I run down the street, out onto the main road. Cheesy pop tunes in my ears. I've done this route (or a variation of it) a hundred times or more. Running past a neighbour who is walking her dog, I smile and wave.
S Club 7 blaring through my head, I speed up in time and mouth some of the lyrics to urge myself along. My Garmin bleeps and looking at it I suddenly slow. Because this isn't a normal run at all. Today's run is a training run. Pace and distance planned and dictated, to help me reach a goal. A 13.1 mile goal.
Not unsurmountable but I do wonder why I have decided to run a half marathon in 18 weeks time.
I think that
I check myself and slow down and realise that I haven't run this slow in quite a few months now. I like it though because it's easier, the only problem is that as one song ends and another begins I allow myself to focus on the music, the lyrics and I realise that I have all this time to think.
I think about why I'm doing this. Who I'm doing it for. I think about writing it all down when I get home. I realise that if there's one thing that the people I know don't need, it's another rambling blog about how I've taken up running. Nobody that I can think of has ever written an interesting or amusing blog about how they've taken up running*. Running blogs are inherently boring unless you are a fellow runner. They even have their own humour
I'm running for charity, of course. That's what people do when they decide to run a really long way isn't it? It's not my usual sort of thing, charity. But this is a bit different. I'm running to fundraise for a hospital. The one which diagnosed my late father's cancer. The one which attempted to treat him. The one from which he was sent home to die. I don't talk about this much, but it goes without saying that we all miss him. I wish he could see me doing this.
I think about a friend of ours who lost his life to cancer two weeks before Christmas. We didn't even know he was ill. The first we knew about it was an invitation to his funeral. He was the same age as my husband and like him had a wife and young family too. We haven't heard from them since the funeral and I often wonder how they are.
I think about my blogging friend Becky and her very brave husband. She is one of the nicest people I have ever met. Always smiling. Her family simply don't deserve this, but cancer doesn't choose. It's a bastard like that.
As I run I think about making a difference, albeit a small one. This is why I'm running this half marathon for The Christie. A one off.
The other reason?
The booking page on the Manchester Half website promises all finishers a nice big medal.
And runners (for that is what I am now) are a bit like magpies. We all love a nice shiny bit of bling (and a free finishers t-shirt).
I'm running up a country lane now. Out of town, and instead of hearing Gary Barlow wailing "Cry" at me and feeling all lumpy throated, I find myself running faster, grinning like a fool. Girls Aloud "Something Kinda Oooh" reaches the chorus and I wink at a passing tractor driver. I have no shame...
The tunes** just keep coming after that. My pace settles again and I realise that my run has begun properly now. I'm no longer dreading the distance ahead but willing myself to beat it instead. It goes like this:
Can't Stop the Feeling - Justin Timberlake (Yeah, I love running!)
Hot Right Now - Rita Ora (yes, very. I might be melting...)
Salute - Little Mix (I'm too old to be listening to this, aren't I?)
Shut Up and Drive - Rhianna (*resists temptation to wink again, this time at a lorry driver on the main road*)
Only 600 metres from the end now (I know this, I know how far everything is from my house these days since I got this running watch. So much so that I'm even boring myself as I write about it. God, I'm so dull...). "Larger Than Life" by The Backstreet Boys comes on and I treat a waiting queue of traffic to a sweaty faced performance, half running, half dancing, complete with jazz hands. There are several people I recognise in their cars but I don't care. I like to think that as well as all this serious training, I am also providing entertainment in the community.
I pause the watch and fall through the front door. One run down, approximately 79 other runs or rest days to go AND a really long race. Don't forget the race.
See, I told you all running blogs were dull. Are you even still reading this? And I haven't given anyone a running related laugh yet, so here you go...
* and yet here I am attempting to hold your interest. Keep reading there might even be a joke.
** I never said I had good musical taste but these are designed to keep me moving and anyway there really ain't no party like an S Club party.
*** I defy anyone, runner or not, not to laugh at this ridiculous word. It's a running term by the way****. It means "speed play" in Swedish although I strongly suspect that it doesn't and that hundreds of Swedish people are in fact laughing at us for believing that.
**** See, I told you runners have their own humour.