I had to do something about my fears of finishing, so for my third run of Week 7 I decided to ditch Laura. Like many others, I wasn't enjoying her music - I particularly disliked the instrumentals - endlessly repetitive and reminding me of the Countdown music, and I hated the gaps between one track ending and another beginning. I'd intended to make my own playlist but didn't get round to it, but last week I'd been given Wrecking Ball by Bruce Springsteen for my birthday ( I'm old enough to still have CDs) and decided I would just download that. I'd heard it a couple of times, but always when I was doing something else, so I liked the idea of being able to really concentrate on the lyrics, because Springsteen's songs are often like short stories.
Yesterday was sunny and cold with a chilly wind, above the Heath the sky was bright blue to the east and the colour of a nasty bruise in the west. Lots of dog walkers with 7 or 8 dogs each, looking as if the were on a casting call for 101 Dalmation, children on half-term, gas men diiging up the grass to lay new pipes and a sprinkling of other runners. Unusually for me, I found I was grinning at all of them like a maniac as I ran past, leaving a haze of talcum powder in my wake (I'd been Miss Havisham at a Halloween party the night before).
Wrecking Ball is not a jolly upbeat album; the lyrics describe desperation and hopelessness, unemployment and depression, but the effect was truly uplifting. I'm always amazed that after 30 years of playing stadiums and earning millions Springsteen can still tell these stories of blue collar lives with such conviction. I don't think it was just the wind that caused a tear in my eye listening to Jack of All Trades.
I'll mow your lawn, clean the leaves out your drain
I'll mend your roof to keep out the rain
I'll take the work that God provides
I'm a Jack of all trades, honey, we'll be alright
Despite the mud and the slippery leaves under foot I ran the whole 25 minutes with no problem and a smile on my face. The music took my mind off the running and gave me lots of other things to think about. The friend who gave me the CD first introduced me to Sprinsteen's music back in the 70s, and since then we've danced and sung our hearts out to him on several occasions, most recently in wellingtons, in the mud, at the Isle of Wight Festival last summer. Listening to the music gave me a connection to the rest of my life that Laura never could.
Like Charlie Brooker (see my blog But I've always hated running) I've never wanted to run, I hate manmade fibres, trainers, logos and being told what to do. This whole experience of Couch25K has been completely alien. I'm feeling the very real sense of grief that smokers go through when they finally give up. I've lost that cynical, unfit, rather overwight person I used to be and I miss her. Yesterday, by running to music that reminded me of my real, pre-running life I found a way of connecting my old and new selves.
Baby, we were born to run.