05 January 2009

Regent's Park Resolutions

The New Year is actually a very bad time to be making resolutions, even if you are the kind of person who makes resolutions. January is cold, dark and miserable, which means the last thing you feel like doing at 6 p.m. on a Monday evening is hurrying off to Oxford Circus to do a seven-mile run; far preferable would be to snuggle up indoors with a movie or a good book. Also, eating chocolate and ice cream is a comfort when the weather outside is frightful so who would want to give them up in January and kick-start the diet? As for booze, well, at least a few shots of vodka warm you up a little, so giving that up in January is out.

This is why I began my running regime in July when it was beautifully sunny (for a week, at least). (Actually, I started then because my gym membership had expired and I was sans domicile fixe but I know that if my gym membership had run out in January, I probably would have started using a pay-as-you-use public gym (eww) rather than heading out into the wind and the rain.) I haven't once had a motivation problem, though, not even today when it was so very cold even wearing two hoods and a hat while walking over to Oxford Circus didn't keep my head warm. 

However, the running club was busier than I had ever seen it and the Outer Circle itself was populated with far more non-running-club folks than usual, mainly blokes, for once, in pairs, chatting about the footie. They couldn't have been going very fast, though, as I overtook a whole load of them. In fact, everyone today was running more slowly than me, which meant that for vast chunks of the run I was toute seule with not another pedestrian in sight. It was also very dark and parts of the Outer Circle were very icy and the combination of these two factors meant that it was very difficult to see whether one was about to step on a patch of black ice and go slipping to the ground. Thus, I was extra careful to pay attention where I was walking and to try to be as light on my feet as possible.

I listen to the Grauniad Science Weekly podcast religiously (if I can apply such an adverb to such a podcast) but this week's really wasn't my thing. 22 minutes of listening to them talking about their new building and how cool the architecture was and how environmentally friendly it was started to do my head in. 

I'm sure it was because of this that towards the end of my second lap, I had been lulled into a sense of boredom and forgot to keep an eye out for hazards on the pavement and ended up skidding over what was either black ice or just a very wet, slippy surface--it was too dark to see--landing badly on my ankle and crippling myself so much that I had to hobble back to Oxford Circus. I was so far ahead of the few other seven-milers that it was a few minutes before one of the running club peeps caught up with me and asked if I was OK, although I clearly wasn't. I was hoping they might call a taxi or something but I just had to hobble slowly back to the shop. The worst thing was that it was so bloody cold outside--I get cold wearing just a long-sleeved hooded top and trousers even when I'm running so with the same kit at walking pace, the numbness of my hands at least distracted me from the pain in my foot.

The running club people encouraged me to take the tube home rather than walking ("What? But it's £1.60 now for two measly stops!"), which turned out to be pretty erroneous because there are a lot of steps at Oxford Circus and at my stop and it was also pretty busy so there were lots of people jostling to get me out of the way. Even getting to the tube proved difficult, despite the fact that the shop is just outside the entrance because of the stupid free paper people who will lunge at you thrusting their disposable "news" in your direction, causing you, on reflex, to divert your course. 

But I made it back home and my foot's feeling much better after a one-legged hot shower and some rest. I bought some Ben & Jerry's on the way home to put on my ankle but, of course, I ate it instead (well, some of it). I'm sure eating it made me feel better than putting it on my ankle would have done. Curses! I feel like such an idiot and now tomorrow I'll have to hobble through the near Arctic Nowheresville looking like a fool and trying not to fall over again. Error; serious fucking error.

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