I started running about two months ago, after my GP told me to sort my lazy ass out at my NHS forty year check up. Running is cheap, instant and effective. WelI, I say it’s running but others would probably describe it as jogging. But that’s just semantics. In any event, its sounds far more impressive to tell people you run rather than jog so we shall stick with that. For somebody who is not naturally sporty, I’ve come a long way since I first started (yes, I’m not shy about congratulating myself). Even the Old Git is shocked by my progress, bearing in mind I could barely run for two minutes when I first started. Running is now part of my routine and I feel much fitter. Being out on the running circuit has opened up a whole new world to me, some good and some bad. Here are my observations about the early morning run:
1) Firstly, people don’t clear up their dog poop. I’ve noticed abnormally high levels of dog poop on the pavement and it’s totally gross. Luckily I’ve not stepped in any yet but dog owners definitely need to up their game.
2) Secondly, runners don’t know how to react to other runners. There’s always that awkward moment as you approach another runner when you waver between acknowledging them in running solidarity (and risk being snubbed) or avoiding all eye contact. It’s a tough call to make and in my limited experience most people just want to “jog on.”
3) When there is a pedestrian walking ahead, you suddenly feel the need to start sprinting past them full pelt in case their walking pace is faster than your running pace. To be ‘outrun’ by a pedestrian would be too much of a humiliation, so you can only resume your normal running pace once you are out of sight.
4) For some reason every person that sits in the passenger seat of a passing car feels the need to stare at you as they drive by. It’s not ideal as you are sweating profusely, huffing and puffing like an amateur and generally not looking your best. The key to not being overly self-conscious is to avoid eye contact and just focus on how good you will look once you complete your run and your thighs and ass wobble that little bit less.
5) Builders always stop what they are doing and stare at you. Some make encouraging/patronising remarks like “Keep going!” or “Don’t stop now!” and you have to smile and acknowledge. It would be rude not to. You do wonder what they say about you when you are out of earshot though. Best not to dwell on it.
6) Running is the perfect pastime if you are a bit nosy. I now notice every single new driveway, house extension and property for sale in my area. I even notice things like nice curtains, front doors and flowerbeds. It’s a great source of inspiration for home improvement ideas and is basically an extension of Neighbourhood Watch.
7) Running uphill sucks. Always.
8) When the end is in sight and you finish your run you feel like a flipping champion. As you run for a bit longer or faster each time and meet certain running goals, you feel a huge sense of achievement. Each week you see improvements and that is incredibly satisfying.
9) After a run, you feel ready to eat a horse. In fact, once you start running in general, your appetite increases and you just want to stuff your face all day. I am constantly hungry and whilst I understand my body needs more energy now, I’m not sure chocolate muffins and apple danishes are part of a good running plan. Something for me to work on.
As a newbie on the running circuit I’m still navigating my way through all the various issues above. But what I love most of all is the ability to just step out of my front door and start running instantly. It clears the mind and helps you get fit fast. There’s definitely less wobble on the thighs these days which is never a bad thing.