Once you’ve finished swit-swooing at my rather handsome legs, please take a moment to admire and appreciate…new socks! These are L-XL, gawd knows who fits into the S-M? People with hooves, I guess. They’re almost harder to squeeze into than the base layers.
Friday night I was off out Week 2-ing and zipping around my makeshift racetrack. There was decisively more huffing and puffing than I was expecting; we’ve got a 4-week old baby boy at home, so clean sleep that extends beyond an hour is currently rarer than a decent Country and Western song. I think I’m feeling the effects.
I was ridiculously lucky with the weather last week though. I ran Monday, Wednesday, Friday and Sunday, all lovely and clear whereas Tuesday and Thursday were foul-to-biblical and Saturday was blowing a hooley. My bit of extra…ahem…surface area... would’ve turned me into a mainsail and I would’ve been whisked away to Oz to squash a wicked witch. She’d have had a better chance of survival with Dorothy’s house, that’s for sure. If I landed on her, those sparkly shoes would’ve been blown off into the sunset. I actually nearly gave myself an extra day of rest on Monday due to someone (unbeknownst to me) draining all the blood from my legs and replacing it with battery acid. But I talked myself out the door so, as it was, I stayed in blighty the whole time.
W2R2 was Sunday morning; I needed to take it slow and easy as I wanted to take my daughter out for the day (3rd birthday on Monday) which meant leaving something in the tank to get me through.
This is where things start to get somewhat familiar.
When I run, I’ve got one speed and one speed only. If I try and go faster, bits start flying off me like a clown’s car and if I try to slow it down, my limbs become harder to coordinate than excited puppies. I become the personification of a drunk orchestra. I seem to compensate my lack of forward motion with an increased upward motion, and gravity doesn’t seem to take kindly to me trying to escape its clutches. It grabs hold and yanks me back down with a meteoric thud. My usual graceful gait turns into a calamitous, jolty, lock-kneed stagger. Picture someone running on stilts. I was leaving foot-sized craters in my wake. My run-route now looks like the surface of the moon. Or an acned teenager’s cheeks. Whichever is more potted.
Add to that the boredom…going slow is just sooooooooo dull.
I love the feeling of collapsing after a run and spending five minutes on my knuckles and knees, oozing a sweat puddle and claiming all the oxygen in a four-mile radius for myself. After that, I’m run drunk. I’m walking around in a 1980’s New York style strut – all low-shouldered and flappy armed - and telling the mother-in-law that I love her. This time, my heart rate never made it past “mildly-aroused” and the only sweat was in a Friar Tuck ring underneath my ridiculously woolly hat. I swear they had to break into a second sheep to knit that one together.
No post-run euphoria. My mother-in-law (she lives with us for the time being, by the way) was waiting expectedly at the front door for her juice, but was left wonting and disappointed at the cold, firm British handshake she received instead. Although my heart rate never got the soles of its shoes off the ground, my legs were grumbling and groaning like an old lady whose bus is late. They didn’t un-tense for a moment, even though I did all my pre-warm-up-walk swings and wiggles. Changing direction was like steering a narrow boat.
After showering and flexing in front of a mirror (physique update: still look like a giant pink croissant), I got my best gal dolled-up and off out to buy some new trainers, then on to Monkey Bizness (one of these indoor soft play zones) and then off to wash it all down with a succulent gastro-delight in the form of a McDonalds. Just for her though, I’m on a diet. But I think that, even at the age of three, she already understands social awkwardness because she was half turning her back on me whilst eating to escape my longing, unblinking stare.
Monkey Bizness is where I start getting to the point. And only 700 words in too. That’s a remarkable improvement.
For anyone who doesn’t know what I mean when I say “Soft Play Zone” then you have lived a happy life. Be thankful. It is a bright, multi-coloured Hell, full of over-excited kids running around (without a single warm-up walk, it has to be noted) screaming. It’s an indoor adventure playground; everything is cushioned, there’s an underlying and oppressive dull stench that’s unmistakably fat kids’ sweat. There are obstacles, tunnels, ladders, slides and a whole list of other nasties. When you’ve got a three year old, is not a place where you can relax with a coffee and get bitchy about the other kids, oh no. You’ve got to join in. You’ve got to get in there with them. You’ve got to stoop, crawl, clamber, crouch and try desperately not to guff in 5 year-olds’ faces when forced into contortionism that, ninety-nine percent of the time, is postured backside-in-air with pressure on stomach.
A deadly combination for anyone consciously trying to up their fibre intake.
You’ve got to stop other, bigger kids from pushing your kid without resorting to violence. You’ve got to pray to every single God that has ever been worshipped by mankind that you don’t get stuck in the helter-skelter.
And I did.
Well, not stuck-stuck, but I didn’t have a free, uninterrupted path downwards. I couldn’t pass smoothly by the bends (and it’s all bloody bends) so I had to constantly drag my heels and scoop my bum to free myself and get going again. There was about as much queuing going on as you’d expect to see in a Bazaar, so it’s no surprise that every time down, I was getting the dirty socks of someone else’s spawn crashing into my head and a tailback thereafter.
My littl’un ran out of steam after about forty-five minutes (gets her stamina from her mum. I was done after five.) and kept laying down in the middle of the stampede trail. Excellent! I hear you cry, this must mean she was ready to go. Nope. It just meant that I had to carry her up, over, under, round and through all this torture-ware in some kind of squatted stoop. After another forty-five minutes, I managed to bribe her away with all sorts of wild promises of sweets and ponies.
Oh yeah…I owe you a point to all this…
…I’ve only gone and tweaked my bloody knee again.
Forgive me while I sob gently and pathetically into my keyboard for a moment.
It feels like the onset of exactly the same thing that scuppered my last attempt at all this. It really has got me down. I feel genuinely pathetic (I know I’ve just used that word, but there are no adequate synonyms). It’s just a tweak, but I can feel it whenever I put pressure on it. I felt it all evening and again this morning when I got up. I’ve whacked a load of Voltarol on it today but I’m not sure it’s kicked in yet as I’m not really all that up to jauntily tandem biking down country lanes like they do in the advert.
I refuse to use those weighty, blood-drenched words that begin with I and C. For now, I’ll just say that I think I need to give it a couple of extra days’ rest. I’ve been here before so I know I’ve had my warning.
It’s a helter-skelter, this ride, and not one that I get stuck at the bends in.
AND IN OTHER VERY IMPORTANT NEWS!
I think I’ve talked my beloved wife into doing C25K. She’s breastfeeding at the moment and absolutely shattered with everything that comes with it, and doesn’t want to be running in the dark, but come spring, she’s going to be whizzing around with the rest of us and telling you lovely people aaaaaaallllll about it.
Technically, English is her second language, so you’ll have to forgive her when she inadvertently mixes up statements. Like when she means to say “My husband Paul is a slow, considerate and deeply satisfying lover” but gets it all a teensy bit jumbled up in her head and accidently writes something like, “complete and utter waste of a pair of trousers”.
Don’t worry, she’s nothing like me. She’s actually pretty normal and tolerable. I think she’ll do well, she’s got a hell of a lot of patience. Well, she has to have really.
Anyway, happy running you bunch of go-getters. I’ll be wistfully watching out the window (for a couple of days) and do some camp waving as you go by.