Please Santa, let me get fit enough to run on Xmas morning!
Now that we’re into December – and sort of out of lockdown – ’tis the season when Christmas preparations crank into overdrive.
Here in London, people have gone for it early – putting up their trees and outdoor decorations last weekend, when of course we were still in November.
Christmas purists like my wife (who believes that no bauble ought to go up before December and every pine needle should be gone by Twelfth Night) might look slightly askance. But no-one seriously wants to stop people from squeezing all the light and joy they can out of this bleak time – except maybe the Government.
Eight months into our pandemic, and with the nights still drawing in, we are seriously fucked off. I work on my own as a freelance and, although Her Indoors and our daughter are working from home as well, it’s still dull and lonely.
To break the monotony, I go for walks. But it doesn’t help much, passing equally miserable-looking people doing exactly the same thing, wearing bobble hats and gloves just like me, and dodging the same slowly freezing dog turds.
Whenever I’m injured and another runner jogs past me, I feel like a mean ole dog who just wants to bite someone”
It just makes me wish that I didn’t have to walk past them and that I could run past instead – riding that endorphin elevator to feeling special instead of just slowly mooching around, like everybody else.
I saw three runners while I was out for my stroll, and I would have traded places with any of them in a heartbeat – even the slow ones – because they’re so lucky to be able to move freely.
In fact, whenever I’m injured and another runner jogs past me, I feel like a mean ole dog who just wants to bite someone.
Now it’s cold, dark and hopeless, I miss the way that running elevates the day”
Now that it’s cold, dark and all a bit hopeless, I particularly miss the way that running elevates the day – from simply having feel-good hormones raging inside you to the way it aids creativity and makes you more comfortable with who you are.
Which is why I’m planning to get going again by Christmas.
After a month on the sidelines, there are encouraging signs that my knee is getting better: I can walk normally now, ride a bike, and get up and down stairs without my meniscus complaining much.
This week, I’ve been able to start the strengthening exercises that sort of fixed my other knee, and reckon that another three or four weeks of them might just see me skipping o’er the dog mess come the morning of December 25.
To hasten the healing process, I’ve even decided to go sober until then, because all I really want for Christmas is a two mile run.
I mean, there are some books that I’d like. Even a new tablet or some bike gear, but I could buy those for myself.
The gift I’d really like is to be able to jog round again – for a mile or two to start with, maybe even three – and to stay fit for a while after that.
Call me unimaginative, but I really can’t think of anything more joyful on Christmas morning than coming downstairs after my post-run shower, wreathed in happiness and my Christmas clothes, and then someone handing me my first cold one in weeks.