I do run…but CAN I run?

Well, it’s been yonks since my last running post and in that time lots has changed -alongside very little changing!

I have gone from running a few minutes at a time, and having my innards wanting to throw themselves out of me within 10 minutes, to being able to run for over 30minutes without stopping! Of course, the reason I can now run for that long is because what I actually do is shuffle at the speed of a randy tortoise. I can recall Helen, my awesome coach/trainer/friend/encourager, coming back for me one session and I swear at one point she was running backwards to talk to me as I slobbed along. I glanced across the street, squinty, sweating, barely making any noise but desperate lungs-dying grunting, to see a man in his 50s or 60s just out for an evening stroll…and I could barely keep time with him!! 

It wasn’t much better when I was on my own; I remember once running behind a miniature schnauzer who was basically trotting. I only managed to keep up by running in time with his swinging little bollocks. 

However, I somehow made it to the final 5k run – and, with a couple of minutes walking now and then, I made the distance. I actually completed the 5k! That’s over 3 miles!! And I got a medal and everything! I was a fucking goddess and would obviously be running marathons by the end of the year. Totally. 

Yeah…..nope. Two days later I went for a run by myself, buoyed by the fact I was now basically Paula Radcliffe without a poop story hanging over me. However my body had still not forgiven me for making it go a whole km further than it ever had before and so within minutes my thighs were wobbling with effort and not just because of the cellulite. I decided to change direction to a shorter route, forgetting the miniscule upward slope that then became Ben Nevis. I went home very soon after feeling utterly deflated, both physically and mentally, to the point I didn’t run for over a week after that.

But something really weird has happened to me. Despite the pain, the sweating, the swearing, the various body parts threatening to fall off, or fall out, I missed it. I missed running, even if it was only for a few minutes. It was the weirdest feeling cos I’ve never missed not doing an exercise before, not even Just Dance on the Wii (and I LOVE Just Dance on the Wii!)

And so I decided to ditch the app, the required time/distance per session, and just see what I could manage. Yes, I run a lesser distance and a lesser a time, but I actually run faster. I ACTUALLY OVERTOOK SOMEONE TODAY! I mean, wtf?! Admittedly, once I was out of view of anyone I virtually slowed to a stop and took big, gulping, noisy, breaths, but fuck, for 5 minutes I felt like I was flying (I probably looked less like I was flying and more like I was bouncing along slightly out of control; a bit like that old advert “Belly’s Gonna Get Ya!” with me as the belly).

Now I’m not doing this to lose weight, despite the fact I’m sure my doctor would probably collapse to his knees and beg me to at least try and drop some pounds (stones!) And actually I haven’t lost a single pound since starting this, despite suddenly running 3 days a week. But I HAVE changed shape. My arse has always been pretty epic, as far as I’m concerned, but now it’s outstanding. It’s so high and round I fully expect Kim Kardashian and Nikki Minaj to be enviously contacting me soon begging me to stop outshining them in the butt department. 

Also I ended up, quite randomly, having a full NHS health check at work this week too. They did the lot; BMI (THAT was scary!), blood pressure,  checks for diabetes, cholesterol, cardiovascular check, lung capacity, oxygen saturation; absolutely everything. And by God, I might be fat, but I’m fit as fuck. Seriously. I’m stupidly healthy. I literally bounded out of it and told everyone I bumped into. I’m almost tempted to put the results sheet in my purse so I’ve always got it with me.

And in fact, I wish I had done that when I was running to my mum’s the other day. There I am, running happily along the road, music playing, sun shining, all good, when I notice a mobility scooter pulling up beside me. I glance to see an old man of elephantine proportions balanced on it, looking at me. I assume because of his width that he’s worried about squeezing past on the path and so I slow and move over to let him pass, smiling at him. Except he slows too and leans forward. Oh. He wants to say something. Now this has happened to me before. Various people have made brief comments of encouragement, or complimented me on a particular item of running gear perhaps. Not this man. This man, this gent, twice my size, nearing twice my age, driving on this machine, wanted to offer me some advice. “I used to be bigger than you and I lost weight by only eating 1200 calories a day. And you shouldn’t run, it’s very bad for you. You should walk. I used to walk 5 miles a day. And I lost loads of weight. You should do the same.” Now my darling friend has often told me I’m far too polite for my own good. And I desperately tried to keep to that again, “oohing” at him, trying to make it sound like admiration and not out-and-out condescension. Not sure how convincing I was though! I was so tempted to sarcastically (but very brightly!) say “oh well, in the long run it made absolutely no difference to you though, did it?” But I managed to hold off, smile and turn the other way to escape him. Silly old sod.

