercise generally eats about an hour and a half from my day – which is the perfect reason not to run if I’ve only got an hour in which to do it.
*Roy Harper, whose song ‘When An Old Cricketer Leaves the Crease’ is one of my ‘funeral songs’. This may, or may not be relevant.
Today’s episode was brought to you by a break from procrastination and a red Wilco ballpoint pen.
Today’s top running tune was ‘There’s No Way Out Of Here’ by David Gilmour.
Today’s Thought for the Day: If Einstein was correct, a stitch in time would require a very big bobbin indeed.
You can join me at the start of my Running Odyssey here, at ‘Couch to 5k’ or
You can join me in last week’s ‘Running Man’ post, ‘…on Stopping’ here.
The next Running Man post ‘…on Being Antisocial’ is here.