Tuesday’s child is full of grace,

What is it about running?

I was never that enthused about running. From the dawn of my time it was something that other people did. I’m sure that we did running at school but I have no memory of it. At sports days I went in for the jumping and throwing things rather than the running things. I found them a shade more interesting.

I have a vague memory of watching the first London Marathon on the television and thinking that running a marathon would be something that I could do. That was about as far as I got. At weekends I played rugby, I was a forward, a position that just required me to move about the pitch at a sedate pace. It was the backs that did the running. I do remember dreading the summer training sessions which featured running round the pitch a few times, I would always be in the smokers and drinkers section at the back with the other trundling forwards. My body shape wasn’t suited to moving at speed.

The transition happened when I decided to take up triathlon. I would have to do a little running for that. Every triathlete claims to have a weak discipline and mine was the bit at the end. I started with short runs. I hated them. It took longer to get changed and showered than it took to do the run. It felt like a complete waste of time. My regular runs got slowly longer and slightly more enjoyable, but only slightly.

I joined a running club as a way of motivating me to get out a bit more. In the summer they ran round the field and in the winter they ran around the roads. I also signed up for a 10k run along with a few people from work. It was a big name event with lots of people and an event shirt that we all had to wear, an event shirt that managed to make my nipples bleed. Despite that and being beaten by Paula Radcliff my enthusiasm grew, the next logical step in my mind was to enter a marathon. Like all these things I probably wouldn’t have done it if I had I known what it involved before I started. What it did do was give me a reason to run regularly. It was the long runs that I really enjoyed. Once they went over 12 or 13 miles all kinds of things happened. I came back exhausted but satisfied. They allowed me go further afield and discover new paths. They taught me about pacing and endurance. They sparked a desire.

I ran the first marathon in Paris and thoroughly enjoyed the experience. It gave me a taste of what it was all about but it also left me battered and broken. Along with discovering running I’d also discovered the world of running injuries. There was a time when the words shin splints would mean nothing to me, Achilles tendonitis was the name of a Greek and plantar fasciitis was a political agitator. I liked that state of ignorance, now all these things meant pain of some sort.

I love the idea of being able to run long distances and I have run many marathons but there is a price and that price is pain. One day I might have to admit to myself that I’m not build for running, I’m too tall and too heavy. I could do something about the heavy but that would involve running and eating less. I’ve tried that before and I ended up hungry and injured.

So why so I run? Mainly I do it as I enjoy being outside. I don’t have a dog to take for a walk and wandering on my own feels a bit strange. Going for a run is an ideal way of getting outside, seeing what’s going on and getting some fresh air. When I’m wearing running kit I’m there for a reason, not just aimlessly wandering around with the potential to be accused of scaring small children.