This morning I woke up needing the loo.
And how is that for a punchy introductory sentence? I’ve not updated my blog in an age, but clearly haven’t lost my literary touch.
I shuffled through to my freezing cold bathroom (really must figure out those boiler settings some time soon) eyes half closed, assuming it was about 3am. To my acute surprise and immense dismay I noticed the sky was just beginning to get light… Without a doubt, this would be a disappointing occurrence any workday morn, but it was especially niggling today because just before retiring for the evening, I decided against setting my alarm to awaken me for a crack-of-dawn run. Instead, I said to myself ‘if I have had enough sleep and hence wake up early naturally, I shall go running’… And look what effing well went and happened. I woke up ‘naturally’ and then returned to bed feeling annoyed that not only did I not have another 4 hours to languish beneath the duvet, but that I had also let myself down and FAILED in my quest to go for a stupid early run, even though I had clearly woken up on time. Equally clearly, I shouldn’t have had that last cup of tea before bed and then I would have slept blissfully unaware all the way through ‘running time’.
This reminds me of when my dad took my sister and me on a cycling holiday to Orkney when we were teenagers. ‘Holiday’ is something of a misnomer here – think endless hills, relentless winds and a diet consisting predominantly of oatcakes and sweaty cheese with the occasional treat of a sticky bar of Orkney fudge. Dad and Wee Sis had a whale of a time. Me, not so much. Anyway, Dad forgot to bring an alarm clock and, in his infinite wisdom, decided that the best way for us to wake up one morning (to catch the ferry off the tiny, almost unpopulated island where we had spent the night), was to drink loads of water before bed, thus ensuring our bulging bladders would awaken us. Of course they woke us up, they woke us up hours before we needed to be awake, and of course we couldn’t relieve ourselves in case we subsequently fell asleep and missed the boat, as it were. As it was, we did catch the boat (the lady in the B&B was rather bemused as to why we hadn’t asked to borrow an alarm clock as we arrived for breakfast bleary eyed and grumpy), and Dad denies this ever happened.
I was recently discussing this forgetful-parent phenomenon with a friend. It would appear that it’s not only my own parents who have this unwavering ability to deny all knowledge of highly memorable childhood events. My dad is not my only parent that this applies to. My mother vehemently denies the time a drunk old man (okay, I say he was old, but he was probably about 35), picked my toddler sister up as we were walking down Girvan main street one morning and said “Oh what a lovely little boy”. My mum snapped “Put her down, now. And she’s a girl.” I know it happened, I remember it clearly, I could even pinpoint the exact point on the street where in occurred, but Mum’s memory is blank. A bit like when I remind her of how she used to mix brown and white rice together thinking we wouldn’t notice.
I’m waffling. As I was saying earlier, I’m in a bit of a bad mood today as I am sorely disappointed in myself due to the fact that I didn’t get up and go for a run this morning (don’t be too concerned, I’m almost over it). So, I am updating my blog in a ‘I maybe didn’t go for a run, but I did tick ONE thing off my to-do list today’ kind of a manner.
I really would like to believe that my new-found love* of running is the reason that I have failed to update this blog for such a long time (78 days, according to WordPress – what is it about technology and its desire to make you feel bad?) It sounds kind of noble, doesn’t it – far better than saying that I’ve been watching far too much catch-up TV whilst consuming mulled wine. Perhaps it is the case that running is to blame for my lapse in creativity, although truth be told, the actual running doesn’t account for very many of these misspent hours (not only does WordPress update me on my lack of productivity; Map My Run likes to remind me how few hours I’ve spent pounding the pavements, too. I even get email updates that I don’t know how to turn off). I do however, manage to spend an inordinate amount of time partaking in the running-related activities listed below:
- Planning running routes – it turns out there’s an amazing programme to help you do this (okay, amazing to me) http://gb.mapometer.com/ It’s possible to wile away hours deciding where to run (always longer than the run itself and often so long that it is suddenly and inexplicably too late/dark/cold to venture outside…How tragic, but it’s the thought that counts, right?).
