Badger Runs

Yet another bloody “inspirational” running man journey. Pt 1

Okay, so get the eye rolling out of the way, yes, I know another fat middle aged man got fit during lockdown. Well tough, this is my journal/blog thing and I want to write about it.

Way back in 2020, a friend contacted me about a new “learn to run” course being held at the local community centre. Well there was one thing I knew about myself, I bloody hated running. I hated it at school, I didn’t mind it when I played rugby, but as far as I was concerned running for its own sake was the hobby of smug sods. Never mind that I was fat, unfit, lazy and undisciplined about every weightloss/fitness thing I tried, running could go hang.

Thankfully Alison persisted, she wanted a companion to go with and thankfully with the “we can egg each other on” reasoning, she bullied me into joining her at the RECC. I paid (my reasoning being that if I paid for it, then I had to go and get my monies worth), bought decent running shoes and spent a good hour bargaining with myself the night of the first class, if I went just once, then I might actually get something out of it.

So I went, met up with Alison in the parking lot and we made our way into the indoor running track and I was immediately intimidated and impressed by Joel, the instructor running the group. Joel is the kind of guy who you see running ultra marathons, he has the physique that makes grown men cry over their poor life choices, and he is quite frankly one of the nicest people I have met in sometime. I have never met someone that fit who is also non judgemental and encouraging. More about the amazing Joel later.

Very long story short, once Joel taught me how to warm up, how to ease into running with walk breaks, how to actually breathe, I found that I actually liked, no, I actually loved running.

There is mistaking that we are brothers – me on the right on my second day of running. My amazing dorky brother on the left in response.

An odd thing happened. I started to care about my appearance again. I shaved off my beard, I started looking at my clothes and caring about dressing nicer, things mattered a bit more. Then the pandemic hit and lockdown shut down the run program, but I kept on running on the rarely used treadmill in our basement.

Badger Writes

Hello 2023

I’ve never really been a new years resolutions kind of boy, and yes, I know that I’ve made half arsed attempts at great self improvement promises to myself, but any changes I’ve ever made to my life or lifestyle have been incremental and never as a result of grandiose statements made in the haze of New Years champagne (or prosecco).

In fact, the older I get, the more content I am with everything in my life. I know that comes from a certain amount of privilege, but at 53, I find myself sat in my living room typing this, a fire burning in the grate, a cat stretched out in front of it. Classical music in the background, a fresh ground coffee at my elbow and feeling content is pretty easy.

But, I do have some intentions or goals for 2023 that are smart S.M.A.R.T.
smart as it Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant and Time-bound
(See my dearest heart, I do listen and absorb).

1. Finish St Brigid (my current project), fully, completely and wearable. I have a terrible habit of starting new projects midway through long ones and getting distracted. I have at least three abandoned jumpers in project bags that need attention to be finished.
2. I have a huge stash of yarn, some bought and some inherited and I intend to sort through and make sensible decisions about what I should do with it. It’s been six years since my mother died and I inherited her stash and it’s way past time I stopped being soppy and be realistic about what I will actually use and what I should donate.
3. I will use the really nice yarn that is in my deep stash, the wet spun linens and cobweb weight stuff that I was given years ago and terrifies me.
4. I will not start new projects that require me to buy new yarn.

I switched to a e-reader a number of years ago, as I get older my eyes appreciate the resizable text and adjustable lights my Boox provides (and the warm light option means I can read in bed without the blue light problem that phones and tablets have with interrupting sleep). But I rarely give myself time to sit and read, so I tend to only read in bed before sleep and I read junk.
I want to read more of the serious literature I avoided in favour of my SF addiction.
I’ve been reading more Waugh and Orwell last year, I love Wodehouse, but feel regret that I never finished The Ragged Trouser Philanthropists, in fact I abandoned it to reread an old favourite. I Keep promising myself that I will start reading the Margaret Attwood novels I have, but found myself looking the violent TV adaptation of a Handmaids Tale and was deterred from opening her books, which is unfair of me, to judge her entire career based on one television adaptation. So fewer sweet treat SF novels and more serious broccoli ones, I like broccoli and I know I like decent literature if I make myself start.

Just before the pandemic really hit, I was persuaded to join a “learn to run” course at out local community center and much to my disgust I discovered that not only did I enjoy running, I was actually good at it. We had a few weeks running together and then it was lockdown and I was stuck with running on the treadmill in our basement. So on and off and nursing a tendon injury, I’ve been running. It’s been an amazing boost to my mental health, I’ve lost weight and I feel great.

So, now that things are getting “Back to normal” it’s my intention to increase my running training and start doing the Saturday park run in Victoria Park if and when they resume in the spring. It’s a flat 5k course, I’ve walked it with the dog before and the route is in a lovely wooded park. I know I can do it, I’ve run treadmill 5ks, I just need to up increase my stamina and endurance.

These are all still self improvement of sort, but things that I enjoy anyway. Personal domestic stuff I keep off the internet, but there are house renos and boxes in the basement from our move to the new house (6 years ago) that desperately need my attention this year and lets not talk about the state of the garage.