Since booking the Leeds Half Marathon, I have been having a little trouble sleeping. It's not the steep hills on the Ring Road that keep me awake, it's not the fact that we pass a pony sanctuary on the way through Meanwood (I really don't like ponies... I was once bitten by one. Honestly.) It's not even the fact that I have to wear spandex and run through student land (otherwise known as Headlingly) while all the freshers bounce around with their perky bottoms and perfect pony tails. No. It's the fact that, in all probability, I will see someone I know.
It's not the 'seeing' that worries me. It's more the 'getting beaten by' and 'wearing spandex in front of' the person I know which is my problem. And, because I hate staring at the ceiling in the wee small hours (and listening to my husband snoring) I decided to take positive action and resolved to do something about it. And the something I decided to do was...run outside! There's nothing half as motivating as fear of humiliation.
Last night I ran 4 miles... in the dark. I enjoyed it so much that tonight, I ran another 6 miles. I know, can you believe it?! It's been almost 4 weeks since my last proper outdoor run and I was expecting my body to have a bit of a protest, but I felt really strong and only the prospect of running on un-lit roads in the dark (I am more scared of ghosts than attackers) prevented me from running further.
Running in the crazy wind, rain and dark has forced me into some extreme wardrobe activity. Last night I wore a vest, a long sleeved t-shirt, a hoodie and an illuminous jacket as well as full length legging and football socks. I don't mean to brag but I looked magnificent! I looked even better when I realised that my hood had a string around it and I could pull this string really tight so that the rain wouldn't get on my face. I had that string so tight that the air couldn't reach my face- at mile 2 I started to hyperventilate and had to loosen off a little. Imagine Kenny from
... now add football socks and a wobbly botty... oh yeah. Like I said, MAGNIFICENT! South Park
I've really enjoyed the running but I have noticed one thing: No-body smiles in winter! I passed at least 10 other runners and not one of them smiled, their lips didn't even twitch. I smiled and I waved but they simply ignored me (perhaps it was because my face was purple owing to the lack of circulation caused by the hood.) For whatever reason though, winter runners seem mean and grumpy. Perhaps it's the weather, perhaps it's because they are too seriously tough to smile, perhaps they are blinded by their ambition to run 26 miles in the torrential rain... whatever the reason, they don't smile and it's not acceptable.
So, first thing Monday morning I am going to order myself a 'Smile... you're running!' t--shirt with a huge happy face on it. I'll force them to smile the miserable people! If my master plan fails, I'll just wear it to bed. At least it will give me something to smile about whilst counting my husbands thunderous snores at two o'clock in the morning!
Smile if you're a runner! x