Helter-Skelters. The real and the metaphorical. - Couch to 5K

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Helter-Skelters. The real and the metaphorical.

PaulS83
PaulS83
32 Replies

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.

32 Replies
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John_W
John_WGraduate

One line summary would be nice ;-) (aka TL:DR)

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PaulS83
PaulS83
in reply to John_W

Ran. Took kid out. Hurt knee. Wife will C25K

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John_W
John_WGraduate
in reply to PaulS83

well played sir, well played. And thank you!

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Alast

Yet another entertaining & well written post from you. I would have said 'thanks for cheering up my afternoon' but then I got to the end, and it's not a happy ending...

Well, I suppose if you've been here before you know what the symptoms feel like so hopefully resting & Voltaroling will do the trick. All being well this is just a glitch, or maybe the 'powers that be' have rewarded you with a few days extra rest for being such a brilliant father to your daughter. Whatever the result, I hope that you'll be back out there again soon and carrying on moving forwards.

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PaulS83
PaulS83
in reply to Alast

Thanks. I’m sure I’ll disregard everything I’ve just said, go out gunning it and be on here an hour later whinging that it’s gotten worse. I’ve been cursed with an idiocy so frustrating that even I get angry with me.

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Bluecat9

You have a fantastically brilliant way with words. Thoroughly enjoyed reading your post and was there in that godawful soft play zone with you. So glad my days of soft play areas are past me now.

I am however sorry to read you’re facing an injury again. I hope you are healed soon and able to get back out there.

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PaulS83
PaulS83
in reply to Bluecat9

Thank you. I was trawling around there screaming in my brain, “Healthunlocked is going to hear about this!”

2 likes
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Stoozie
StoozieGraduate

Truly hilarious.

Do you write for a living?

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PaulS83
PaulS83
in reply to Stoozie

No. I’ve written a couple of short stories In the past and tried to write a script for a sitcom back in my early twenties, but just couldn’t knit it all together. Maybe I’ll try again when I retire, but for now just gotta earn that corn, baby.

1 like
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Dowat
DowatGraduate

Oh wowzers! You write most engagingly that I was in the depths of imagery of soft play when I returned to the reality of running life and the impending doom of the IC for you. Hope your tweaked knee does indeed recover speedily. Thank you for your superb post.

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PaulS83
PaulS83
in reply to Dowat

Sorry to drag you through the mire that is Monkey Bizness with me, hope I haven’t unleashed old, grainy, disturbing memories that you’ve locked away deep in your sub-conscious.

Just think, all this may have the same poignant legacy as Great War poetry. I can imagine school kids psycho-analysing my rants a hundred years from now.

1 like
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Wenderwoo

Fingers crossed a few extra days rest will see you right again. Loving the socks btw, and also looking forward to meeting your wife 👍😁

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PaulS83
PaulS83
in reply to Wenderwoo

Hopefully a few extra days will get me back on the straight and narrow, failing that, I’ve been googling knee donors. Not coming up with many sensible results yet though...

1 like
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Wenderwoo
Wenderwoo
in reply to PaulS83

Well at least people now have to opt out rather than opt in, so hopefully the wait won’t be to long 🦵🏼⬅️

1 like
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ktsok
ktsokGraduate

Oh bollocks. Sorry to hear that. Soft play areas aren’t kind on anyone over 3 feet. Perhaps you’re should get the calf compression sleeves that go with the socks, and then some knee squeeze supports? I have done that. You might look like you are running on stilts but the buggers won’t be able to collapse on you 😬

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ktsok
ktsokGraduate
in reply to ktsok

P.S. You forgot to fake tan the other leg.

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PaulS83
PaulS83
in reply to ktsok

I can’t unsee this now.

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PaulS83
PaulS83
in reply to ktsok

I know. I think the Royal Marines are missing a trick with their cargo nets and puddle crawling. Give ‘em 2 laps of kiddy-gauntlet. That’ll soon sift out the weaklings. It certainly sifted me out.