- Perusing online shops for state-of-the-art running gear that I never knew I needed (and couldn’t possibly afford, even if I could justify the expense). Clearly if I had the desire (or means) to buy it, I would run like the proverbial wind. PBs a go-go! (I found out very recently that PB stands for Personal Best, and like to sprinkle mentions of such into everyday conversation whenever possible – nothing beats a well-appointed reference to a PB). Map My Run is great on the matter of a wee PB, incidentally. It not only records PBs relating to a complete workout, but also to sections of a run. So if, say, you have to cross a busy road on your regular run and the cars don’t usually stop for you (I live in Reading, remember), and then one time somebody miraculously does stop to let you across (thus cutting your run time down by about 7 minutes of that jogging on the spot awkwardly malarkey), then you are ‘rewarded’ (with a virtual rosette and everything) a PB for that section of the run. You ‘achieve’ this PB regardless of whether you then have to wait for 14 minutes to cross the road on the way back, thus cancelling out all saved time. It makes for great anecdotes…
- Preparing for an imminent run, which generally goes something like this:- Decide to go for a run – psyche self up mentally (positive mental attitude is all the rage to the avid runner) – pee – post a pre-run photo/comment on social media – decide what to wear – hunt for favourite sports bra – get dressed – stretch – do a bit more psyching up – pee – search for something long-sleeved (it’s a wee bit nippy out there) – stretch – change out of the running leggings that slowly ease down over the hips over the course of a run, thus exposing mottled mid-rift to all and sundry, and into the ones that stay up but dig into your calves leaving unattractive circles round your legs for hours post-run – get a drink (hydration is important) – decide that the ‘thirst’ may actually be hunger pangs – hunt for trainers – realise it’s definitely hunger, and wouldn’t want to faint mid-run – prepare a small high-energy snack (cheese is always a winner, as is anything Nutella-based) – wash said snack down with another drink (hydration is important, especially the morning after excessive mulled-wine consumption) – decide on a suitable running playlist (crucial for optimum running performance) – sit down to watch an episode of Peep Show whilst small snack digests – pee – hunt for special running belt – stretch some more (stretches worn off whilst reclining on couch) – change socks (comfort is important to the serious runner) – put other leggings back on (will now have circles AND bare mid-rift, but circulation to feet is in danger of being cut off and that would not make for a PB) – realise it is warmer now so long sleeves not necessarily necessary – pee – put short-sleeved top back on – fiddle about with Map My Run; check friends’ stats (healthy competition is motivational to the serious runner) – realise that phone needs charged (so annoying when it cuts out mid run) – plug phone in (might as well watch another episode of Peep Show whilst it charges) – psyche self up to get off couch again – hunt for hairband (the wind has picked up and it’s really annoying and no doubt dangerous to run with your hair whipping about everywhere, obscuring your vision) – have a drink (hydration is important) – pee – look for keys – stretch – fiddle about taking door key off key-ring and putting it onto footery attachment thingy on running belt (now where did I put the running belt?) – re-lace trainers (loose shoes are not conducive to a good run) – leave house – go back in to pee again – leave house – start run.
- Updating social media with interesting information pertaining to my intentions to go for a run, or perhaps that day’s running stats, or maybe even a photo taken during my morning outing (with the tagline ‘taken during my morning run’, lest anyone wasn’t aware that I’d been for a smug run today).
- Scrolling through my stats on Map My Run (to be honest, I’m not sure it’s entirely accurate; I’ve definitely run more miles than it claims…)
- Daydreaming about how amazing it will feel to cross the finishing line of the half marathon that I’ve recently entered. I also like to daydream whilst running, about how I will subsequently run the London marathon, for example – nothing crazy like coming first or anything – but definitely beating a whole load of PBs. These daydreams tend to last as long as it takes until I catch a glimpse of the sweaty mess that is me dragging my weary body past a reflective surface. Leggings generally descending stubbornly, hair sticking to face). The BF has told me that if I complete the Reading half in under 2 hours, he will refund my entry fee (the likelihood of me completing this sub-2 hours is on a par with the likelihood of me buying an adult tricycle any time soon**). Luckily, he has also promised that if I finish in less than 2 hours 20, then he will, instead, treat me to dinner in a restaurant of my choice. Now I’m no mathematician, but even I can see that it would be rather foolish to aim to complete the run in under 2 hours – I can most definitely get more money’s worth in a posh restaurant.
- Dreaming about what I might eat in an amazing restaurant after the half marathon.
- Whiling away the hours/days feeling guilty because I had planned to go for a run…Thinking that I really should be out running (especially after partaking in all that ‘carb-loading’ last night….)… Wishing that I’d had the strength of character (and required lack of regard for a nice lie in) and sprung out of bed and into my running shoes at the crack of dawn this morning…Deciding to definitely go out for a run on Saturday morning instead – far more time to get ready on a Saturday (That is until it becomes abundantly clear that the prospect of a run in the cold is no match whatsoever for the lure of the new episode of Peep Show on catch-up, of course)…Etc.
Having read back through this, I can see how one could possibly suggest that maybe I should consider cutting ties with all these apps that monitor progress, and just run/write for the sheer joy of it… (Yeah right, what would be the point in that?! It would almost be like it never even happened if I can’t post it on Facebook…) But one thing is for sure, it’s getting mightily cold out there and running is becoming rather less appealing, so watch this space for more rants – I need to release this pent-up frustration somehow!***
*I’m not entirely sure that I ‘love’ running…. However, I do love that brief period of time after a run when those lovely endorphins rush the system, and I love being part of that smug elite who can casually drop into conversation anecdotes such as “Cold, yes it is rather cold. During my run this morning, I thought my toes were going to fall off… Yes yes it is cold for this time of year…Did I mention I went for a run today? Dinner tonight? Yes, that would be lovely. No, you choose, I don’t mind where we go, but I’ll need to eat lots to fuel my run tomorrow morning….” I also love being able to eat lots of lovely tasty things in an entirely guilt-free manner (I believe ‘carb-loading’ is the technical term…)
** To be continued. Feel free to remind me about this future rant at a later date, should it escape my mind.
*** Also, I currently have workmen replacing my kitchen, and if that’s not material for a new rant, I don’t know what is…