I heard them before I could see them, 320 pairs of feet slapping against the concrete path and as the noise got louder and the feet got closer the hairs on the back of my neck stood up as I clapped the runners past. It was the most incredible sound and hard to imagine that I am normally one of them, although not getting anywhere near the pace that the frontrunners achieve. The sound of the sea used to be my favourite noise but I tell you, the sound of trainers pounding concrete sure takes some beating.
I volunteered this Saturday at my local Parkrun giving out the position tokens in the finish funnel and I really felt the love. I also felt the heat and shared the pain as people beasted themselves round the course. My congratulations felt a bit empty and I wish I could have given them ice cold water and a rub down as they passed me by all sweaty and disorientated.
Ooh, that sounds a bit pervy, it wasn’t meant to.
Fast forward 24 hours and I was back on the Common but this time I was clad head to toe in Lycra (yes, in public!) and ready to take on Race for Life with the ladies from work. We took our places in the sea of pink and tried to keep as cool as possible which was pretty darn difficult because it was hot. Bastard hot in fact. So hot that all I wanted to do was lie in the shade whilst wearing as little as possible and drinking ice cold G&T’s, not hoofing my arse round Southampton Common even if it was for charity. However the love for my family, friends, and work ladies affected directly and indirectly by cancer propelled my bottom forth to the point that where we rounded the corner back out on to The Avenue talking about how wonderful the support we show each other is my legs went a bit fizzy thinking about it.
Our team all crossed the line with big smiles on their faces, really feeling like we achieved something, by raising over £2,000 for Cancer Research, by supporting each other on a very emotional day, and by busting our humps round the course in the extreme heat. Sure there have been naysayers saying it’s only 3 miles but yah boo sucks to them, it’s easy to do something down when you weren’t there.
Last night feeling spurred on by life and a bit freaked out that it was 3 months, 1 week and 3 days until the Great South Run I decided to make the switch to proper outdoor training instead of pounding out miles on the treadmill. I’d been putting it off because I knew that some scrote would comment on the size of my arse or my wobbly thighs or potentially both combined.
Well I wasn’t wrong. However the three little cock weasels who chose to point out that I have a big arse don’t get any points for creativity whatsoever, because did they really think I’d made it to 31 years old without realising I don’t in fact have an arse like two boiled eggs in a hankie? It’s more like two bowls of blancmange in a picnic blanket and so it felt bloody great to have a little smirk at their braindead waste of oxygen comments and speed up leaving them in my trails. In my head I felt like Marion Jones but in reality I was more like a particularly energetic tortoise.
I did it though, and I’ll do it again, and again, and again, until running outside feels like second nature and I can look back at my 15 minute one mile run with pride that I didn’t give up.
Because I won’t. Fat blancmange arse or not.