I’ll give it a few days and see how it is. Maybe I’ll get advice on knee supports as the one I bought last time was like wearing a cast.

This would never have happened if I had a Garmin.

1 like
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lexi6
lexi6Graduate
in reply to PaulS83

Oh noooooo! Sorry to hear about your knee. Think you should go buy one now, purely for medicinal purposes of course and your wife’s definitely going to need a Garmin when she starts C25, you can keep it warm for her!

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PaulS83
PaulS83
in reply to lexi6

She can have all my hand-me-downs. She may have to put a can of beans either side of her hips though to stop the shorts from falling down.

You’re absolutely right though. Spend therapy.

1 like
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PaulS83
PaulS83
in reply to ktsok

Just got some of these...is this the sort of thing you were talking about?

amazon.co.uk/gp/r.html?C=1V...

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ktsok
ktsokGraduate
in reply to PaulS83

Yes I have some a bit like that. Also, the company you got the socks from do a calf sleeve. I find them really good - and it means the circulation isn’t cut off at the ankle! It’s an absolute bugger getting them on and off, only slightly less difficult than the actual run, but when my knees are giving me trouble I do find the support helps...

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limberlou

Love the socks!!! A good brightly coloured pair of socks makes me run faster I’m sure!! But I do love my Injinjis ( the only thing that stops me blistering even in a walk down town).

And I thoroughly sympathise about Monkey Bizness ( Funderzone down our way and THATS A misnomer if ever I heard one!!!). The only people who have any fun are the rugrats and the people who get the profits from the horrendously priced/ nutrition less crap they sell as kiddies meals.

You are back on C25k I think? like me after injury/( illness in my case) and about the same - just done wk2r1 yesterday and about to do r2 tomorrow. Fingers crossed for your speedy recovery and hopefully you’ll be back out there again soon.

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PaulS83
PaulS83
in reply to limberlou

Yes, I remember you from the first incarnation. You say illness hampered you, nothing serious I hope?

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limberlou
limberlou
in reply to PaulS83

Nah, just the winter virus. I foolishly came out of retirement and went back to part-time work at my old place. There is an air con unit there that I swear has Legionnaires disease living in it. Every winter someone gets a bug and it just goes round and round the staff till about May. I started it at beg of October and only really felt well again about jan 4/5th. Nasty cold,chest infection and cough, and so so tired. It just went on and on and I foolishly carried on working and trying to battle through it. Couldn’t even run for 60 secs so the last time I ran was Oct 16th ( for about 7 mins including 4 walk breaks and then home again). Ridiculous as at the end of August I ran for 3 hours 15 mins without a walk break!!!

I couldn’t walk across the room without getting out of breath so ended up with aintibiotics in November, oral steroids and double up on inhalers in December and then antibiotics again just before New Year. So after 3 months of wheezing I’ve started again. Ok so far 🤞.

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Jell6
Jell6Graduate

Oh Paul! There aren't enough words ( probably because took them all!!)

I'm sure you will be pounding the pavements again soon. 😬

Nice socks ktsok is right about the tan though 🤣

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PaulS83
PaulS83
in reply to Jell6

Antidisestablishmentarianism.

There, that’s all of them.

It’s not my fault! The bottle ran out and my wife hid the marmite.

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limberlou
limberlou
in reply to PaulS83

Mmmmmmmm... marmite 🤪

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RubyFlame01

Fantastic and engaging story but.... I thought you had some magic socks that you were introducing to us lol

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PaulS83
PaulS83
in reply to RubyFlame01

I do, and I was. Some things are so beautiful that they transcend words.

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Maddee_6333
Maddee_6333Graduate

Love the writing style!

Daughter and I each smashed a toe on the same visit to a local Monkey Bizness last year. On different things!

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PaulS83
PaulS83
in reply to Maddee_6333

I came very close to smashing my toe actually. But seeing as it was going to be on a kid’s head, I talked myself down.

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