We’re at mum’s – dad’s funeral is on Tuesday. I am completely spent. I’m not sure what’s been chipping away at me over the past couple of days, but I think it would be too simplistic to say that it’s all about dad. It’s a combination of things … including some friction with mum about where she is and where she’s going. I think the arrival of the family tomorrow will be akin to a major weather event; and that’s not helping. We are a mixed bunch and have different ways of enjoying ourselves (some would say I don’t know how). It’s going to be exhausting. But that’s families for you.
Let’s talk running. I’ve been meaning to for a while.
C and I run every second day. I am pretty evangelical about it. If it looks like I’m not going to be able to make a day because of commitments then I’ll run the day before and start a new two-day regime. I have to say I don’t run far … normally capping at 20 minutes. I think this ‘short’ regime has kept me injury free in my later days, although having been running since I was 14 and with some pretty exhaustive programmes including some very long races, I think I am lucky with my genes. I don’t seem to injure easily.
I started running because my lungs were hopeless (asthma and bronchitis) and I was heading for the army … and they don’t take wheezy kids. I joined the army 6th Form college at 16 and, apart from one sixth-month period when all I did was what the army asked me to, I trained hard and often. I did some x-country racing, I was the army 800 metre champion (that sounds good, doesn’t it? until you add that that was the army in Cyprus), but I was as an orienteerer at heart. In my late 20s I was racing twice a week (Wednesday – army; Sunday – civvy) and was reasonably competent.
And I kept that going. And going. At my best I broke 60 minutes for ten miles and, over 5 miles, I timed myself at 5 minute 40 second miles. I was breaking 20 minutes for 5 kms in races in my mid-40s. And for the 8 years at the school I took the kids running club twice a week and I think I missed two session – I always trained with the students. My last timed race was a Park Run a couple of years ago – 21.25. And I reckon, as I time all my runs, I’m pretty close to that now at 57.
What’s my point? Well I cured my asthma – although I still have a patch on my lungs left over from a serious episode of bronchitis. Running + Ventolin soon moved onto just running. (Please, asthmatics, don’t take this as advice … do as your doctor orders.) Whenever I run I’m always aware of my lungs. And, for the non-runners among you, I hate the gym. I am as slim as a bean and press ups and the like hurt like for some of you, running does. Running is a natural thing for me. Pushing weights, not so much. Yes, I passed all of the military tests and carried the weight required that infanteers carried. And whilst none of my team ever knew, I hated it.
Until I got my running kit on and a 5-colour map in my hand. Then I was happy as Larry.
Onto my point. Run. Walk. Go to the gym. Take the stairs and not the lift. Get a skipping rope. Hide your car keys (but remember where you put them for later, otherwise you’ll be late for something). Get a bike. Get a dog. Get a bike and a dog (but please don’t walk your dog on a bike … I hate that). Do yoga. Dance in your kitchen. Go to the gym (I won’t see you there, mind you). Don’t go to the gym, but run past it. Gyms cost money. Running shoes, not so much. Do something.
And wish me luck for Tuesday …