Wednesday, 12 October 2011

Jogging? I’ll give it a go!

I’ve been thinking a lot about my blog recently and where to go with it. Having a wonderful life is all very well, but it’s a bit passive and fluffy. So I’ve given myself a full review, completed a SWOT analysis and am now in the process of refocusing and rebranding – playing about with new looks, names and themes for the site (new look will be revealed soon).

Looking back, and being nostalgic is all well and good, and I’m sure stories about pixie boots and Duran Duran will keep cropping up. But really, going forward, that’s what it needs to be – going forward. 

Think ‘Go with Noakes’ crossed with ‘Why Don’t You’. See, I knew I wouldn’t be able to keep the 80’s down for long.

No time like the present, so yesterday I decided to embrace my new focus and give something a go – jogging!

Jogging – how hard can it be? 

I have legs, surely running is just a natural extension!

As a running widow, I’m practically a professional spectator. I stand and cheer the elite, the fast, the not so fast and the ‘blimey, you don’t look like a runner!’ People who look like they spend more time on the sofa eating chips than training, but still seem to be able to churn out a respectable half marathon time.

Running – it’s a bit like a cult. Welcome to the world of PB’s, 10K’s, Asics, gate analysis and Garmins. Over the years they’ve tried their best to convert me, but I’ve strongly resisted. 

“I was like you,” they’ll say, “but I just built it up over time and now look at me, I’ve just done my first Iron Man.”

“I’m not a runner,” is my standard response, followed by “dodgy knees” and finally, “I just don’t enjoy it.” End of conversation – very assertive.

Running takes me back to school and cross country round Maple Road playing fields. I’d always start with great intentions. “This time I’ll be able to keep up.” But as the others merrily skipped off, I’d sprint for 200m trying to keep up, accept defeat, collapse breathless and walk the rest of the way berating myself for being fat and rubbish. I absolutely hated it. The mere thought of cross country made me go hot and cold in the changing rooms.

Although I always crossed the line with a smile, inside I was crushed. 

Things didn’t get any better in the summer months. I was the only person in the history of our school, not to get any stars in the 5 Star Athletics programme. I even had to have a rest during the 400m!

I did beat someone once, but that was only because she was having an asthma attack.

I think you can probably understand my resistance to running.

I have flirted with jogging in the past. In the ‘80’s I ran to fit into a size 12 Laura Ashley ball gown. And I did take part in the Liverpool Santa 3K Santa Run soon after I’d met Tris. I think I was trying to impress him. But a Santa outfit and beard is both a good disguise and a good excuse to walk, so I wouldn’t call it a serious attempt. 

Ho ho hopeless.
However, new Alison, new start!

In the last three weeks, I’ve supported at The Berlin Marathon, The Cheshire Triathlon and The Chester Marathon. For God’s sake, I walked down the aisle to the  theme tune to the London Marathon

Jogging – how hard can it really be?

Tris says, if you get tired, then slow down, you’re running too fast. Could it really be that simple? All these years I’ve just been trying to run too fast?

So yesterday, on probably the filthiest day of the year, I dug out my gleaming trainers, lycra, ipod and determination and headed for the Mersey and Chorlton Waterpark. 

Horizontal rain and flooding do have their benefits:

1.    No one else would be stupid enough to be out in weather like this.

2.    No one else would see me.

3.    I could run disguised with my hood up without anyone thinking I was a looter.

My chosen route was just under 5K. 

With my headphones firmly in my ears, in the lashing rain I walked with purpose across Jackson’s Bridge, and the swollen river Mersey. I did a few stretches. I had absolutely no idea what I was doing, but I didn’t want to get a strain.

Jackson's Bridge.

Swollen Mersey River.
“Mad bint,” I told myself, as I set off, skirting the massive puddles on the path, trying to keep my trainers clean and encouraged along the way by Shania Twain – who ‘Felt Like a Woman’. 

Mad bint!

The way ahead.

