Mojo Agogo

My most recent post saw me coming to terms with the ups and downs of running, accepting the fact that there will always be periods where things don’t go to plan. Into each life a little rain must fall. You take the rough with the smooth. However long the day, night must fall. Never tempt an irksome bear with a novelty chicken. I made the last one up, but you can use it if you like.

Anyway, for all my acceptance, things didn’t go smoothly and since we last spoke I went through another week of…

Well, that’s the thing. I wasn’t exactly sure what it was. I wanted to run, I felt motivated and not particularly lethargic. It just seemed like there weren’t as many hours in the day any more. Where just a few weeks ago I was fitting in a couple of 2 hour runs a week along with at least one or two shorter ones, now it seemed like there was always something in the way. The few times where I could in theory have gone out for a run, I mistimed it so I’d just eaten a big dinner or it clashed with Mrs Plod’s thermodynamics evening class. Or yoga, I’m forever getting the two confused. The Pumpkin Run was less than three weeks past, but that heady race (and the training for it) seemed like a lifetime ago. Running Me felt like a stranger and Sofa Me was calling the shots, backed up by his whiny little mate, Procrastinating Me.

It could have been that my mind had seen me achieve the goal of the Half-Marathon and decided that I’d done all I needed to and could call it quits for a bit. It might have been something to do with the clocks changing, and the nights drawing in. It could have been bloody crop-circles and leprechauns for all I know, but whatever the reason, one thing was for sure…

My mojo had deserted me.

Of course, my only two options were to snap out of it, or to resign myself to the fact that I was destined to return to my pre-running life. I considered the latter, but there’s a limit to how many cheese-strings one man can eat or how many hours can be whiled away watching box-sets of obscure 90’s sketch shows. I decided to enlist the help of some fellow runners, so posted a plea for help on the runners forum I frequent. The response was almost instantaneous and, for the most part*, helpful. Have a look at to see just how tough love works in the running world.

Two and a half hours after posting on the forum, I was feeling inspired and back to my normal self. I’d also Done A Thing. I’d been tapping away on my laptop, and while aiming for the “Alt Gr” key (or one of the other ones that nobody has any idea what they do) I’d accidentally hit the key marked “Enter a Half Marathon that takes place in just three bloody weeks. You bloody idiot”.

So, I’m now officially signed up for the Bedford Half Marathon 2011, which kicks off on the morning of December 11th, and (considering I’ve just had what is essentially a three-week taper) finishes sometime after the Only Fools and Horses triple-bill on Boxing Day. A few days has passed since I signed up for it, and I’ve gone from “oh well, I’ll just walk most of it” to a feeling of being back to where I was.

A flipping runner. So there.

The route is apparently quite hilly and made up of winding country roads, so last night I attempted a nice easy LSR around the hilliest streets Kettering has to offer. I normally prefer trail runs, but the darker nights (and lazier mornings) are making this difficult, until some kind head-torch company decides to send me some freebies to review.


Anyway, my point is that I’m now trying to get into road running, and I’m finding the transition surprisingly pleasant. There’s not much difference to be honest, it’s mostly just a case of substituting badgers for Ford Mondeos and wicker men for glue-sniffers. I’ll blog more about the surprising joys of urban(ish, this is Kettering after all) running another time, but the important thing about last nights run was that it was great. I plodded through 7.5 miles at an average-to-slow pace**, stopping to buy a drink and not worried about speed, just happy to put some miles back into my legs. I felt like I’d covered more miles than I had, but that was more of a geographical feeling than a “OhmygodthishurtsandI’mbreathingoutofmyknees” one, and I was in that happy place of being able to hold a conversation throughout the run***.

I ended the run with a hill that a couple of years ago had nearly killed me (and that’d been on its own, without a 7.5 mile henchman to soften me up first) and found myself bounding up it before grinning from ear to ear as I jogged the last hundred metres to my house.

Why, hello there Mr Mojo, you cheeky scamp. Where’ve you been hiding all this time?


*Actually, it was all helpful. It’s just that while some opted for gentle encouragement and sound advice, most preferred to bombard me with threats and sinister ultimatums. But they were well-intentioned threats and sinister ultimatums, and also really quite creative, so they seemed to do the trick.
**Well, it’s average-to-slow now. A year ago I wouldn’t have dreamed that I’d be able to run even a fraction of that distance at such a pace. And that, folks, is what I was hoping for when I started thinking of writing my “first anniversary of running” post.
***I was on my own, so I didn’t actually have a conversation. That’d be weird, and I’m definitely not weird. No, the conversation was held entirely in my head, and was with my friend Kevin who’s a talking owl. He’s got a bit of a stammer and smells of butterscotch.


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