But I don’t care. I know this running lark is pretty good fun. I like going outside and looking around. I probably won’t ever really run that marathon and tbh I am MORE than okay with that. I might never get any slimmer and I’m okay with that too. I might not run for as long, or as far, or as fast as other people do. But I do run. And I can run.

And I might sign up for the local 5k fun run in October, if only cos I want another medal! 

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Do you run?

No. Not really. The only marathons I like are the ones that are now called Snickers. The only running I’ve done over the years is running my mouth.

Except now I do run. Well, kinda. If you can call slogging along, breathing loudly, occasionally shouting at the path, and sweating like a pig for a whole 90 seconds at a time, desperately hoping the American voice on my phone app will hurry up and tell me to slow down to a walk, running. Which you probably can’t. But as it’s more running than I’ve done since I was five years old, I’m darn well calling it running!

I only started this 13 days ago. I ummed and ahhed and tried to buy time before finally caving and signing up to my mate’s running club for beginners. ‘Won’t be so hard’ I thought, ‘I walk quite a few miles a day in my job anyway.’

HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA!!!! I have never been more wrong in my life!

I turned up that first evening really early, wandering around nervously, eyeing everyone with suspicion, especially small children, until the one face I knew arrived, we all got introduced, and we went off on our warm-up walk. Everyone friendly, chatting, weather nice, surroundings pretty (posh bit of town and a nature reserve). ‘This is nice.’ Then the ‘beep, beep, beep’ of head honcho’s phone and suddenly everyone was running.

I ended up at the very back within seconds. A few seconds more, my legs were confused and tried to wobble enough to throw me to the ground and save themselves from this monstrosity. It was the longest minute of my life. The relief of seeing everyone slow to a walk was palpable. Everyone starts chatting straight away. I do not join in as my lungs are currently climbing up my oesophagus, trying to escape into the wilderness and rediscover oxygen.

The horror of just how unfit I am rushes through me and I realise that I have no idea where I am and so have no hope of escaping. I have to just follow everyone else. And then we’re apparently running again. It’s an interesting feeling, walking for the shortest 90 seconds of your life, then running for the longest 60, over and over. I say interesting. What I mean is fricking horrific. I run along (and sneak walk, then pretend to run again if anyone looks) trying to remember if I’d be classed as a masochist or a sadist (can never remember which way round it is).

Somehow I make it through the running bits and we move on to some simple strength exercises, where I discover that not only can I not run,I also can’t do press ups. On the very first one I just collapse onto my knees, causing an ‘oooh’ of concern from everyone else, like that video of those penguins when their mate slips. I giggle, and try again. I can do this. Nope. No, I can’t. I’m holding onto a low fence, my arse up in the air, arms outstretched….and that’s it. There’s absolutely no hope in hell that I’ll be moving, up or down. I take advantage to just rest in that position a moment, until everyone else has completed their 10 press ups, and then get up. Luckily I (kind of) manage the rest.

We eventually make it back to the start, stretch, say goodbyes, and I head off to the bus stop (and whilst I’m lost in thought, desperately making my way, a fellow runner behind me says ‘see ya!’ and I scream in her face having been completely unaware of her!) I must have made a great first impression!

But I made it. Somehow. And then we get homework. Where I run along hidden patches of grass hoping I don’t see anyone I know, wanting to apologise to horrified dog walkers for the state of me, concerned that I may scare small children as I feel, and look, on the verge of collapse. But the homework story is for another day.

So. Do I run? I try. That’s got to count for something! Even if at the end of it I do look like this!

 

Ignore the media. We need Jeremy Corbyn!

