Life’s Lessons…Learned In Mysterious Ways (Like While Jogging)

Ok, now you’ve picked yourself up off the floor, YES, I ACTUALLY WENT JOGGING.  Difficult to comprehend for those who know me, but my pot-belly, apparently a well-known trait for Cancerians, is beginning to stick out further than my boobs, especially in a sports bra, and thus, I decided, something must  be done.  After losing a stone and a half (9.5kg) in the space of a few weeks back in 2010, managing to keep same weight off while nom-noming the vast range of American delicacies available to me during the five months I spent studying/travelling in the US last year, the weight has slowly crept back on, thanks to bingeing on the delight which is British chocolate, something which I blame partly on the four months I spent working as a temp for a company that provides equipment and prizes such as medals for those taking part in sporting events.  Hence, somewhat, my desire to work-avoid now.

Anyway, back to the pot-belly.  Whenever I think of pot-bellies, I think of Johnny Depp, who I seem remember used to have a pot-belly pig.  So now I’m waffling, back to the blog post in hand.

Having struggled to shift the weight I’ve now put back on, I decided that I must try and lose it before it becomes hidden underneath a mountain of jumpers in the attempt to keep myself warm during the cold winter, resurfacing only when I’m ready to wear a bikini in the back garden again.

I’ve been running a few times with my friend, Susan.  We’d followed our usual route through a busy part of town, running a bit, walking a bit, then running a bit more.  I’d promised myself I would run alone, during the daytime, since I had the free time, and thus I rather surprised myself this morning, by putting aside my copy of David Mark’s The Dark Winter, a debut crime novel that already had me gripped, and by getting out of bed, putting on my running clothes and being out the door within five minutes.

I had already decided to run a different route to that which we’d previously taken on a quiet Sunday morning.  I wanted somewhere a little quieter, where I could soak in the sunshine and feel smug about running, imagining myself to be running somewhere far more exotic, like the Santa Monica boardwalk, or Central Park.  Which was fine, on the way to my destination.  It was on the way back, when I decided to come back a different way, that it happened.  I got lost.  In my home city of Lincoln.

Running back along the river, I passed a group of fishing men, and woman, who may have started drinking already, even though ten o’clock had not yet struck.  Their yellow tent gave me the impression they’d been there all night, but perhaps it was just somewhere to go should it rain during the day.  I can’t claim to be an expert in fishing, a “sport” that does not interest me whatsoever.

One of them, the one closest to the river, said “good morning”, which, in hindsight, was the way you do when you know something that the person you are saying it to doesn’t.  I said “good morning” back and nodded at the others, who nodded in response.  I only got a little further down the riverbank, when the path cut between the grass seemed to fade, becoming little more than a faint line through the long blades of grass.

Here, I had a choice, I could go back, back past the fisherman and their early morning tipple, or I could plough on ahead. I’d seen another lady jogger just in front of me earlier, and before I’d passed the fishermen, I saw her running back down the other side of the river, and had assumed she’d run this way, over the bridge at the end, and back down the other side.  Not wanting to look like the novice jogger I am, I looked at the invisible ‘Point of No Return’ sign usually reserved for film heroines, and decided to continue.

I jogged until it became impossible to jog further, and waded through the long grasses.  I saw the path pick up again, running upwards along the river bank, and followed it until again, alongside the back gardens of people’s houses, until it became lost once more among nettles and other weeds.  It picked up again and I ran down the river to near the water’s edge, then followed it until I came to the end of the houses, and I couldn’t see what was round the corner.   It was at this point that I had to admit defeat.  Reluctantly, I headed back, through the nettles, up the hill and following the back gardens, came out alongside what appeared to be old people’s flats, and back out to civilisation.

Knowing now where I was, I confidently headed back along the streets, completing my journey along one of the busy roads in the city.  By this point, I didn’t have the energy to run, every time I attempted it, I could feel my chest wheezing and my stomach hurt.  So I strode home, trying my best to look like I was walking because I’d run 10 miles, rather than the two or three I had completed.

Upon my return home, I grabbed the glass I’d used earlier to pour myself a tiny glass of water, enough to swallow my Prozac.  Instead of filling it with the Diet stuff I was craving, I poured myself a full glass of water from the tap, and insisted to myself that I drink that, and then I could have a glass of the liquid I was desperate for.

Reflecting upon my jogging experience, I realised that I’d learned some lessons.  1) Keep it simple: On my first solo run, I’d planned a new route, somewhere I was only vaguely familiar with, and changed said route along the way.  Hence, resulting in my getting lost in the wilderness.  In American Studies, much study is given to the theory of the “wilderness” and “civilisation”, the “wilderness” deemed to be man’s place and “civilisation”, woman’s.  Was it wrong, when faced with the choice of heading back to the safety of civilisation, instead I continued on through the wilderness?  Returning to civilisation, only when necessary.  2) What is the second lesson, I ponder to myself?  I returned today with a great sense that I had learned several lessons.  I guess the second, is not to be so ambitious.  Perhaps that is the same as the first lesson.  I know this is a problem I have.  I get these fantastic ideas that I’m not always capable of carrying through.  But you know, I wouldn’t change a thing.  You don’t have ambition, and where does that get you?  I guess I will always end up taking the path of most resistance, and, sometimes, yes, it will hurt.  But that doesn’t mean it wasn’t worth the journey. ❤