Sweaty and bewildered.

There are two weeks to go now before I tackle the Bath Half Marathon for the Alzheimer’s Society and I’ve just completed my third month of training. What have I learnt so far? Well, while the training itself can admittedly be agony, the rest of the time everything just really hurts! Hooray for the health-giving, life-affirming benefits of exercise!
There has been discernible progress among the soreness though. During the second week of January I set out to run two miles along Brighton seafront. Well, a mile there and a mile back, otherwise I’d have been two miles away from where I was staying, knackered, and in bright red shorts.
On that chilly, sunny day by the sea I’d gone barely half a mile before I had to stop because my lungs were actually climbing up my neck to strangle me.
With two months to go before I was due to run a shade over thirteen miles, I was concerned. At least I was once my colour vision had returned and I’d assured the man in the whelk stall that I didn’t need him to call an ambulance and that yes, my thighs really were meant to be this pink.
This morning I ran for ten miles. Ten miles. I didn’t stop once, either. I ran for the best part of two hours without stopping (I had to write this down so I could go back and read it again).
If my Brighton January self could have seen me he’d have been amazed (and probably informed me that nobody, but nobody likes a smart arse, especially one in bright red shorts).

This is how all the top-class runners recover from a long run, y’know.


I won’t pretend that I ran up to the front door and made like Rocky on top of those steps in Philadelphia. Indeed, it took me nearly as long as the run itself to crawl up three flights of stairs to the flat and haul myself into the bath (about fifteen minutes to get each leg over the side into the water and there may have been whimpering).
After the bath I sat down in a chair, not sure if the creaking I heard as I did so was the chair legs or my hamstrings, then woke up with a start two hours later, dribble down my front and hair sticking up on one side like Woody Woodpecker.
This is a post-run scenario I am yet to read about in running magazines.
However, despite this fresh, renewing hell every time I step out in my hideously garish running shoes, despite walking for two days after every run like an arthritic Chelsea Pensioner with haemorrhoid issues, I am becoming a little obsessed with running. Whenever I see anyone, friend or stranger alike, I have the mad-eyed zeal of an evangelical Christian: it isn’t long into a conversation until I’m talking about split times and GPS and hip flexors and foam rolling.
I not only have pains in the arse from running, I have become a pain in the arse.
So, there’s two weeks to go until I’ll be pounding round Bath for my dad and those like him. Sometimes when I’m struggling out on a run in the freezing cold of pre-dawn south-east London, I think of my dad, bedridden, having to be spoon fed his meals, the utter incomprehension in his eyes that once flashed with intelligence, kindness and the twinkle of his arid-dry wit, and then the grumbling hip flexor, the aches in my knees and cold, sharp pains in my thighs don’t seem so bad.
It makes me keep going. I will keep going. At least I will once I can actually stand up again and remove this bag of frozen peas I’m holding against my overworked, disgruntled pelvis.
Find out more about why I’m running the Bath Half Marathon and, by jiminy, drop a few virtual coins into my tin cup right about here.