You may have spotted on my new Twitter feed (bottom right) that I didn’t run home on Friday. Sometimes it is best to listen to your body, and all through the weekend I had that feeling that I might be about to go down with something – but then I’ve been feeling a bit like that since the beginning of December, when I had 2 days off work with flu, and I’ve been a bit coughy, and rather phlegmmy every since.
Usually I really enjoy running (in fact I really enjoy any physical activity) but my mind works in a strange way, and seems to think it enjoys sitting on the tube/playing computer games/watching MasterChef more. (one of those is true, but I also enjoy being gorgeous, and running is the only thing that keeps me from being an amorphous sofa bound blob, washing myself with a rag on a stick.).
So I scratched Friday’s run, and went home on the tube – as it often is when I should have run home, it was a hellish journey, and I didn’t get a seat until Stockwell. And then I had to elbow a pregnant pensioner aside to beat her to it – and it was one of those really solid fold down ones.
On Sunday morning – I felt pretty up for it – my mind was back in the right place, and I was looking forward to a bracing 11 miler. About 3 miles in, I was stopping to walk, feeling weird, and wheezing like an asthmatic with a really good idea in a 30’s comic.
Lisa took pity on me, and walked me back to the car. I drove home, while she got a proper run in by running home. I wasn’t happy.
Whenever things aren’t going my way in any of my chosen ventures, I start to reconsider my motivation for that venture. You can tell I’m having a terrible time at work, because I’ll go and buy a new synthesizer, in the mistaken belief that I’ll become a pop star instead. (I sold loads of these recently and bought a new TV – a 37inch LCD doesn’t give me delusions of musical talent).
When I’m having a bad time running (I have a marathon in 2 months, and my first 20 miler is on Sunday, and in the last 2 weeks I’ve run a total of twice, covering about 16 miles between those two runs – I’m calling it a rest period, but its not going to help my chances) I start to question my motives for running. I enjoy it (most of the time) but what am I going to achieve? Maybe I have really high standards, but will I one day look back at my running career and be pleased that I ran 4 marathons (yes – I’m already very proud of that) or will I be disappointed that after 5 years of running, I never progressed further than “mediocre” (this is what I’m worried about).
I don’t have the dedication to improve hugely, and even if I did – where would it get me? I don’t have an enormous desire to be “a better runner”, I just have a desire to be “fit and healthy and happy and beautiful” and I’m mostly there.
I took a year off the marathons (well – about 8 months off between finishing the last, and starting the training for the next) because I realised I was losing big chunks of my life to running. When you need to run 15-20 miles each weekend, its quite difficult to visit the family, go out with friends, or sit in front of a computer, or with a guitar on my lap being creative (which is actually the easiest thing to fit in around the running).
I went swimming at lunchtime today, and loved it - 500 metres in all manner of unidentifiable strokes in about 25 minutes. (I only have 2 gears in swimming – swimming and hanging onto the side of the pool panting. Technically there is another – drowning – but I’ve avoided that one so far)
I also bought myself a swanky new bike the other day, and had a great time being shown that all the lightweight carbon fibre in the world won’t make me faster than the wife when it comes to powering up the hills in Richmond Park!
I want to do a triathlon. It’s a goal – it impresses people (as much as having run marathons) and it is something I can do that Lisa can’t do (she can swim, but only in a splashing about trying to make sure her contact lenses don’t float away type way).
I’m hoping that by starting off as a mediocre runner, and adding the ability to cycle in a pretty mediocre way, as well as training really hard to be a mediocre swimmer, I will then become more than the mediocre sum of my mediocre parts, and become a passable triathlete.
All the way though – I’ll be making sure I enjoy all aspects of the training – keep healthy and happy and beautiful (beeeefcaaake!) and have plenty of time for being creative.