The more you run, the better you get. Sort of goes without saying really, so it stands to reason that after sticking with this running lark for around a year and a half I can now go a bit faster and a bit further than I could before.
But sometimes it doesn’t hurt to be reminded that I’m still a plodder at heart.
A couple of weeks ago I was half a mile into a tempo run around a local reservoir, far enough in that my legs had properly warmed up and I’d settled into a nice quick stride. It was at that point that I spotted my quarry. As friendly and inclusive as running is, there’s still a certain thrill to be had from spotting a fellow runner up ahead and reeling them in until you can pull off a nifty little overtake.
He was still a little way off in the distance, maybe 200m or so, but I was maintaining a good pace so started to close in before too long. But then as I started to draw near he seemed to be going faster than I’d first thought, and I had to make a decision. Did I step up my speed and go for the overtake, or stay as I was and risk social awkwardness by doggedly following him from a 20m distance, like a sweaty but determined stalker.
Obviously I went for option A, and eventually drew level with my nemesis. Glancing to my left as I passed him, I raised a hand in a friendly wave*…
Which is when the penny dropped…
I, a fully grown man dressed head-to-toe in technical wicking fabrics, wearing garish minimalist running shoes and sporting the latest sophisticated touchscreen GPS gadgetry on my wrist had just spent the best part of 5 minutes trying to overtake…
(deep breath, try not to get angry with myself)
A spotty, greasy-haired, slightly chunky fourteen year old, in scruffy school uniform (including satchel and scuffed brogues) ambling (AMBLING!) along while listening to some oversized headphones and BLOODY WELL TEXTING!!!
In my defence, he did seem to be in a bit of a hurry. But I mean “hurry” in the sense of “hurrying to get home before Blue Peter starts” rather than “Usain Bolt was in a bit of a hurry to get across the finish line”.
I shall now stop saying “hurry” and will instead have a little bit of a cry.
Over the last two or three months I’ve lost quite as bit of weight, and this combined with a new improved training ethos has seen my runs get faster and easier. The downside of this has been that there have been a couple of occasions where I’ve found myself thinking like a top-of-my-game runner, with marathons and ultras and 6-minute miles being just a formality that I haven’t got round to doing yet. So as annoying as it was to nearly have to eat the dust of Roland off of Grange Hill, it was actually a well-timed slice of reality pie.
Now I want pie,
PS: A friend of mine, Dan, writes a blog in which he talks to his kids about all the things that are great about running (and, in turn, life in general). I’d urge you to read some of his stuff as it’s beautifully written and will strike a chord with anyone who’s ever laced up a pair of running shoes. There’s a bit in his most recent post that really stood out for me, so I thought I’d stop talking about smurfs and pirates for a moment and share it with you…
“While (running) takes me away from home for a while, it’s the fact that I’m running home a better person that keeps me going.”
Want more? Go here: http://www.therunningman-hibar.blogspot.co.uk
Bye!*Like I said, we’re a friendly bunch, which is why I opted for this, rather than the (albeit tempting) “Ha! Wanker! I bloody own you!!!”
(Artists impression of me versus my slouchy adversary)