running – What’s it all about?
Steve Wyatt muses …
Running – it evokes some strange responses. In my experience few
congratulate me on my middle age quest to remain fit and healthy but are
more likely to eye me uneasily as if I really am a being from another
planet. In truth they have a point; I remember fondly Ron Hill
tracksters and cotton running vests and the move to technical/lycra
hasn’t been all that flattering for 99% of us. Back in the day one did
get a bit soaked with manly effort and there was a rather natty fashion
for Union Jack shorts and string vests which also had the unfortunate
point of making you look like a bag of onions!
Roll on 30 years and the increase in leisure time (not for me – I’m too
busy running) has meant that the increase in middle age spread amongst
newly-confirmed cyclists (thank you ‘Wiggo’) has taken the pressure off
us slightly but nevertheless, there we are largely clad in synthetic
wearing a pair of posh plimsoles and a ‘special’ watch. It’s perhaps not
so difficult to see why all this and the competitive element of ‘racing’
make us a breed apart from the average person in Dorset.
And then there’s the language, and I’m not talking about the repeated
swearing as we stagger up Wesley Road for the umpteenth hill session. Oh
there’s Jerry’s b***dy house again is oft the cry …..
Pronator, cushioned, support anyone? Sounds more like a counselling
session than a code for something you wear on your feet. And so many of
them…Can there really be a demand for the 3,700 different running shoes
that exist on one well known website? Aside from the expense of that key
element; running shoes at circa £70 a pair (500 miles only please),
there really isn’t an awful lot to worry about regarding expense. Your
‘special’ watch at circa £130, a reflective vest at £10, numerous
race entries at anything from £10 to £50 and you are good to go. Keeping
happy a long suffering partner who tolerates all this nonsense without
so much as a PB mentioned is perhaps more of a concern. I know one
person locally who enters his races without telling his wife by passing
the entry fee to another runner who enters on his behalf! (I have made a
note of this procedure in case things turn sour at Casa Wyatt).
Of course you’ll rarely be without something to wear in running as the
one thing you’ll never be short of is memento T-shirts. We treat them
like seals and cull mercilessly every few years but still they seem to
breed quietly at the back of the running clothing cupboard. A lucky few
make it to the duster pile or maybe even get worn on a couple of runs
after their actual race date but we don’t tolerate favouritism. They get
their five minutes in the sun and then it’s off to the black bag with
all the others earned through blood, sweat and tears. (Mainly tears it
has to be said when another race entry fee is wasted on a below par
performance three minutes off my PB time- and there have been many……….)
I swore that I’d never cry in front of the dog so the fact that we don’t
have a dog hasn’t stop me blubbing like a toddler at the senselessness
of it all, train all winter in the dark, bumbling around in the wind
rain and cold, spending money and time chasing another person of
declining ability around a road that on any other day of the year you
can run on for free. Ten hours per week training to knock a few minutes
off your race time? Really? Who knew you could spend so much time on
such little return?
I’m finding it harder and harder to keep my times in races at a similar
level to the past and so I’ve had to turn to drugs. If Ibuprofen or
paracetamol ever appear on the banned list then I really am in trouble!
Running; it has many positives but it’s not difficult to see why so many
say – What’s that all about then?