This morning I woke up with an urge to run. I wouldn’t say a desire because in all honesty I desired it about as much as I desired a case of the clap. I really, really didn’t want to run but nonetheless I had this overwhelming feeling inside that I should. Bleeding typical then that this mystical urge didn’t come on Tuesday when the forecast is considerably more favourable but rather this morning when it was tipping down, snowing and blowing a gale in equal measures.
Fuck my life.
I think this urge has been creeping up on me all week if I’m honest. I’ve been using the weather as an excuse not to run all week but looking at the Met Office last night I realised that if I continued to do that I may not run again until some time in May. And then there’s these bloody role models sneaking into my consciousness. I’m helping out in a Couch to 5K group and their resilience and bravery has inspired me. I know for a fact that they won’t let the weather hold them back. Then there’s my friend Tracey who’s training for her first half, I know she’ll be out in all weathers with her indomitable spirit. There’s Tony, my running pal who is living with cancer, enduring treatment and yet running a tough half this morning (in a vest because he’s a lunatic). All of their faces loomed before me pointing to my running shoes. Utter bastards.
But still I was justifying not going out. I didn’t need to, I’m fit, it’s snowing, I’ll go tomorrow, it’s snowing, I should go easy on myself, it’s snowing. The weather was so bad it was totally justifiable to not run, in honesty it was madness to even bother. Finally I resorted to my last resort decider ‘what would Marc do?’
Marc is an insane Geordie so of course he would bloody run, wouldn’t he? Fuck.
So grudgingly out I went, I decided 10 miles would be more than enough today and the canal was my only sensible option given the conditions. I wasn’t going to pay any attention to pace, this was to be a relaxed run, I’d made it out and that was the important thing. The minute I got out I was glad, I knew I’d made the right decision. Yes it was mad windy, sleeting in torrents and effing freezing but I didn’t seem to care, I just felt glad to be out. It’s amazing how wearing appropriate clothing can affect things too. I had toyed with the idea of wearing shorts but even for me that was bloody mindedness gone mad at minus five so I did the clever thing and wore tights, a very dependable waterproof and a cap. It made all the difference. Sure the canal turned into a wind tunnel at times and I was practically throwing myself just to move forwards but I knew it wouldn’t last forever and there would be some shelter on the way home.
Everything was going really well until I ran past a slightly odd looking bloke with his dog and I decided he wanted to kill me.
Now I’m not one for drama and I’m certainly not easily spooked. I generally if recklessly assume that everyone is a lovely fluffy bunny who just wants to make friends with me and wish me well. And in my experience for the vast majority of times this is true. Ok you get the occasional clever gobshite, this is Liverpool, it goes with the territory but generally it’s good natured bants and that’s all good. In fact just this week in the C25K group during a walk section a couple of smartarse blokes shouted ‘is this a running club or a walking club?’ to which one of the most senior ladies responded ‘its a fuck off club’. I have never felt more compelled to high five a person in my life. But that’s how it works round here, we give and we get and we all laugh and that’s ok. But today I stared into the cold eyes of a psychopath serial killer and he saw my soul.
In truth what happened was I ran past a bloke in shorts and hi viz top who was walking his dog in the rain. This bloke stared at me intently for a little longer than is polite (probably because I’d been shouting show tunes at the top of my voice and breathing like a steam train) and so I naturally assumed he wanted to kill me. I frantically ran looking behind me every few seconds despite the wind holding me back. In my head I imagined he’d hot footed it along the dock road to meet me at the next bridge where I would meet my doom. He looked like a runner, was he a faster runner than me? Given the amount of mince pies I’ve eaten lately I’d say that was a certainty. I debated ringing Marc or the police but then I ran past a few more blokes who stared at me and decided that they probably didn’t all want to kill me either and that I was a paranoid freak so I stopped being a knobhead.
Problem was by then I’d overshot myself and was at 6.3 miles so this was going to be a 12 Mile run instead of 10. Thankfully on my return leg I had a pleasant tailwind and a distinct lack of serial killers. There were some quite mardy looking geese but I didn’t feel my life in immediate danger. Apart from the towpath having turned into several lakes separated by inch intervals of mud which I had to leap and slide through I made it home relatively unscathed.
Sometimes it’s good to to give into yourself and stay home and eat the pie and sometimes it’s good to do the thing you don’t want to because the fear can be bigger than the reality. Unless you encounter a dangerous assailant of course. Long story short, putting your expectations aside and just seeing how things pan out can be a liberating thing. I might try it more often.
Some things you can only learn in a storm.