Somethin’ Stupid

Here’s a short list of things that don’t work properly when I go running:

1.Lower back, following recent bizarre gardening accident. This one kicks in on long runs, and if I’m stupid enough to lift anything heavier than a paperback the day before.

2.Left hamstring, pulled during a track session in 2005. The failure to fix this has been as frustrating as anything I’ve ever experienced, with the possible exception of watching Norwich play in the brief period of time they were ‘managed’ by Bryan Gunn. Still, at least it managed to pay for a couple of holidays for the hard working alternative therapists in East Anglia.

3.Both knees. If I run the previous day, I make it to the top of the stairs only by treading very carefully. If it’s been a tough session, the journey from stairs to kettle is often made by ‘bumping’ down like a two year old.

4.Right achilles, which went ‘ping’ a couple of years ago, and means I have to start every run looking like I’m wearing some sort of bizarre foot caliper. This one goes away after about a mile.

5.Both calf muscles. These now seem to be impossible to relax, which is all rather inconvenient, and if I put in a hard session, both will cramp up at the same time. This is intolerably painful but I would imagine quite entertaining to watch, as the muscle spasms make you boing about like MC Hammer trying firewalking for the first time.

All of which does rather make me wonder why I should have said ‘yes’ when I was asked to run a treadmill marathon a few days ago. And it’s in 12 day’s time. And apparently doing this can really mess your legs up for ages afterwards.

But it is, as they say, all for cheridy. And, after all, whining about legs that hurt is kind of missing the point here. I think this is all about setting your expectations accordingly, and not necessarily based on the irritating limitations that niggle daily.

If this was, say, Ernest Hemingway pitching up for the event, he’d have a quart of rye by way of a warm up, keep himself going with a few snifters of absinthe, then gone on to a big night out afterwards. Steve Prefontaine would keep going for about five hours to see if he had the guts to do so. Sir Ranulph Fiennes would emerge from his garden shed, after hacking off a couple of irritating fingers, then run 7 marathons on 7 different treadmills in 7 days with the treadmills being pulled across 7 different countries by a pack of 7 huskies. Probably. Anyway, the point I’m struggling to make here is that people that reach further tend to get more stuff done. And accordingly, my plan of action on 10th September is to try to assume this is all doable, rather than drone on like a miserable middle aged wimp. Well, that’s the plan, anyway.

So, given that this is undoubtedly a plan due to end in ungraceful failure, please sponsor me here

And if you’re planning to be anywhere near the Start event in London on the morning of 10th September, please remember to pass the absinthe.


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