A long time ago, a good friend (you know the one) pointed out that I tended to be “on or off”. That is to say, I’m either very interested or not interested at all. Going hell for leather or comatose. Hot or cold. Yes or no. In or out. Etc.
From my ivory tower riverside flat I see people walking along the bank to and from the rail station. Sometimes, these people office workers running at lunchtime. It’s the Leeds Half Marathon tomorrow, which means it’s time to reveal another secret from my past: I entered the full Leeds Marathon in October 1985.
Didn’t actually take part, of course, although I kept my race number, 491, for a great many years afterwards. It might even still be in a box somewhere.
My problem was that I had no idea how to pace myself. (And I wasn’t very fit, let’s be honest.) I would set off at a seven-minute mile pace and soon run out of puff. Being overtaken by children half my age on the running track at Beckett Park was the final straw.
When it comes to ambulatory movement, I can walk or sprint – but not jog. Slow, or fast, but nothing in between.
And that’s why I envy joggers. The ability to pace yourself, to churn out mile after tedious mile, lolloping along at 12 minutes per mile is beyond me. Then again, why would I want to jog for over five hours??
Moral: if I could cope with tedious, boring repetition, travelling at a snail’s pace and getting nowhere fast, I might not have left WYCA in search of something more ‘exciting’…