Week 8 and I’ve just realised that the photo I have been using at the top of this thread is of a female runner. I feel it necessary in these days of litigation to make it clear, they are not my legs, please do not consider approaching the person they rightfully belong to in order to discuss the content of this blog. I cannot be held responsible for any pepper-spray defence-actions should you ignore this advice. I don’t have legs like that: mine are short, very muscular and not at all something that you would wish to see in anything tight, but with only a week or two to go, I think there is little point in searching for a new image. Besides, to date, nobody has commented (meaning, I think, that they haven’t noticed or they really do think that I shimmy around on those pins) so we’ll leave well alone for now…
Well, I’m now running for twenty-eight minutes at a go, three times a week and James is right – it doesn’t hurt any more than twenty five minutes did. I don’t find it any easier but, all the same, when I set out today, it was with the quiet confidence of completing it, by hook or by crook.
It feels like a lifetime since I was able to enjoy a mid-run amble. I have quite forgotten how quickly the brain clears during those inter-lope intermissions. All that lies between warm-up and warm-down now is pain and misery: an addled brain that can think of nothing else but how much longer does this go on? My runs have settled into an unvarying routine:
- Minute 1 – I’m feeling ok today
- Minute 2 – I’m feeling really tired today
- Minute 3 – I don’t think I can do this today
- Minute 4 – I really don’t think I can do this today
- Minute 5 – I can’t do this, I’ll have to stop (repeat for next twenty minutes)
- Minute 26 – Three minutes left. I can do this
- Minute 27 – Actually, I’m not sure that I can
- Minute 28 – Don’t be so bloody stupid! (This is my reply to Jo Whiley who has just suggested that I might like to speed up for the last minute)
Next week, the last week, moves me up to thirty minute runs. It should move me up to 5k per run, but I am certain that, at my speed, it will not, so perhaps that might give me the spur to go on: to run 5k. Of course, that depends on how close to 5k I am, by then, running. If it is a long way adrift, then I clearly don’t have it in me. The question is, will I be able to motivate myself to keep running from then on? The last eight weeks have been a personal challenge, but when next week is done… I am not a runner. I don’t enjoy running, but I do enjoy proving myself wrong. At the end of next week, I hope I will have done that. What then?
Ah, but that is for next week, or possibly the week after. For this week I still have one further twenty-eight minute run to tackle before I can set about the whisky, stilton and oatcakes with a conscience so clear that not even my window cleaner could smear it.
I am still the hot and sweaty vision staggering along the village roads that I was eight weeks ago. I still do not own proper training shoes or shorts. I still set off thinking that I am going to be cold and find that I am running in the heat of Mercury by minute two. I continue to run in a ‘T’ shirt that I use for holiday snorkelling; a very old pair of tracksuit bottoms or, on warmer days, a long pair of swimming shorts, and my rescued slip-on trainers which now have one sole that has started to flap alarmingly as I run. I must do something about it.
I will buy myself some proper running garb when the present regime has finished, it may give me the incentive to continue, but it is not without risk. If I am dressed like somebody who can run, then people who see me may believe that I am, in reality, somebody who can run. They may well look at the sweating heap that approaches them at a limping lope and think, ‘Well, he’s got the garb. He obviously runs. Looking at him now, he must be in trouble. I’d better call the paramedics.’ They might be right. I am quite happy for passer’s-by to see me and think, ‘Bless, him. He looks close to death, but at least he is trying.’ Less so for them to think ‘Well look at him, stupid old fool obviously thinks that buying all the running kit is going to turn him into a runner. By the look of him he’d have done better to have bought himself a nice shroud.’ At least as I am now, it looks as if I might have set out on a whim. Nobody could guess that I have been doing this for two months without perceptible improvement.
If I do buy new trainers, I’ll just have to change my route, I guess…