As the UK enters (what feels like) the 98th week of lockdown due to COVID-19 I thought I would have a go at trying to write down what, if anything, I have learnt.
I have a fat lad hiding (not very well) inside screaming to get out
Once races, more importantly my races, started to get cancelled or postponed I downed tools and picked up the biscuits. The running was replaced by trips to the kitchen for sugary carbs and spiced rum and tonic. I really could get used to this; but the choice of t-shirts that I can wear without looking like Buddha after a pie eating contest is ever shrinking, which has triggered a much-needed calorie lockdown.
‘virtual races’ are generally a bit wank
Up until very recently all the virtual races have felt a bit, well to be frank, wank. I don’t know what it is that makes them so unattractive, but it all just feels a little manufactured and calculating – even when they are donating some of the proceeds to charity.
That being said, I have entered a ‘virtual race’, the virtual Hope (hope24.team-hope.co.uk – which donates £10 of the £12.50 entry to charity – with the options for running 24 days, 24 hours or 24 miles in July- I have opted for 24 days; another race I saw donated only £3 for a £15 entry fee.
I miss running the trails
I had been training for a road marathon in April and had spent a large chunk of time road running. That doesn’t mean that I don’t rather trails, because I do, I had just been trying to prioritise the marathon. Now in lockdown, and the need for marathon prioritisation over, I really miss the mud, roots and dust of the trails. The sense of freedom and open spaces. The clean air.
I should not have stopped taking the kids with me on runs
There is a burning bright positive to all of this. For the first time in years the kids have been joining me on my runs, either for a little run of their own at the end of mine, or on their bikes for the entirety of it. I don’t know why we stopped doing this – especially on their bikes. It’s great to have the company – even if the conversation is a bit one directional. Now they are a bit older I don’t need to push them up the hills and it’s a little more of a struggle if I’m not feeling too great, but when the legs feel fresh it’s lovely gliding along with them. They even point out potholes and dog shit for me.
Even when they are being little shitbags in the house, once they are out on their bikes – even if they are both there – they become different children. Happy, smiley, they even appear to like each other. The downside is the shithousery usually begins again not too long after our return.
I don’t need races to be competitive
All I need is Strava. That and watching the running wife getting faster from afar. I really don’t want to be left behind. Does that make me a #stravawanker? I think it probably does, and I guess I’ll have to be ok with that.
I don’t actually need races to focus my training, but it helps
Even before the running wife started upping the ante – at this point he wasn’t even doing much running – but after an initial lull in running the urge came back. Initially it was just a quick around the block to release a little pressure, then further, then further again. I am actually enjoying the running for the sake of running – and to try and keep up, obviously.
When I run less, I am more likely to wear running t-shirts
I hardly ever run in an event t-shirt (or even wear them at all) when things are going well, but once things start to slide I am far more likely to do so – if they still fit. The main reason for this is to remind myself that I haven’t always been as shit as i currently am – I used to be mildly better. It tends to be the ones from longer and/or tougher races – who brags about a local 5k unless you actually won it. it’s almost like a message to other runners “I may be slow and chubby now, but i used to run quite far – even if i was still chubby”. It’s no different to an Mdot tat, except I can take off the t-shirt.