Running

It’s time for a few home truths.

I go running every morning except for Sunday. Being completely uncompetitive means I’m yet to sign up for a Marathon. I have no desire to try and beat anyone to the finish line. Some people pretend they do it for personal satisfaction. Yeah – whatever. Why not just run 26 miles on your tod, then?

I use my morning runs to wake myself up, get my brain into gear and solve any problems that may have arisen (in my dreams) during the night.

Though I’ve been running since 2009, I’ve only just installed a Map My Run app on my phone. This is partly because it’s a Blackberry – and they’re crap – and partly because I just don’t really care about the distance I’ve covered. But when Rich asks me how far I get in my daily half hour/ forty minute running expeditions, he never believes my estimates. And so I turned on Map My Run to prove him wrong. He was right – of course – I wasn’t getting as far as I’d predicted, but I wasn’t too far off.

I also bought the only piece of running equipment I own – bar running trainers – a few weeks ago: an armband to store my phone. I push my keys in there too, though there’s not really room and they jab into my upper arm when I run. Sometimes I put my debit card in as well so that I can pick up a loaf of sourdough and the Guardian on my way home. This is how I snapped my last debit card in two. Cracked by my pulsing biceps.

Maybe the reason I don’t give my gear much respect is because running, for me, is a solo activity – there’s no one judging me (at least not up close). I’ve only ever owned two pairs of running trainers – and a quick calculation (on my computer’s calculator) suggests that I may have done 1272 runs over the past four years.

Now for the home truths.

I recently dropped a squashed plum tomato on my running trainer. Rather than wipe it off, I left it to soak into the Goretex, reasoning that running through dew-dripping grass would clean them. It’s still there a week later:

My gear consists of cotton leggings – no lycra – and a hoody. I wear a sports bra as they’re absolutely obligatory for women with breasts. I’d like to forgo the sports bra as they are hideous and restrictive but that is also exactly why they have to be worn.

Sometimes I don’t wash my running clothes for a few days in a row. I read that Mary Portas also does this. If she hadn’t admitted it in the Guardian Q&A, I wouldn’t be admitting it now. I wonder if there are lots of other runners out there who also don’t wash their gear, believing that there is little point if you’re only going to go out and sweat into another jumper and pair of leggings the following day.

I am not normally so gross. People who suggest that you needn’t wash pans after frying, as you’re only going to put more grease into them the next time you fry your bacon, repulse me. I wash my pans. Well – the dishwasher washes my pans.

When I cross paths with the same people on Hackney Downs each morning, they probably think: ‘Blimey, she must have two of those grey marl vintage hoodies and paint-splattered leggings, or wash them really quickly!’ No – I don’t – I just don’t wash them.

So now the truth is out: I’m not a serious runner. I don’t wash my clothes. I need new running shoes. I’ve given up on the armband as it hurts my upper arm. I’ve stopped using GPS as I do the same route every day anyway. I’m never going to do a Marathon, or even a half Marathon.

But I still absolutely LOVE running.

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