Today’s Much Love Monday is brought to you by The Boss with Born to Run
Between about 1999 and 2006, I was really into running. I mean really. I mean my physio came to my house and took my trainers off me when I’d been to see him for several related injuries in a matter of weeks. I ran about 100k a week, split up into three or four 10 or 15k runs, and then a weekend run of about 25-40k.
I loved running. I can’t tell you how much I loved running. I’d get itchy if I couldn’t run. I’d squash in a 5k run in the morning if I knew I wasn’t going to be able to do it at night. I’m not talking a 45 minute jog. I’m talking 25 minutes at about 12 k an hour. Down to Bolton, back up Daubhill. Down Swan Lane, where it’s flatter, as a warm up, then a power up Daubhill, up Derby St in Bolton. Those two hour runs at the weekend would easily turn into three. I’d have run all day if I’d have had time.
I went through a pair of trainers every 10 weeks.
In about 2004, I got my first ipod and that refined my running even further. I went mad for lots of real dance anthems at the beginning, then into power tracks at the end – the cheesier the better. When you know you’ve got an uphill run of 3k left, you’ve given it your all already, a bit of Queen, a bit of the Eye of the Tiger, a bit of Bruce, a bit of Bryan Adams with We’re gonna win. Number 1 was everything.
At that point, I was also doing about five or six classes – lucky for me, Esporta was open until midnight and had classes til 10 pm. I’d finish with a swim after that, too. I’d get into bed, knackered. I loved it. Nothing made me feel so good as all that sweat.
That’ll be the endorphins. Nature’s opiates.
I was truly addicted.
I’d started having sprained ankles every year around January. Once, I was doing some training with a guy from Sale Sharks. There’s this kind of ball thing that rugby players use to simulate the bounce of a rugby ball. It’s like lots of little balls glued together and it can go any one of a hundred ways and it’s great for on-the-spot directional changes. I yanked my ligaments that hard that I screamed, then rolled around on the floor. I went to the physio. He told me to give it a rest. I told him to sort me out so I could run.
Then I started getting real pains. I couldn’t walk in the mornings. I couldn’t even stand up. I went to the doctor and he told me I had plantar fasciitis – a particularly nasty strain of the tissue that joins the bone to the muscle. It would have been better had I broken something. He sent me to a podiatrist. That idiot told me I was overweight at 8 stone and I should stop running. The stopping running I couldn’t bear to hear, and wearing size 10 clothes, I didn’t believe him about my weight, either.
So I went private. The podiatrist made me orthotics and gave me exercises. He told me I had stress fractures and showed me diagrams of my feet from scans. It was the end of my running. It’s a ‘never again’ case, unless being chased by pirates, rapists, muggers or murderers. And I feel like a recovering alcoholic told that one more drink will kill them. I know it will kill me, but boy do I miss it, do I want it.
In fact, the zumba class I went to brought all those endorphins flooding back and made me so desperate for more.
I wonder if it’s coincidence that the last round of depression started when I quit running, when that last endorphin kick happened in my body? When I was literally in so much agony, I had to hold myself against the wall in the morning to walk those first steps?
Perhaps, too my hypomania was provoked by all that natural opium, by that quest for ‘the zone’ – that moment when you feel you are at the top of the world, about 40 mins into a run when your initial fatigue has disappeared. God that place felt good. I felt unbreakable, like every fibre in my body was working in harmony. I felt as light as air, detached from myself. It was almost like an out-of-body experience. I can’t truly describe the glory of being in that high and you’ll only know what it’s like if you’ve had it yourself. Unfortunately, it lasts until you stop, or until you hit the wall and your body says ‘hello?????! What the hell are you doing, you crazy, crazy fool??!’
Perhaps, though, I’ve got fewer pharmacological highs and lows within my own body these days. Now I listen to Born to Run in a different way – as a girl who would just like to strap her hands across Bruce’s engines. Especially if that Bruce still has the very tight little bottom he had in the 1980s. That’s my consolation prize, unfortunately.
Anyway, Much Love also for the rain we had last night… not had much of that over the last two months. I got a big load of digging in before it rained – it was 31° yesterday. My garden needs that rain!
Much Love too for the winds. They always blow the cobwebs away. Any former teachers will agree with me on this – wind is the worst school weather, worse than snow or heat or rain. It sends the children crazy.
Not Much Love for my delicate flowers of dogs who decided they cannot go to the toilet outside if it’s been wet. I don’t know why. Their bums don’t even touch the ground. Thus Heston laid the world’s biggest turd in the woodshed and Tilly followed suit with a pee more suitable for an old man after a night of ale and a good night’s sleep. Now Heston’s got his arm on the arm of the sofa, and he’s staring at me, doe-eyed. He knows I’m having bad thoughts about him.
Much Love for tomorrow’s planned cake fest at a friend’s house. I ♥ cake.
Who was it that said that bad weather is God’s way of letting gardeners do the housework? It’s about time, though. The house is in need of a right good clean. So I’m going to stick some Queen on to warm up, followed by … hmm… perhaps some Juanes… and then I’m going to get busy with the cif and the bleach and the scrubbing brushes.