A broken night's sleep. Some buzzy nocturnal insect threatening my head. A dream involving my in-laws, a client and the cast of "The Good Wife" in some protracted legal battle and I was exhausted. Though Kalinda did take a baseball bat to my sister-in-law, so there's some justice in the world.
Then a dig against my left ear and some gravelly voice saying "C'mon, big boy, you know you want to..." It's my left knee. It wants to get up and run around. It's 6:30. My knee is stoopid.
But I'm kind to my knee these days and do what I'm told. A cup of tea and an appropriate running quote:
“Now bid me run, and I will strive with things impossible.”
Shakespeare had it easy. There weren't kilometres then. Or an app. Or running. He just wandered around London's South Bank with a quill and some parchment and then sat in Starbuck's all day.
So. Week 3. I remember Week 3. It was the week that seemed to involve actual running for the first time and the first week that felt really tricky. Stupidly I'm a bit nervous. But tea and the playful, puppyish enthusiasm of my left leg give me no choice.
Up to Sheepstreet Lane today. Long and straight, with a gradual incline on the way out. Turn around at the top and it's all faintly downhill. Cheating perhaps, but easier. And I love my knee. And so far my knee loves me too.
I do have some 160+ BPM tracks on my playlist, but I'm starting with the slower and familiar to wake my legs up. I walk along with LedZep. "Ten Years Gone". Again. Creature of habit. I concentrate when I've set the tech going. So this is in A major, right? So that awesomely brilliant opening bass guitar line from JPJ goes down to an F natural, so that's a d minor chord in A major. But there's an added 9th in there too. Woteva. It's a fantastic track. I silence my inner musical nerd, tho pianoteacher would probably give me some better analysis
Laura gives me some advice about not bouncing. Sound. I check my form. Up straight, shoulders relaxed. Hips forward. Apparently Bill Bowerman's (US track athlete and founder of Nike) top tip on hip position was to go for the angle of "deepest penetration". I'm sure I don't know what that means, but you probably couldn't get away with saying that these days. Sounds a bit rum to me.
"Ten Years Gone" has segued into "When the Levee Breaks". The biggest, baddest, most sampled drum sound in all of rock music. Wowsa, blimey. Blimey those lads couldn't half play good.
90 seconds done. Into my first 3 minute run. This is my first extended bit of running all week. Feels okay. No niggles. I'm using my arms properly now.
Top tip: Think of your arms as your accelerator. Where your arms go, your legs and feet will follow. So pump your arms a bit. Relaxed shoulders. Elbows back like you're jabbing someone behind you. It works. My feet follow. Feels good now.
LedZep give way to The Buzzcocks. "Autonomy". BPM in the 160+ zone now. What a great little band they were. I remember the summer of 1978 on the West Coast of Scotland, off Oban, listening to nothing else than "Another Music" and reading Middlemarch. What a peculiar child I was. In the rain. Cycling around in yellow oilskins and spinning for mackerel.
The The's "Dogs of Lust" has given way to The Adverts "Gary Gilmore's Eyes". I'm in the zone now. Pattering along. Not pacey, but fast little feet. Not out of breath, but a bit sweaty. Feeling grand. And a nice quiet road on a warm Sunday morning.
Last three minutes. Squeeze now. "Is That Love". Another cracking band and a great little song. This is for you roseabi xx
And almost before I know it, we're done. A W3 run revisited and bagged up. Feels good and feels so much more relaxed than it did in, what, May, when I did it the first time. When it all started with a single step.
So if you're in Week 3 now, or about to start it, or in Weeks 1 or 2, or even way beyond that, I leave you with a little thought from Martin Dugard:
"All runners announce their entry into the sport with the most basic athletic action: a step... A splendid step, a quiet step, a lonely step; born of some inner dialogue, some longing to be different, to be—not the best—but at least better. The step takes less than a second. Doubts are silenced in that whisper of time. Lives are changed."
Let's go out there, every one of us, and change our lives one little step at a time.
Happy stepping to all and see you in Week 4 xx