The Running Man and the Weather

My last three runs have been in the rain.  This is a new thing for me.  I have played sport in all types of weather.  I once played football on a pitch that was both waterlogged and frozen.  I skidded through a large puddle near the corner flag, broke the ice on top of it and cut my leg badly enough for a trip to A&E.  It’s fair to say that the nurses saw me coming: my sport/weather record is not a good one.  My wife will not let me out to run in the ice and snow as I cannot even walk on the bloody stuff.  I am the man that always falls over on the High Street leaving all onlookers severely torn between concern and laughter.  Laughter normally triumphs.  It’s not a new thing to me.  I cannot even blame advancing years.  I have never been able to remain upright on anything even remotely slippery – and that most definitely includes wet leaves.  I have been badly sun-burned playing cricket, I have been blown off my bike by the wind whilst still in the village and I decided in May last year, when I started this running malarkey that I would not run in precipitation of any kind.  Instead I ran through the kind of early summer that my parents used to reminisce about.  I didn’t actually try to fry an egg on the car bonnet, because I’ve always been sceptical about the veracity of the claim that it is possible quite frankly, but if it was ever possible, I ran through the kind of heat that made it so. …And this week I ran in the rain.

I have discovered a number of things during the course of this wet week.  Firstly, I have discovered how much I sweat when it is not raining.  I know this because my running kit is in exactly the same state when I get home, regardless of the weather.  I always thought that as I got fitter – and I am fitter now than I was a year ago – I would sweat less, but it is not the case.  Even the exertion of getting into my kit makes me perspire.  I discovered that being fit for one thing (or in my case nothing) does not necessarily mean being fit for anything else.  I did half an hour with weights last night as we are covered in a blanket of snow as I write. (Although almost certainly not as I publish – such things are very transient in the country.)  Today I feel as if I have been run over.  I stopped doing sit ups as both my hips were ‘popping’ loud enough to alarm the cat – and we don’t even have one.  According to the internet, this is perfectly normal and not a problem as long as there is no pain.  When do they mean?  There was no pain yesterday, during the exercise.  Today I can find only one muscle that is not giving me gyp, and that’s in my ear.  Tonight I shall board the exercise bike, which I have just moved into the garage.  It is cold in there, but not wet.  I watch music videos as I pedal, and the world is good.  Unfortunately, the garage is also where I keep the beer – and it eats into my brain as I strain through the last few virtual kilometres.  It is waiting for me as I finish.  And I am waiting for it.

So, all in all, running in the wet is definitely safer than the alternatives.  Being locked down does, at least, mean that I do not have to run in the dark.  5k in the cold, wet and dark is a very daunting prospect.  Just thinking about it brings me out in a cold sweat…

The next instalment of my running diary, ‘The Running Man and the Hip’, is here.
The last instalment of my running diary, ‘The Running Man and Beats per Minute’ is here.
The whole sorry saga started in Lockdown#1 with ‘Couch to 5k’ here.

The Running Man Plods On

So, back in furlough and still running.  The most shocking thing?  I quite like it now.  I’m still in secondhand gear.  Most of it fits – someone, just not me.  Everything from the waist down is too long.  (Alright, that’s quite enough of that!)  I thought I should buy some running tights as winter approaches.  It is not a good look.  They are skin tight over my gargantuan calves, I can barely pull them up over my thighs and I cannot run in them unless I pull the waistband up to my chest.  I keep tripping over the gusset.  I tried it.  I most certainly cannot leave the house like it.  So, I continue to run in the gear that I have worn since I started the whole malarkey and, since most of it is black, I am grateful that I am currently able to go out in daylight hours.  (The silver lining I have been searching for.)  Especially since the village streets have returned to a Dodge City-like serenity.  Nobody is venturing out.  I cannot help but think that this is because they see me coming.  All over the village dogs are crossing their legs, knowing that they will not be taken out until after I have lumbered past.  Cleaning up dog piss from the shagpile is preferable to bumping into me for most dog owners.

