Running Round In Squares

The famously rude people of London have re-discovered politeness – via slightly manic social distancing

A meandering Strava feed

WE GOT TOLD OFF by Housemaster Johnson on Monday, so now we’re on our best behaviour.

Initially, Londoners treated the whole Coronavirus thing as a jittery sort of half-holiday and went thronging the city’s parks and open spaces, despite official advice to keep well apart.

Next thing we knew, most of us were being told to stay in our dorms and threatened with Sir cancelling PE – the same as in Spain and Italy – if we couldn’t be trusted.

Not many of us want to be cooped up 24/7, and so London’s green spaces have been chocka with people stretching their legs again this week.

Except this time, we’re thronging responsibly.  

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I Wandered Lonely…

I’ve always felt guilty that I’m not a social runner – but at least going solo is perfect for escaping Covid-19

A cloud passes a couple in a park
Original Image: Anita Morgan/Pixabay

FUCK SELF-ISOLATION: that was the unspoken message in the air around London’s open spaces yesterday.

I ran through three parks as I knocked out my Sunday 10-miler, and it looked like everyone in the city was outside with me, despite the Coronavirus.

Given some half decent weather for once, Londoners were seizing the chance to stretch their legs, and for some space and fresh air.

Kids, Mums, Dads, old folks, lovers and dogs – they were all out – along with runners. Dozens and dozens of runners.

It even felt a bit Blitz-Spirit-y, being out there mingling in the face of Covid-19.

‘Bring it on!’ said the dog walker, bending to bag a turd”

Bring it on! Said the business-as-usual body language of the dog walker bending to bag a freshly minted turd. London Can Take It! said every Dad standing his ground quietly against a toddler baying for ice cream.

But in the midst of all these heroes was a coward – and that coward was me.

Because, as I dodged and weaved through the throng – woolly gloves on despite the sunshine and maintaining a safe two metres at all times – I wasn’t being brave.

I was just self isolating in plain sight….

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A Good Sweat

Sweating doesn’t just boil bad stuff out of us – it makes room for creativity and our better selves

The Turin Shroud juxtaposed with a sweat-stained T-shirt
One may be the face of Jesus, the other is a sweat stain shaped like a stubby cock and balls
Turin Shroud image: Wikimedia Commons

OH, I NEEDED that!

I’ve just run a fast five miles because I was turning into a bit of a nasty bastard at home.

It’s never a good sign when I threaten the cat with a kicking – swearing and jabbing a forefinger at him like someone I was squaring up to in a pub – and just because he keeps getting under my feet.   

But I’ve been feeling tired, stressed, and a bit ill for the past couple of days.

I had a couple of pre-holiday vaccinations 48 hours ago and have been sniffing and sneezing quite a bit.

It’s probably just the injections but – like everyone else in the world – I’m secretly terrified that Covid-19 has tracked me down.

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Thick But Cute: It Beats Running Like A Toilet Duck

I try to act like I’m not old, but Life keeps sending me horrid reminders  

A man with a hammer chases a running toilet duck
Original images: Aaron Thomas/Pixabay and Rene Rauschenberger/Pixabay

I’M OLD! OLD! Old as mould….

I mean: I try to act like age is just a number.

I try to stay just a bit current and not put limitations on what I can do at 50-something.

I try to keep improving, but Life always finds a way to remind me that, every day, I’m even more decrepit than I ever have been…

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Now The Future’s Brighter, The Past Doesn’t Seem As Dark

Now I’m feeling better, I can look back on my years of depression and think I wasn’t useless, after all

Candles, poo, flowers, Keith Richards skiing

Original Images: Raph_PH (Wikimedia Commons), cathfinch73, Beverley Buckley, Erzsebet Apostal, Patrick Hodskins, Willy Sietsma (all via Pixabay)

MAYBE IT’S JUST the Spring that’s making me feel better but I feel strangely…. hopeful lately.

Just like the irises, hyacinths and daffodils starting to break through the cold earth in our front garden, little hopeful thoughts have been pushing up all around my mind.

It could be just a trick of the – fast-lengthening – daylight, but it’s beginning to feel like the end of my decades-long depression and, finally, the start of something better.

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I’m A Runner, Not A Walker’s

I don’t want to be Mr Potato Head any more

A crisp-headed man runs
Original image: StockSnap/Pixabay

I’m thinking seriously about ending one of the longest and most satisfying relationships of my life.

It’s one that’s gone on for longer than my marriage and for more time than I knew my Dad, or my Mum.

But I think it’s finally time that I stopped eating crisps.

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Running: A Communion With The Divine

When I don’t like feeling ‘ordinary’, a run can always make me feel special

God wearing running shoes
Original images: Tom Radetski, doc price, Bruno Nascimento, Maksim Sansomov (all via Unsplash) and Welcome to all and thank you for your visit/Pixabay

WHEN I STRUGGLE with being ordinary – aka a bit of a failure – the grown-up thing to do would be to accept the way I’m feeling.

If I went with a psychotherapist-type solution, I’d accept the reality of being ordinary, and try to change the way I thought about that reality.

And if I went the Mindfulness route, I’d try to just ‘be’ with the feeling, which means accepting that I’m feeling shit, and that feeling shit is OK.

More often, though, I think: Fuck this for a game of soldiers! I’m going for a run!

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Five Green Bottles

I’ve been drinking again, and had no option but to send myself on a punishment run

Five beer bottles and a Strava map

THE TONY ADAMS Memorial Eight Mile Race is not like other running events.  

For a start, the Arsenal and England footballer it’s named after isn’t dead.

Also unlike other races, ‘The Adams’ doesn’t take place at a fixed time every year – but erupts across the athletic calendar on several random days, often in clusters, like zits on a sixteen-year-old’s chin.

And there is only ever one participant: me.

That’s because The Tony Adams Memorial Eight Miler takes place whenever I fall off the wagon and feel the need to punish myself.

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Running: The Mental Health Prophylactic

It’s cold and dark, but if you can get outside and run… get outside and run!

A cartoon man runs inside a condom
Image: an original artwork by Mr Shit50s

Life’s not all that easy at the moment, here in the frozen North.

It’s not cold, cold. In fact, it’s not even frozen. But there was a thick frost on the roofs of the cars outside when we struggled up this morning.

It was still dark, and I was so tired that one massive yawn threatened to dislocate my jaw as I switched on the kettle for the day’s first invigorating cuppa.

I looked out onto the blackness of the garden, lamplight picking out the frost, and thought my first uncomfortable thoughts of the day – nothing too serious, just the sort of mental scabs I often pick at.

And then I thought: I don’t want a sad day today. I want a run.  

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