I’ve been remiss lately with this blog, inevitably falling into a bit of a slump after the initial glory days. At one point I was spending more time blogging than breathing. True story*.
That’s not to say I haven’t been running. Heck no (and that’s swearing. Take that, society), I’ve still been getting out there and putting foot to pavement, I just haven’t been writing about it afterwards. I suppose this is because as I’ve become (marginally) better at running, I’ve been focussing more on the running itself, and less on having adventures. It hasn’t helped that over the last couple of months while on my travels I’ve encountered no pirates, no bears, hardly any ninjas, I’ve failed miserably to get even a little bit abducted by aliens, and seen no blowtorch-wielding squirrels (well, one. But I really don’t want to talk about it).
But anyway, I digress.
I digress quite a lot, come to think of it. I’m really rather good at it. In fact, I’m digressing right now. If I’m not careful I can quite often digress from my digressions. It’s not uncommon for a level 4 digression spiral to leave me lying drooling in the gutter, casually muttering something about turnips.
So, today I went running. Yes, this is a running blog in case you’d forgotten. I know I had. It was a nice 10k lunchtime plod around the lake, accompanied by 25 degree heat. Heat, as I’ve mentioned before is not my friend. In fact it’s probably the closest thing I’ve got to a nemesis. Okay, maybe not on a par with Skeletor, but certainly up there with the likes of Baron Silas Greenback or Robo-Hitler**.
The majority of the run went by in a huffy-puffy blur, topped off with a few minutes shaved off my Personal Best. But it’s not the majority of the run I want to talk to you about, it’s the bit at the end.
It had been one of those nice runs where despite (or possibly because of) the hard work, every step had been an adventure of self-discovery. As I came into the final mile I started to formulate a cunning finishing strategy. The route I’d taken meant that I’d end up overshooting my start point (i.e. where I’d parked the car) by over half a mile if I wanted to make it a nice even 10k. My plan was to keep running past the start point for a bit, then turn and run a short distance back the way I’d came until I hit the 10k mark, at which point I’d relax and have a gentle stroll of 100m or so back to my car as a cool-down***.
As enjoyable as the run had been, it was still hard work and my legs and lungs were ganging up on me, screaming for it to be over. I plodded on, safe in the knowledge that in just a few short steps it’d be time to turn around and run the last gruelling steps towards the end. I kept glancing at my Garmin like a clock-watching child on Christmas Eve, calculating and recalculating, dividing the remaining distance into smaller and smaller units as a way of distracting myself from my aching limbs. Just another ten metres, and then I’d get to turn around for the home stretch. Five metres. Four. Three. Two…
Sweeping in out of nowhere like a lycra-clad ninja (where were you seven paragraphs ago? Bloody ninjas!) came another runner, passing me in the opposite direction. Okay, so now I had to make an important decision. Did I…
A: Turn around and run back towards my car, exactly as planned. Imagine her joy as the strange sweaty man who had just grunted as she passed suddenly turned and started lumbering after her. Chasing her. Her pace had seemed to be a little quicker than mine, so in my exhausted state I wouldn’t even have the option of overtaking her to ease her growing terror at being stalked by what was clearly a psychopathic cannibal who had recently killed and ate a jogger and stolen his clothes.
B: Curl up into a ball, throw my shoes in the lake and have a little cry.
C: Keep bloody running in the same bloody direction.
Clearly, being the chivalrous (i.e. socially awkward) gentleman that I am, “A” wasn’t an option, and I didn’t think of “B” at the time, so my decision was made for me. I plodded on, wheezing as I tortured myself with the thought that I was getting further and further from where I wanted to be. Strangely, the runner seemed to be bending the laws of time and space in a way that meant that although, as mentioned, she was moving quite quickly, she was also taking forever to get far away enough for me to turn around and definitely not be chasing her. After what seemed like a lifetime it was finally time for me to turn around and start running for the finish. Again the countdown started, this time even sweeter than before. Three. Two…
I DON’T BLOODY BELIEVE IT! ANOTHER ONE! ARE THESE PEOPLE WAITING IN HEDGES??? SITTING THERE RUBBING THEIR HANDS TOGETHER IN THE GLEEFUL HOPE THAT THEY CAN FORCE ANOTHER HUNDRED METRES OUT OF SOME POOR SHORT-LEGGED OUT-OF-BREATH RUNNER WHO’S OVERLY CONSCIOUS OF MAKING A STALKY SOCIAL FAUX PAS? Clearly, the answer was yes.
Luckily, just as I was about to
D: Snap, push them into the lake, and generally go a bit Lord of the Flies,
my Garmin helpfully beeped, telling me that I’d done 10k and probably wouldn’t be getting arrested for watery assault after all. I stopped, turned on my heel and began a triumphant walk back to my car. A few metres ahead of me, I was sure I saw runner number two glance worriedly over his shoulder, but by then I was past caring. I knew I wasn’t an axe-murderer, and in my exhausted state that was enough.
*Not a true story.
**If you’re a hotshot film director, the exclusive rights to Robo-Hitler can be yours for a surprisingly reasonable sum.
***Yes, I know I keep switching back and forth between metric and imperial. If you think it’s confusing now, just wait until the next blog post, where I plan to measure my distances in not only miles and metres, but also in ounces, parsecs and baboons.