Yet, despite my tendency to look like Harold Steptoe, I am actually running further than I used to, faster than I used to and generally feeling far less like I wish death would take me in the process.  I have developed the ability to let my mind wander – to stray a little from the concerns of preservation of life – and all that I really wanted to say today is that over the next four barren weeks, I will continue to run and, should any cogent thoughts enter my head, I’ll let you know.  Mind you, I’ll probably let you in on any other old tripe that washes up as well. 

These extra blogs will, of course, only happen to the 2nd December. Don’t you just love a Lockdown?

Today’s favourite running track: Badge – Cream

The previous running diary instalment ‘Foot, where?’ is here.
The next running diary instalment ‘The Running Man and the Dog Walkers’ is here.
The whole sorry saga started here.

Yet More Random Running Thoughts – Odds and Sods…

My Cat, Lawrence.*

My cat Lawrence, he’ll never let you down.
My cat Lawrence, keeps his feet on the ground.
With my cat Lawrence, you know just where you are.
Since my Auntie Florence, ran him over in her car…

I have discovered that when running, by a method I cannot discern, my phone always plays David Bowie’s Heroes (the album version, not the dreadful ‘single edit’) at the very second I decide that I have had enough.  Well, you can’t stop then, can you?

Not for the first time I find myself thinking about Thursdays.

When I first added Thursdays to my blog rota it was with the aim of using a few stray poems which I ran as Haphazardly Poetical, because that’s what they were.  I planned for them to be a regular thing, but they arrived sporadically and could, only in the very broadest of senses, properly be labelled as poetry – however, as, broadly speaking, I have no sense, thus labelled they were.  For reasons I have never been able to fathom, they quickly proved to be my most popular of posts, but because I am pathetically and slavishly bound by rhyme and scan, I found them difficult to write with any regularity or quality, and when I set my mind to producing them, everything else went out of the window.  Consequently, Thursdays also became home for a pastiche or two (Sherlock Holmes, James Bond, Winnie-the-Pooh, that sort of thing) which I rather liked, although I was in a definite minority.  From time to time I wrote longer pieces which ran better over two days, so Thursdays became a day of all manner of poems, part twos and bits and bobs and, quite frankly, I began to find them a bit of a trial.

For a while I used Thursdays to republish some old, seldom read posts, which I thought merited a second chance (although, in the main, you begged to differ) and then came Covid, and Thursday became the day of The Plague Diaries, which took me right through Lockdown towards the New Normal, during which time I began to run.  I have no idea why.  My ‘Couch to 5k’ diary filled the next few months, and then the problem of what to do with Thursdays returned anew.

I write masses of ‘stuff’ that, for one reason or another (usually another) never gets expanded upon and, as Thursday blogs are, by and large, shorter and looser than other days, it struck me that Thursday could well become a day for some of these pieces.  Some days I write pure nonsense (some?), snippets of rhyme (see top and bottom of this post), bits of script, random conversations – all of which go into a folder labelled Odds and Sods, which I have just renamed Thursday.  You get my drift…

Eventually, another sparkly something will attract my attention and a new theme will, turd-like, bob to the Thursday surface, but until then you have Odds and Sods, and I, like a pioneering prospector armed only with a broken sieve, the wrong shovel and access to quite the wrong river, will pan away, searching for nuggets of gold that I might be able to fruitfully lay before you and, who knows, something that might, one day, lead somewhere else completely…

I wish us all good luck…

A Small Deception at the Vasectomy Clinic**

He smiled at me, lain on the table
And said, “Now this won’t hurt at all.”
Then rammed over 6 foot of needle
Right down my wherewithal

*I heard somebody shouting out for Lawrence from their doorstep late one night.  They could, I suppose have been calling for a stray dog or husband, but something told me it was probably a cat.  I started to think about how much easier cats would be to find, if they didn’t move around so much…

**Personal experience – I can say no more except to add that on the day of my ‘op’ I was prepared and splayed on the table when the surgeon and his (female) assistant entered the room, and the assistant took one look at me and said, ‘Colin?  It is Colin isn’t it?  I haven’t seen you in ages…’  The conversation from that point might be best described as strained and I cannot remember a time of greater relief than when I was able to gather myself together and limp, manfully from the room…

The previous running diary instalment, ‘More Random Running Thoughts’ is here.
The next running diary instalment, ‘Man on the Run’ is here.
Couch to 5k starts here.