I have often wondered what could have been had I discovered that I was actually pretty decent at running about 10 years before I actually did. After all, the kid that used to live next door to my Aunt and Uncle that I used to occasionally hang around with now goes round winning national races, and can run a 10k in under 30 minutes. And to think I was the little cretin that threw his sunglasses the river. Could that have been me now, running around for a living? Have I somehow missed out on the chance of being vaguely successful at something instead of being stuck doing temporary admin work for the local government in the run up to my 30th birthday? After all, I’m shit at football but at least I can run around (aimlessly) for ninety minutes. Imagine if I did a sport where that was all I had to do? I could have been something!
Actually, no. No I couldn’t. I simply do not have the mentality for it. Take this weekend for instance. Barely a week into my training plan for next Sunday’s Liverpool Tunnel 10k and the simple act of “going to watch the football” on Saturday turned into a cider and wine bender so severe that I was still feeling rough on the bus into work this morning. I was supposed to do my biggest training run to date on Sunday, as well as a smaller one yesterday, and instead all I have done is sit watching films in my pants feeling sorry for myself for two days.
The worst thing is I’d had a really good week leading up to it as well. Lots of healthy eating, no booze, plenty of running. With only three weeks to train for the 10k I had to make a pretty decent effort of being a bit healthy and training properly if I was going to get anywhere near my sub-40 minute personal best. But it turns out I couldn’t even go a week without letting myself down and ruining a week’s good work.
I do actually enjoy running, which may sound weird considering I have spent pretty much the entire blog so far whingeing about it. But I do seem to lack a bit of that self discipline sometimes (I would say “winning mentality” but the only thing I have ever won is a Spice Girls CD on local radio, so I think that would be overselling myself slightly). Most evenings on the bus home I will start thinking about how much easier it would be just to sit in listening to music and playing on my PS3 all evening. Playing football last season gave me an easy option often too. Match tomorrow? Don’t want to knacker myself up for that do I. Played yesterday? Too tired / injured to run today. If I know there is a big weeknight football match on TV that evening – and let’s be honest, as a Spurs fan there has been quite a few this season – then I will put a run off if there’s the slightest chance I can’t squeeze it in before kick off. Going to midweek gigs poses a similar problem. I think this was why I was so pleased last week actually, as I managed to go to two gigs after fairly big runs, not drink and generally feel a bit smug about myself. Then I got cataclysmically ruined all day Saturday and haven’t run since. I think the next four months are going to be a test of discipline as much as anything else.