Monday, 3 September 2012

Running scarred

It’s Monday morning and I’m sat on my sofa in my pyjamas.  Yes, you’re right, I should count myself jolly fortunate not to be chained to my desk, but in all honesty I’m feeling a bit sorry for myself.  And I blame sport.
As I’m sure most of you will have picked up from previous blogs, I have been less than enthusiastic about the Olympics but, subconsciously or not, I think I too have been inspired by the achievements of our athletes.  On Saturday I decided to diversify from my usual exercise regime and went for a swim.  I quite enjoyed it and, although speed is not my strength, I did a good 60 lengths at not a bad pace. 
I should have left happy – but sadly my mood was dampened (no pun intended) by the attitude of another swimmer sharing the medium lane with me.  Yes, I wasn’t the fastest swimmer in the lane (but certainly not the slowest) and I do expect the odd speedygonzalez to whizz past me on occasion – especially when there isn’t a fast lane for them to occupy.  But what I don’t expect is for them to cut me up when they overtake.  Or to dive under other swimmers to get past.  And certainly not to swim on top of me.
Yes, this happened.  I looked around to see the said water-baby actually on my legs.  She looked up at me.  I looked back, waiting for her to, well, stop, and at least smile an apology.
“If you don’t like people overtaking you, you should swim in the slow lane.”
I was dumbfounded at this response. 
“You might be better suited there.”  She continued.
I gave her my most withering look, shook my head in disbelief and carried on swimming.  There was absolutely no point arguing with this woman who was further up her own arse than her grannyfied swimming costume.  But I couldn’t help but feel outraged at her lack of manners – and sheer cheek.  A prime example of how having a plummy accent doesn't always mean you’ve been brought up well.
However, I will not be defeated by fitness freaks who like to belittle people who aren’t quite as good as they are.  So, on Sunday, I went for a jog.  The start was hard-going - a steep hill followed by a slight but relentless incline before flattening out and gradually going downhill.  Which it did in more ways than one.
I was going at a respectable pace and feeling good.  After the hard slog up to Highgate Woods, I was debating jogging all the way to Finsbury Park – and keeping going until I got home.  However, a small and unseen rock poking up in my path put an end to this, and within an instant I had added diving to my repertoire.  As I glided onto the floor my water bottle rolled to the feet of a couple walking by who, either down to common decency or a lack of choice, checked that I was okay.
“At least you missed the dog poo.”  The woman offered and I managed a little joke in return.  As they walked on I assessed the damage.  My elbow was scarlet and my hand pretty grazed too, plus my knee was throbbing.  I hobbled home to lick my wounds. 
After a shower and a liberal application of Savlon to my affected bits, I decided to relax in front of the telly with a plate of beans on toast.  I flicked it on, hoping to find an episode of Come Dine with Me or Deal or No Deal.  What did I find?  Bloody Paralympics. 
Don’t get me wrong; I think the Paralympics is fantastic and much more inspiring that it’s big brother.  But after my recent experience, I really didn’t want to see people much less able bodied than me whooping my ass in the disciplines I had just failed so spectacularly at.  I mean, you don’t see any of them being belittled in the swimming pool or sprawling head-first across the athletics track, do you?  Whereas I, all limbs intact and with a body that is supposed to function as it should, can’t even manage that.  NOT good for the old ego.
And, let’s face it, when you’re feeling a bit beaten by the world, you want comfort telly.  For me, that is Channel 4 with its lifestyle programmes and silly quizzes.  With dismay I realised that the sports coverage was on until late at night and, mildly disgusted, turned off the telly and tuned into Radio 6.
So, the moral of the story?  Sport is not always good for you.  Physically and emotionally.  Now, if you’ll excuse me, I think I need to reapply my Ibuprofen...

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