Write 52
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Write 52

Running on Empty

The Reluctant Jogger

Photo by Kyle Bushnell on Unsplash

My name is Barrie and I have a love/hate relationship with running.

And, when I say love/hate I probably mean it in the sense that there’s really not much ‘love’ in there at all. Actually, I’ve thought about this carefully and love is not an emotion that sits comfortably alongside the whole ‘get-up-in-the-morning and go jogging’ thing.

It’s a bit like ‘Fun Runs’.

Who decided, after due consideration, reflection and examination, that the words ‘fun’ and ‘run’ were natural bedfellows? Not me … though I suspect I didn’t really get a vote and they proceeded with the idea anyway.

So, we have established thus far that my name is Barrie … I run … but I don’t love it. In fact, I think we have surmised from the opening strides of this (Not) Fun Run through the miles of thoughts I have on the subject, that running is not really my thing.

I suspect it never was.

And, yet …

And, YET …

I once ran a marathon.

The day before I turned 50. Forty-nine and three hundred and sixty-four days young … I stumbled around 26.2 miles (that is also 42 kilometres, which sounds even longer). A smidge over 4 hours (okay, 16 minutes over 4 hours, but let us not split hairs); I did pretty well for the first 15 miles or so, then hit something … a ‘wall’, is that what they call it — perhaps I ran out of the jelly babies being pressed on me by the kids in Musselburgh … it could be that my beard — at that stage doing its full W.G. Grace/Victorian gentleman impression — held me back. Nonetheless, I ran the bloody thing. Okay, I ran/walked it. Still, there was quite a lot of running involved.

And, here’s the thing; you don’t just turn up to a marathon and ‘give it a go’. There are months of training; assiduous practice; regular miles … pretty painful miles. But you do them. There’s the goal, you see. A date in the diary.

I think it was Muhammed Ali who said:

I hated every minute of training, but I said, “Don’t quit. Suffer now and live the rest of your life as a champion.”

I trained hard but there was little fun in it. Which, rather proves my point … ‘fun’ and ‘run’ do NOT go together (yes, that is a flimsy evidence base but it’s my article and so I am judge, jury and the bloke who hands out the medals).

In a little over a month’s time, it will be 7 (yes, seven) years since I ran that marathon. I confess, there have been very few ‘training miles’ run since then. Shortly afterwards, I hopped on my road bike and I relish the miles I pedal.

So, running, probably not for me. I think we’ve established that pretty conclusively.

So, why … in heaven’s name, WHY, have I agreed to run a half-marathon in a couple of months’ time. At a festival where they gleefully announce that there will be ‘FUN RUNS’ … my kryptonite … bloody fun runs, I do declare.

Anyway, I seem to be back into getting up, throwing on the trainers (oh, and the appropriate running gear — I can do without the pointing and laughing), and heading out for a jog … well, a sort of lumbering run of sorts still with as much walking as running over the 5 or so kilometres I’m doing most days.

It is definitely not fun … yet! But, who knows … the other morning I kind of got into my stride as the sun shone through the branches of the woodland I was running through and I almost broke into a smile.





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