Ooh, this is exciting. I’ve never done a foreword before. Okay, so it’s not quite can’t-stand-up-in-the-library exciting, but it’s at least on a par with getting the new Argos catalogue or finding a forgotten curly wurly in a suit pocket. Anyway, the purpose of this foreword is to explain that some of you may experience a feeling of deja vu when reading todays post.
Born to Plod has just been accepted as one of the featured blogs on The Running Bug, and it was suggested that I write an introductory post to ease any new readers into the oddness that is my brain. Obviously, my time is valuable (that Chorlton and the Wheelies box set won’t watch itself y’know) so I took the easy option and treated the original “About Me” section of the blog to a liberal dose of copying, pasting and general tweaking. Here’s the end result…
I’ve been writing Born to Plod for a while now, in fits and starts, and it’s served me well as a handy way of purging all the randomness that accumulates in what passes for my brain during runs. But now I think it’s time to share the love, and inflict said randomness onto others, which is why a couple of weeks back I replied to the thingy on The Running Bug that was asking for blogs to feature on the website. One positive response later, and here I am. However, it’s been suggested that as Born to Plod (or B2P, as I’d probably call it if I was Puff Daddy) has been going for a few months already, it might be an idea to write an exclusive Running Bug post to welcome new readers into my happy little world.
Well, firstly I’m not Puff Daddy, for those of you who were still wondering. In fact, I’m probably not even Busta Rhymes or Henry the Rapping Troubadour*. No, what I am is in fact a normal bloke who enjoys putting one foot in front of the other and repeating. A runner.
To find out how it all started, let’s step back in time to November 2010. It might help if you squint and imagine there’s loads of clocks with the hands all whizzing backwards. Perhaps a calendar will be flicking back through the months, but it’d have to be one of the ones where you tear off a page every day; you won’t get the same effect with a Girls of Hollyoaks wall calendar or (for the ladies) something that sees each month marked by a different photograph of a fireman breastfeeding a kitten. Still with me? Excellent.
So, I started running almost a year ago, but even today I still feel a little uncomfortable describing myself as an actual proper runner. Okay, bit harsh… I do class myself as a runner, but would hesitate before describing what I do as “running”. Or is it the other way round? The self-deprecation stems from the fact that for most of my life I’ve never had the best of relationships with running. Something to do with the fact that I have teensy tiny little ewok legs and a lung capacity that turned me into a wheezing crimson heap whenever I attempted a gentle jog of more than 50 metres.
I tried to dabble with running over the years, but it never took off. Every now and then I’d get on a bit of a fitness kick and go out for a (laboured) one-mile jog, returning home steaming with sweat and brimming with smugness. This would traditionally last for two or three runs over a period of as many weeks and then stop dead in its tracks, leaving me resigned to being “cuddly” for another six months or so, at which point the whole sorry cycle would start again.
Don’t get me wrong, I’ve never been REALLY unfit. It’s just that I wasn’t fit either. I inhabited a horrible little niche between the two which meant that while I struggled to run the length of my kitchen** I wasn’t quite bad enough that it forced me to commit to proper consistent exercise.
I’ve just realised that I keep talking about this in the past tense, suggesting that I’ve shed the old me and am now a glistening granite-stomached Olympian, writing this blog purely as a slap in the face to you pudgy mere mortals as I laugh into my wheatgrass-and-self-righteousness protein smoothie. That’s not the case (yet!) but I do feel like I’ve come a long way since my first faltering steps. This year has seen me achieve distances I always thought were only possible for other people, “proper” runners. And while, compared to marathons and ultras, these are still modest distances, it’s enough. Okay, so I’m not the quickest or the most graceful, but I enjoy the hell out of it. I love the sense of freedom that comes with stepping out for even the shortest run, and the fact that even by doing something as simple as taking a different turn on a familiar route I feel a buzz of adventure. It’s been said before, but I think it’s true that we get so used to driving around everywhere that going out for a run lets us see everything through fresh eyes, adding a whole new dimension to things we’ve looked at a thousand times but never actually seen. All very worthy and profound – try reminding me of that when I’m on my seventh mile and my legs feel like they’re somehow made simultaneously of both cement and blancmange.
Basically, the reason I started this blog was as a kick up the arse to keep me motivated, and also as somewhere to jot down the (generally stupid) things that go through my head as I plod merrily along the streets and trails. Please don’t take my grumbling self-deprecation too seriously – it’s just my cunning way of distracting people from the big cheesy I-Love-Running grin that finds itself stamped to my face whenever I’m plodding along.
Hope you enjoy the blog.
*One of those isn’t a real rap person. Why not make a fun game of trying to work out which one?
**Although this would be quite impressive if my kitchen was 50 miles across. It isn’t, in case you were wondering. I did toy with the idea, but then realised that by the time I got from the kettle to the fridge, my coffee would be cold.