Jogging along to Shania, I remembered what Tris said and slowed right in an attempt not to peak too soon. I was overtaken by a pensioner with a shopping trolley. Never mind. Keep going Alison.

Jogging, how hard can it be?

A football whizzed past me floating down the river, dogs in coats, berries cascading from the trees, soggy wet leaves. Autumn was in full swing.

Autumn is ......

...........well and truly here.

Shania left me. “Damn, Damn, bystanders”, bugger can’t stop for a rest now.

Kenny Loggins picked up the baton as I pressed on with Footloose.

I had the path completely to myself now. Clean trainers were no longer an option, so I stopped and splashed in a puddle for a while, did a few star jumps and a little dance. I’d managed at least five minutes of what can only be described as running - and I was still alive!

Which way?

I gave myself a little break and walked the mile round Chorlton Waterpark. George Michael thought I was 'Amazing.’ 

I was in full agreement.

Chorlton Waterpark.

Raining dogs & dogs.

Under cover.

Michaelmas daisies.

Soggy doggy.

I love ipod shuffle. It reminds me what a thoroughly random record collection I have. After a short ambient interlude, I was rudely awoken by Nirvana. It was the ‘Bring on the burn’ part of the session as Kurt Cobain and I grunted our sweaty duet. I smelt like something. I’m not sure it was ‘Teen Spirit’! 

Back on the river Mersey footpath and on the homeward leg now. As Kurt left me, I thought, what I really need now is ‘Welcome to the Jungle’ by Guns and Roses. It always worked in the gym. Axel Rose would get me home. And no word of a lie, ipod shuffle I love you, we were in the jungle baby

I picked up the pace. I was bringing it home. I didn’t care that there were ducks on the river swimming faster than I was running. Another runner, running in the opposite direction acknowledged me – from one runner to another, running through the rain. 

The music lulled for a moment, so I stopped for a small ‘Status Quo’ break, but hands on hips I kept moving – dancing in the puddles. And then we were off again:







“Welcome to the jungle
We take it day by day
If you want it you're gonna bleed
But it's the price you pay
And you're a very sexy girl
That's very hard to please
You can taste the bright lights
But you won't get them for free
In the jungle
Welcome to the jungle
Feel my, my, my serpentine
I, I wanna hear you scream”

Yes, I was singing by now. I can’t claim to know all the words, but I did my best. And I videoed myself doing it for your entertainment and to prove that I did achieve ‘jogging’!

I still had a little way to go before I got back to Jackson’s Bridge, where I’d left the car. My next shuffle couldn’t have been more perfect – Scissor Sisters, 'Filthy and Gorgeous.’ 

Hell yeah – that’s me!

When I finally reached the bridge, the hoodie was off, I was glowing and Lunasa were celebrating my achievement with an Irish Jig called The Walrus which was probably a fair description of my running style, but who cares! I’d knocked 15 mins off my PB. Not a bad achievement for just under 5K.

Yeah - go me!
I got home, flung my wet clothes in the washing machine, ate a bowl of pasta (isn’t that what runners do) and ran a hot bath.

My decision now is, do I put my dirty trainers in the washing machine too, or do I put them next to Tris’ on the hearth in the dining room and re-label them ‘My running shoes’?


  1. like the very positive jogging story last night! Hope you keep it up and someday join in a race!

  2. I feel inspired to join in with this running madness now. Everyday I think today will be The day but after reading your latest antics...maybe tomorrow...maybe!

  3. Well done Al - I've already persuaded a friend who's just started running again to do the Manc 10k with me - so what's stopping you?

  4. My goodness that's a brave effort! Tip's: don't sing, it uses the breath you need & swing your arms. When we were at school I was one of the ones at the front, when it came to doing it in my advanced years I had to learn again: you appear to be braver than me with that distance in that weather. Well done!

  5. Congratulations, you've won my "most uplifting video of the year" award! Hope you enjoyed it and the next day wasn't too achy!