March 26, 2014 § 11 Comments
This morning, I went for my first run in probably 20 years. Please don’t take that to mean that I was a runner 20 years ago – I’m fairly allergic to exercise. And when I say I went for a run, I half shuffled, half jogged around most of our block. But I was inspired by my friend, Cath Jenkin, who started doing something similar a few weeks ago. Do read her article about it here – it’s a worthwhile read.
I’d like to emphasise that I am not a natural athlete, and that’s putting it very politely. I am built for comfort, not for speed. I like to tell people that I have a body of steel, but I keep it bubble-wrapped so it can’t be damaged. I’m also completely unco-ordinated and terminally unfit. So for me to choose to go for a run was a Big Deal.
I laced myself into my lumo running shoes, said a silent prayer to whomever the gods of running might be – Usain Bolt, probably – and set off. I was about halfway when I ran past a man on the street. A man with just one arm. I wheezed and puffed a cheery greeting at him as he pressed the doorbell at one of my neighbours’ houses. He looked at me, deadpan, and tutted. “You’re only going at a three-quarter pace,” he said, not bothering to return my greeting.
My first thought was: “Why does this always happen to me?”
The last time I remember running, was just over 20 years ago when I lived in a flat opposite a school. The school was on a fair-sized block, and so I decided I would try and run around it. On my way, I met a small, lithe woman running effortlessly in the opposite direction. In other words, a woman who was the exact opposite of me.
She ran past me, greeted me, and continued on her way. Or so I thought until moments later when I heard her coming back. She caught up with me and fixed me with a quizzical gaze. More accurately, she fixed my boobs with a quizzical gaze. I’m used to this reaction from men – I have a fairly splendid pair of double dangs, if I may say so – but I don’t usually get this response from women.
Then she looked me in the eye and said: “I don’t know how you run with those. It must be very difficult.” And then she ran off again, leaving me completely flabbergasted and slightly demoralised.
So that’s why I strapped on two industrial-strength bras before I left for this morning’s foray. It’s also why I sometimes think twice about exercising in public. Because the public are damn rude, don’t you think?