Running

This Running Man

My new venture into exercise has been – for the most part – pretty damn successful. Honestly, I’m in shock. I was expecting my heart to collapse, my knees to fall off, and the rest of me to simply shut down – all in retaliation against this plan to decrease my surface area.

My first trot out as a newbie runner was with my wife, who accompanied me purely as a precautionary measure. As a nurse, and with a reasonable level of interest in my wellbeing, I figured she would be a perfect companion during my initial attempts to be healthy and spry. It seems I had the right idea, as just tying my laces almost resulted in a rotator cuff injury!

So, with my fancy running shoes on, and at a gentle pace in order to prepare myself for the long haul, I trotted up my hallway, opened the street door, and embarked on my great journey.

My first spell lasted to the end of my road, and provided me with a perfect sheen of sweat and resentment – both in equal measure. My wife, who was carrying a full medical kit and portable defibrillator, kept me at a steady program of running for a measured distance, then walking for a similar distance, and repeating the cycle until my look of fear was replaced with one of crippling pain.

However, twenty minutes later I was getting into the groove. Putting aside any mental anguish for a moment, I was amazed by how quickly my tortured body adjusted to the exertion. I was keeping up with the pressure, and not feeling half as weepy as I had expected too! In fact, upon returning home, I was hit by an unexpected level of smug satisfaction.

I had jogged… and survived.

Since then I have pretty much been running every other day. Not so much because I enjoy it, but rather that I’m becoming addicted to the smugness I feel afterwards!

Take a few weeks ago. It was my 43rd birthday… typically a time I feel at my lousiest.

I mean, really, who the hell enjoys their birthday? Once you get past your mid-twenties, isn’t it just another stupid day, but with a little more post to open than usual? It’s nothing more than a marked anniversary of a twelve month period – during which you didn’t die, and probably could have achieved a lot more if you had bothered your arse to do so.

Anyway, in keeping with this sunny outlook, and as the fateful day rolled around, I woke up with the traditional b-day grumps.

But this year, rather than dwell within it, I jumped out of bed, pulled on my running clothes, and spent the first 40 minutes of my birthday hammering around the local park.

It was like taking an elixir of unabashed self-satisfaction. Seriously, the smugness earned from a good run provided me with a shield against all the usual rhubarb that my birthday typically brings.

Fast forward a few weeks, and I now find myself getting twitchy if I haven’t taken a run within a 48 hour period… its crazy! I’m also thinking of buying one of those smart watch things that monitor your heart rate, step count, calorie burn, and likelihood of a prolonged hospital stay due to runner’s bunions or something.

And now, with this new poxy Conservative government in place, should they decide upon a Hunger Games’esque tournament to eradicate the working class for good, my new fitness levels might get me past the first offerings!

Paul Millard 2015

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Running Costs

A few months ago I wrote about my desire to be less people. If you recall, the Christmas weight gain had raised questions towards the structural support afforded by my floorboards, and as a means of avoiding costly building work, I decided to slim down.

However, Easter started in January, and in that early celebration of our Lord’s resurrection, my Mini Egg eating had managed to reach startling heights of excess – that’s how efficient I was at being subservient to God!

So a few nights ago, whilst sitting on the sofa with my wife, I couldn’t help notice how she was slowly moving towards me. At first I thought she was shuffling closer by design, perhaps to instigate a little fooling around! But she started to fight against the movement – she was clawing at the cushions in the hope of stopping this unintentional display of affection.

Trying to understand the phenomenon, we both reached a worrying conclusion – I had developed my own gravitational field! People getting too close to my planetoid’esque stomach were unwittingly dragged into its orbit and consumed.

I needed to lose weight.

Dieting alone wouldn’t cut it; I needed to take some exercise. Time to get the cardiovascular system working independently, and without the need of a massive coffee kick-start each morning. It was time to maybe do a little jogging? I was scared.

So I spoke to few fit people at work, and asked what I needed.

  “You need the right pair of running shoes. Something that will give a little bounce and is the right measurement.”

I kinda figured that one out for myself. In fact, I had already ordered a nice pair of trainers with bubbles in the soles – the marketing literature explained how the bubbles provided the wearer with improved shock resistance, better levels of endurance, and a healthy dose of concentrated pretentiousness.

I would also require the right kind of socks, something to let my feet breath. This sacred me again! I immediately had visions of “trench foot” and Victorian methods of amputation, administered by a fearsome local butcher who hates “bubble shoes”.

The list continued.

Good running shorts to avoid any chaffing to those areas that I certainly wouldn’t want amputated. An iPod, so I could listen to the kind of energetic music I would normally run away from regardless of the expensive trainers on my feet. A decent water bottle, to ensure I kept hydrated. If, like me, you consider exercise as a form of torture, shouldn’t self-administered water-boarding resolve the exercise/hydration issue in one fell swoop?

Whilst listening to these well-toned bastards, I calculated that my pursuit of a fitter body would be more demanding on my wallet, than on my hamstrings!

It went on like this for a while, and I soon became bored and started thinking of home… and the bag of Mini Eggs I had hidden behind a box of firelighters under the stairs.

I drove home that night already planning my excuses for not taking this stupid idea any further. Maybe this is my ideal weight, and tinkering with the system will only lead to more problems, like a disgruntled pizza man who has seen his profits disappear overnight and is now unable to take that family holiday. How could I knowingly cause such a horrible butterfly effect?

However, whilst getting out of the car and spying my shadow – one that seemingly belonged to a herd of Space Hoppers – I thought better of it all and had a little jog to my street door.

Paul Millard 2015

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