Running

Today I went for my second outdoor run of the year. For me, and indeed for most seasoned runners, that’s not something to shout from the rooftops, let alone broadcast on the internet. It was pretty cold (snowing, in fact) and I’ve never been a fan of running in the cold. Then again, neither am I a fan of running in the rain, running when it’s dark, running in remote, suburban areas, or running at then end of the day. I guess in that sense I’ve always been a bit of a ‘fair-weather’ runner; a runner who likes to have their cake and eat it (not that cake can really be used appropriately in an analogy about running, but you get my drift). As most of you will know, however, (if you’ve read my list) I’ve recently renewed a pledge that I made with a friend back in 2011 to run a marathon before I turn 30, and preferably within the next 2 years. What this means is that I really need to get my backside into gear if I want to make it happen.

Running has never been something that I’ve ever been really good at, though when I was at school I wasn’t particularly good at any kind of sport. Personally, I put that down to the fact that I wasn’t given prescription lenses until the age of 14 and so my hand-eye coordination must have been out of kilter for most of my childhood! My lack of sporting dexterity actually became a bit of a running joke amongst my friends – so much so that they thought that it would be really funny to nominate me as ‘Games Captain’ for my form one year. We all laughed about it at the time, and I continued to shun sports in the same way that I felt all sports had shunned me.

I’d like to think that those days are long since past. I wouldn’t exactly call myself a sports enthusiast, but I do enjoy an active lifestyle. When I left school I found out that I could express this enjoyment for activity in ways that didn’t constrain me or make me feel humiliated. I joined the university gym and went fairly regularly (it was hard to argue with a £1.50 pay-as-you-go fee). When I left university, however, I discovered that working out in the real, corporate world was pretty expensive, and I simply couldn’t afford the £50 a month memberships that most gyms were charging. It was then that I had a brainwave; I decided that from that moment onwards, I would start running. Initially, I wasn’t doing it for anything other than maintaining my fitness regime. I would get up on a Saturday morning, go for a 2-mile run, come home, and enjoy the rest of my weekend. It wasn’t until 2011 that I decided I needed a challenge to work towards. My friend (the friend that sparked the new ‘list’ phenomenon, and a friend that has always been much, much fitter than I) suggested that we plan to run a marathon together in 2013, and we began to lay the groundwork for that very challenge.

Well it’s now 2013. Those two years seem to have vanished into the ether. I’d like to think that we could still do it this year somehow, but I think that it’s going to be difficult – especially when I’m only just starting to run again after a 6-month hiatus that was brought on by a knee injury and when I also plan to make a research trip to New Orleans in November. I’m conscious, however, that it’s really difficult to wait before starting, as it might just not happen. But then I’m just looking for obstructions, I suppose. I need to do it; I want to do it, so I’ll just have to do it, even if that means training through the winter and training at times that don’t best please me. Because ultimately when I’m out there, on the road or on the grass, I love it. Even when the snow is hitting me in the face and my fingers are going numb, I just love it. I think it’s always easy to forget just how much we love doing something when we don’t do it for a while, and because we haven’t done it for so long, we convince ourselves that it was never that good to begin with. I, for one, am going to stop listening to the excuses that I make for myself and just start doing, because if I don’t start doing then I will never get anything done.

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