Saturday, 14 March 2015
It was meant to be cold with an easterly wind blowing. I got a train to North Berwick first thing in the morning. It was certainly cold, but was it really an easterly? How come it was blowing in my face? A mile into my run I was already needing a pee so I crept into a spinney and happened upon the sad remains of somebody's Friday night. Was it one person alone, sitting in the bushes drinking four cans of Fosters, or was it a number of friends having a Fosters each? You've got to hope it was the latter.
It made me think about growing up in the country and the problem of boredom. The transactional analysts talk about stimulus and structure hunger, the things that happen to us when there's nothing going on. That's the kind of thing that can drive you to smoking cigarettes in a public toilet for kicks, or drinking cans of Fosters in a spinney. On the telly the cops are chasing the baddies. Meanwhile, out in the garden nothing happens, and keeps on happening. A snail slides up a wall, some moss grows. That's the kind of day it was today.
I felt stiff and slow despite having two days off. The cold wind didn't help. I stopped for a coffee in Gullane, a little shy of 5 miles in. A couple of miles down the road I thought I'd conquered boredom. I saw a Picasso bird in the road. It was in the bike lane so shouldn't really have been squashed by a car. While I was taking a picture of it another car nearly Picassoed me. Funny how on these country roads you get two kinds of drivers; boy racers and couples in their late 70s wearing hats and driving at 40.
In the magic woods beyond Aberlady I took a self-timed selfie. It took some doing. I had to balance the camera and then run and jump up in a tree. There was an inexplicable shell in the woods and some great mouldering branches and intense mosses. I thought that all you have to do is settle into the boredom and nature will turn the contrast up for you, but I think it was just the coffee because it wore off.
A little down the road I met Richard Dennis running in the opposite direction to pick up his car in Gullane. We stopped for a chat until our legs stiffened up. His Garmin put itself off and messed up his stats. I'd forgotten to put off my Garmin which gave me a 19 minute mile. I was going slow but not that slow.
Things got worse. I stopped in Prestonpans for a twix. It was a hell of a job to get moving again. I was getting awfully near 10 minute mile pace but my legs weren't keen to do anything about it. Maybe it'll pass I thought. In Musselburgh I nearly ran to the train station but the thought that I may have missed the hourly train and would be in for a long wait stopped me. By the Portobello prom I couldn't stand it anymore. My legs were slow and sore and I was so bored. I nearly forced myself to run those last 4 miles no matter how I felt and then I wondered what the hell I was doing. Why should I? My legs didn't want to. Maybe they were right. So I got on a bus.
God, the bus. Full of people. A little old lady came and sat next to me. She wasn't shy about touching me either. She got herself good and comfy and then pulled out her Kindle. I had this suspicion she was reading 50 Shades of Grey. I tried to peep at the page and I did see the word "Love", but I couldn't see more. Not without being really blatant about it.
Then it was time to get off the bus and my legs felt like hell. They felt like they'd been encased in clay. I shuffled down the road and by the time I got home I was nearly running normally.
I'm available for inspirational talks. Just in case you were wondering.