Running up that hill, little by little (Week 2 of 9)


Forgive me for breaking one of Orwell’s sacred rules of writing by starting this off with a cliché but progress is a slow process.

After last week’s workouts I was feeling pretty positive about this nonsense I’ve gotten myself into, if for no other reason than having actually started. I hadn’t died or collapsed into a sweaty pile in Hung Hom so that felt like a win. This second week has been more mixed. The schedule for each run of Week 2 looks like this:

–          Run 45secs

–          Walk 60secs

–          Run 60secs

–          Walk 90secs

–          Run 90secs

–          Walk 2mins

–          Repeat all of the above two more times

Or from my point of view:

–          Fair enough

–          Piece of piss this running lark

–          *Slight puffing and panting*

–          Steady now

–          Shit

–          *Much puffing and panting

–          Repeat until you hate life

I’m always just getting to the point where my legs are shouting at my brain when the workout ends. It’s helpful to keep count which rotation I’m on because it does genuinely push me on to hit a target. The downside is that I’m clock-watching. I’m glancing at my phone as I go, seeing how many seconds until I can walk again and I don’t think that’s strictly the way it’s meant to be done. I guess it doesn’t matter as long as it’s doing the job but I can’t really tell if it is yet. The only signifier has been that I don’t feel like shite when I get back into the flat. It doesn’t take as long to cool down now so I can only imagine that the washboard abs will come along any minute now. If I don’t wake up with them tomorrow I shall be quite disappointed.

In general this week has been up and down. My last run in particular felt tough for whatever reason. That may have been because it was during the day instead of night time after work and therefore marginally less cool. Or it could have been because it had just rained and I had to keep slowing down to avoid going arse-over-tit. It was more jogging than RAHN-ing at those points. Not sure how I would spell Alison saying ‘jog’ but then again I doubt that word is in her vocabulary.

As I mentioned last week Alison is gracious enough to allow me five minutes to warm up and five minutes to cool down before I can go back home. The eagle-eyed among you may look back up to the schedule there and see that that means I’m basically wandering around for seven solid minutes at the end. What’s the difference between a two-minute walk and a five-minute cool down walk? Is it in how much you swing your arms? It’s not like there’s a feature to ask Alison about it but even if there was I don’t think she’d answer me. She’d probably be offended. I imagine she would only talk back to me after I get up to seven weeks or so. I’m sort of worried about developing some kind of Stockholm Syndrome with her…

The old guys doing tai chi where I run haven’t got any friendlier. They generally just glance quizzically at me as well they might. When some white and red mass of flesh repeatedly lollops past you I don’t suppose there’s a more rational reaction. There’s always one old guy just walking backwards and swinging his arms around. He just goes back and forth in the same spot flailing his arms all over the place. And he’s always there! I tried waving to him once and he glared at me like I’d come into his house and pissed in his sink.

The lady in the security office thing smiles at me as I go by but she’s pretty much the only one. The only other ones that are always there are the stray cats and I’ve got no beef with them. There is often a group of four ladies spread out in a line at the top of a flight of stairs doing strange slow-motion dance routines. I don’t know what they’re listening to but it amuses me to think they’re slo-mo grooving to whatever I’m listening to as I weave through them.

Music has been an issue. I sometimes strike gold when I picking music to run to but it’s been hit-and-miss. I tried listening to a podcast once and as entertaining as it was, it wasn’t cutting it for me. I came away more tired than if I had listened to something up-tempo and much more aware of the passing of time. The half-hour shot by when I was listening to Queens of the Stone Age so I can heartily recommend Songs for the Deaf as running music, especially if you can time the bit where the first song kicks in with when you set off for your first run. I don’t think I’m quite at the stage where I’m making my own workout mixes (if that doesn’t make me that guy it must makes me a close friend of that guy) but if anyone has recommendations I’m all ears.

Week 3 will see me doing three-minute runs which I feel nowhere near prepared for but the sessions will be shorter. I thought it might be a good idea to research what best to eat before runs so I went to a few message boards. The lesson I learned was never go to running message boards. I don’t think I’ve ever encountered so many preening, self-involved pricks and I’ve been on nights out on Wyndham Street AND Soho. They were everything I feared becoming when I started this. I can summarise the average post thusly ‘Blah blah blah energy drink blah blah blah endorphins blah my muscles, winking emoticon, blah blah personal best, blah blah blah here is the wanky-douchey runathon I’m training for, another winking emoticon’. But the one that made me close the laptop and hold my head in my hands was some woman trying to tell the internet that the best things to eat before running are ‘walnuts and flax seeds’. Walnuts. And flax seeds. Can you think of anything that sounds less appealing than that?  Just the sound of the words ‘flax’ and ‘seeds’ makes me scrunch my face up. Go on, say it to yourself right now. Awful isn’t it? Let me be clear woman on the internet: you may be right. You may be telling us the most scientifically proven, unequivocally healthy, optimum thing to eat before physical activity. But if you come near me and recommend I voluntarily eat seeds you can kindly fuck the fuck off. Thanks.

I’m David Hetherington and I’m going to keep running until that flailing old man smiles at me!

(Music for the first run this week: Kanye West’s My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy ablum. It worked very well, especially Monster.)



One thought on “Running up that hill, little by little (Week 2 of 9)

  1. Poppy says:

    Ha. Flax seeds. I’m with you there.
    Childish Gambino? It didn’t turn out to be especially helpful when you insisted I play it whilst writing my dissertation, but it may be good to run to.

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