Welcome back, Narcissus

Oh blog, what a terribly long time it’s been. After I last wrote, I fell victim to that blogger’s Kryptonite, Who-Me syndrome. Because I’m no one important, and hence my opinions aren’t important, or at least not important enough to emblazon upon a public chalkboard for any old internet wanderer to see. Who’d be interested, and who was I to think they’d be interested?

It’s a valid point, but it’s one that bloggers generally keep under their hats, since it undermines their whole reason for being. And, I confess, I missed you. So here I am again: begone, ye humility. I have opinions to share.

I’m one of thousands of women Racing for Life in a week and a half, but my goodness, I bet none of them are making such a fuss about it as me. Who knew 5k would be so impossibly undoable? How will I stand the shame of toiling around Prospect Park at one-tenth of a normal running speed, puffing like an asthmatic horse on its way to the knacker’s, with all those gaily-outfitted breast cancer fighters?

In a fit of desperation I have been running every (week)day for the past week and a bit, just to Waitrose and back, which is half the distance. I am blushing with embarrassment as I type. I arrive home feeling like my lungs have cracked into splinters. And the splinters are trying to get out of my mouth. And my face is a deeply unbecoming, clarety red.

Hills hate me, because I hated them first.

There’s one glimmer of hope at the end of this long tunnel of humiliation, however: I am getting better, even if by infinitesimal degrees. I can get all the way there and back without stopping significantly more than once, which is a change from the first couple of times we went, when I staggered and spat and frightened small children. I’ve also discovered three failsafe ways of making it less horrible:

  • Listen to songs that allow you to play air guitar. Air saxophone is better, but harder to find. I do not know what the passing drivers think of me using my Nokia as the neck of a Stratocaster, but I’ve already cast away the last rags of my dignity by choosing to run on a  main road, so whatever.
  • Breathe much, much more than you think you need to. I was trying to breathe deeply, but it works better if you breathe quickly AND deeply: it doesn’t lead to a swoon outside the fish and chip shop, as I feared it might; it takes concentration to breathe quickly, which takes concentration away, mercifully, from the splintery lungs business.
  • Put on ‘One Day More’ from Les Miserables during the last, agonising hill climb. It’s exactly the right speed for my saggy end-of-tether jog, and the strength of a hundred voices pushes you further than you thought you could be pushed. That bit when Enjolras breaks in at the top of his voice, oh my. You could run a mile.

  Of course I have yet to tackle one, obvious part of the Race for Life: absolutely no one, as yet, is sponsoring me for doing it. Which means, when I make my toilsome way through the crowds of pink-shirted ladies, I’ll be doing it for precisely nothing. I hate, hate, hate asking for sponsor money (one of the reasons I almost never do sponsored events), but if I’m going to hurt this badly, then I think cancer needs to hurt a bit as well. Tis only fair.



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