If you’re a runner, there’s a fair chance that you have a pair of embarrassing shorts in your wardrobe. I’m just about ok on the shorts front, thanks for asking, but I do have a slight problem when the weather turns cold and it becomes time for tights. Well, I don’t really have a problem, but two of my kids certainly do. My morning run to work takes me on the same roads as their route to school, and as a result, come this time of year, they get overtaken by their Father, who is, indeed, wearing tights. If they are particularly annoying me that morning, I make a point of stopping and walking next to them and their mates. Frankly, they’re mortified.
Anyway, this blog isn’t about embarrassing running shorts or tights, it’s about short running embarrassments. Honest.
A couple of weeks ago, I had he delights of a drive from Norwich to Manchester and back again to take Jr Emu #1 to a university interview. Off I drove, with a song in my heart, trying to dismiss the simple calculation of £9k a year tuition fees plus food and board multiplied by a 3-5 year course multiplied by four children and multiplied by inflation. Just as an aside, here’s a picture that I like to keep in the bathroom to remind all visitors of the responsibilities of voting wisely:
Anyway, got to our destination, and with a couple of hours on my hands while #1 was being lightly grilled by Manchester’s finest, decided to go for a run. Found the university sports centre, got changed, and out the door, before you could say ‘can anybody help me work this ridiculous locker system’.
Possibly not my finest/funnest ever run, as I hadn’t realised that the university is right next to Moss Side – it’s not the most picturesque running environment, but I’d been working on a new technique to keep on my toes, and it certainly helped with that.
Ran for about an hour before I realised I’d made a bit of a schoolboy error; I’d forgotten a towel. So, my clothes were neatly packed away at the sports centre, a hot shower was waiting for me, and I had a 5 hour drive home, so a towel was quite key to my plans. Not to worry, I’d noticed a parade of shops near the university, and I had some cash in my pocket. There were half a dozen likely shops when I got there, and I went into each one, sweating heavily on the floor, as I tried to discreetly browse, with no success. Finally, next to the sports centre, I got to a Spar shop, and by now I was panicking a bit. Surely they’d have something, if only a tea-towel. Sadly not, so, gentle reader, what did I buy at the shop? A bumper 6-pack of j-cloths, that’s what.
And, crikey, had that sports centre got busy since I left? And weren’t those showers busy? And aren’t j-cloths really small when you try to use them as a towel? And aren’t they surprisingly non-absorbent? And not entirely opaque.
I decided that to explain myself to my fellow sportsmen would mean travelling into the world of weirdness and perversion, so opted to maintain a dignified silence. Well, silence, anyway.
More to come a couple of days ago, when I ran into work, listening to my lovely iPod, which Mrs E bought me a a few months back. It’s tiny, with a touchscreen and when you clip it to your lapel or rucksack, the whole world can see what you’re listening to. Which meant that, given that I’d decided to improve my knowledge by listening to a podcast on the outbreak of World War II, this is what the security guard saw as I marched past him into the office:
And yes, I was wearing tights.