You know what? Big Up, Jeremy Corbyn! I think he’s bloody stubborn and bloody awesome. Why should he stand down? Cos some toffee nosed Blairites don’t like him and have whispered to their media mates to do all they can to bring him down? Some of whom, if you look at their CVs, were also involved in the coups against Brown and Milliband; how the HELL are they supposed to be trustworthy or respected over JC? Fuck off.
Why is it suddenly HIS fault that Remain lost the referendum? Cameron was running the blimming thing, surely it rests on him and Gideon?! Some papers and Blairites have brought up the fact he’s anti EU but spoke on side of remain and so can’t be trusted. You know what? That makes me trust him all the more!! He was the ONLY politician who put aside his own preferences and advised the public to do what he believed was best for them and the country. Surely that’s what we want from a leader??? I bloody well do! They keep saying he’s not/ he wasn’t effective, but from what I can tell Labour supporters were more likely to vote Remain than any other party. Surely that shows he was effective? Plus  since he’s been in power Labour’s vote numbers have risen, in each election and by – election. He’s more popular with the voters than Milliband was.
So all this talk about nobody liking him is crap, surely? He was voted in by the public. His votes were more than the others put together, if I recall correctly. And that’s one of the reasons he’s not stepping down. Cos atm the public (or a large amount of them) do want him. Why is that? Cos he’s the first person in ages that’s actually a bit relatable. And old – school labour. Remember when Labour were actually left? I do. I remember a time when Tories were right wing, Labour were left and Lib Dems were floating around somewhere in the middle (and at the back a bit) Before, all of a sudden, the Tories and Labour both became a bit centrist and pushed the Lib Dems right behind them (where they still are, jumping up and down waving a hand around pretending they’re relevant. Of course, with three middle parties now, they’re not). These couping labour lot want to stay with the middle classes and don’t want to associate with the working classes again. Corbyn does. He wants the party to be left again. I’m not saying he’s without fault. He needs to stop addressing the issues people aren’t interested in (Trident, the environment, Palestine/Israel – important, very, of course, but not precedent atm) and move back to the  very issues the working classes are concerned with, especially atm. That’s what UKIP did – UKIP, so far right they managed to turn around and win votes from the left. Why? Because they appealed to working class issues, in some format. Okay so they blamed working class problems on immigration rather than the twats in power, but you get my point. If JC can start addressing issues such as unemployment, the Northern powerhouse  (or whatever it’s called, sorry, can’t remember!), and money. If he can get on that he’ll get even more people on side. And building up a new shadow cabinet that include old school labour peeps like Dennis Skinner and new faces with great working experiences like Kate Osamor who’s been a GP practice manager and trade unionist is going to help his case too. His cabinet is pretty inclusive for a large party too, which is virtually unheard of. He’s got a real chance. No, really. We need to do what we should always do – look at things critically, away from the media. Make your own decisions. You may think I’m spouting utter crap and you’re well within your rights to. But I think this shake up is the best thing that could have ever happened. Those leading the coup are just showing themselves as moody little kids – most of them weren’t fans of his to begin with, because of his leftist, down to earth ways. And good god, that’s exactly why he appeals to so many. We don’t need yet another middle of the road mould spouting the same old bullshit, pretending they care and understand whilst looking after themselves and not actually trying to do what’s best for the country. We need someone who puts us over themselves. Someone who is of the left. Someone who cares. We need Jeremy Corbyn.

LTD

I read a poem. Once.
It finished
T
L
D
I misread it as LTD.
It seemed fitting somehow.
A poem, with a limited number of words.
A person, with a limited number of emotions.
A life, with a limited number of days.
Are there limits to our limitations?
Or do we only create them to protect ourselves?

Bigmouth Strikes Again, or: I Know Morrissey Hates It When People Use This Title and He Is Exactly the Kind of Person to Google Himself

Those Big Words

Morrissey is writing a novel, and this worries me. It worries me because he is a fantastic writer who has never had or needed constraints, and writing a novel without constraints requires tremendous self-discipline or the egregious ability to completely ignore reading as a reader would. Morrissey, I believe, is in the latter camp, which means he is probably going to release a novel that is absolutely wonderful in a purely stylistic sense, but that is unable to be the work it could have been with a bit of light editing and proofing. I worry, because Morrissey needs editing, and who could edit Morrissey?

If Autobiography was edited, it was edited by Morrissey himself. I refuse to believe that anyone at Penguin would have let Morrissey use the phrase “bearded clam” in earnest. This is Morrissey, remember? The guy that’s been compared to Oscar Wilde in terms of his wit…

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So, You Want to Read Ulysses? Or; A Guide to Joyously Reading Joyce

So incredibly helpful. I would have done a he’ll of a lot for a guide like this when I read Ulysses.

Those Big Words

“The demand that I make of my reader is that he should devote his whole Life to reading my works.”  – James Joyce

James Joyce’s Ulysses. It’s difficult, it’s long, and oh my God is that a stave of musical notation? It is a notorious novel because people who haven’t read it call it a notoriously difficult novel. Sixty years ago it was considered filthy and today it’s considered an exercise in masturbation. Figure that one out. These things said though, Ulysses is also hilarious, moving, sexy, intelligent and all the other adjectives you’ll find on the latest edition of a novel that’s just won the Booker. It is, in short, well worth reading. It always helps, though, to be prepared.

First, it’s important to recognise that you might “fail”. Joyce will do his best to defeat you, to scatter your mind like debris in a wash. This is…

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