I moved to Bristol a year ago now, and one of the few negative things I can say about it, is that it is heavily populated with smug, lycra clad, iphone armband wearing runners. People don’t just go running here to avoid gym fees like normal people, here they share running stories, and osteopaths; they go running together, and alone; they go running before work, after work, in their lunch hour and then they still go to the gym.
Ok, so it’s a healthy city. I don’t have anything against that, of course, in fact it’s one of the many reason I moved here. My inactivity during The London Years was woeful and as 40/mortality approaches my desire to live long and prosper increases. It’s just the obvious enjoyment these people seem to get out of running, how it makes them feel, both physically and mentally, how they leap out of bed in the morning to squeeze in a half hour sunrise jog while I burrow deeper and deeper into the recesses of my duvet for that extra 10 minute snooze. It’s just so…bothersome.
But with the start of the new year, the appearance of a bit of holiday weight, and severe breathlessness when walking up a gentle slope, I decided that if you can’t beat ‘em, join ‘em.
As I was putting my tracksuit on this morning for my first outing, my mind was giving me a lot of shit. ‘Janes don’t run,’ it said, ‘when was the last time you ran?’ ‘You’re going to look ridiculous’ ‘go back to bed’ etc etc and then something hit me. Janes DO run! For 2 months in 2011, in New York, this Jane ran every other day around the Jackie O Reservoir in Central Park and freakin’ loved it! The memory burst through the shit and gave me a moment of pure joy. I can do this!
So off I went, on a beautiful crisp and sunny morning, with my zeroto10km app, and my patient boyfriend jog/walking beside me. And do you know what? It was ok! Strike that, it was better than ok, I will reluctantly admit I actively enjoyed it. To be honest there was not a lot of actual running as the app takes a sensible approach with 1 min running followed by 1.5 mins walking, repeated for half an hour, but I did get out of breath and go red in the face and felt those tiny crazy endorphins pinging around the dull grey matter of my winter brain.
Basically, it worked, and I got a small insight into what all that smugness is about. So here’s the plan. If I run 3 times a week for 14 weeks following this app I should be able to run 10km by April. That’s a nice achievable goal, right? Ok it remains to be seen whether I can repeat this in early morning drizzle but I’ll give it a go.
I don’t think I am quite qualified to be one of the smug brigade yet, but I’ll put my hand up and acknowledge that maybe the problem is not actually them being smug but more likely a projection of my own feelings of inadequacy, guilt, shame, lack of willpower blah blah blah which allows me to hate them rather than myself.
So. The transition from Londoner to Bristolian continues a(slow)pace. It’s not all tie-dye and moon cups and there’s a good chance this move could do good things for the body as well as the… sole.