Jogging along

by little red pen

I’m a woman of good intentions but somewhat lazy too, until I get going, so my “exercise” is a hopeless mix of overly ambitious theory, sporadic attempts, wild enthusiasm, over-extension, and procrastination.

I am absolutely not a team sport person, but I like to move, to get my heart rate up, to break a sweat. When I go regularly, I enjoy yoga, but if I’ve been away from it too long, it terrifies me with the endless down dogs and dolphins and horrible upside-down things and all. Walking is my happy option — no fancy clothes, just a matter of proper shoes and heading out the door. And Dunedin has enough hills to make a decent workout possible, especially if you throw in a buggy, a 10-kilo child, two backpacks, a handbag, a lunchbox, and a thunderstorm, ahem, yesterday.

But the last couple of years, I’ve been feeling the need for something that pushes me harder and takes less time, so I’ve been circling the whole running thing. It freaks me out, if I’m honest. I spent my childhood and teenage years being emphatic in my non-running-ness, dedicated to the idea that I had legs that could walk, dance, ice-skate, stretch, but never and in no way run. God knows why; it was a block.

So, I’m still surprised when I start running now and manage to not stop for a while. It feels very strange, as if I have to convince myself that what my body is doing is not a betrayal of the laws of physics. But I don’t get out often enough to make it fully manageable either (see paragraph one), so the strangeness is slow in wearing off. Also, and I’d like a physiologist or a trainer or a GP or someone to weigh in on this,  I tend to liberate whatever viruses are locked up in my system, so going for a run is all too often followed by getting a cold, which pushes the whole experience to the “this is crap” rather than the “this is amazing and I’ve got to do it again” end of the spectrum.

I’ve got a new trick, though. I round up the Cat and his bicycle, and we skid down to the bottom of the hill. Then he bikes and I jog alongside, sometimes behind, sometimes ahead, watching all the intersections, waving my boy across the roads, and setting little targets all the way, red-faced and puffing my way through the geography game the Cat inevitably wants to play.

And I like it.

We are company for each other, cheer-leaders too, dramatic in our falling through the door after the final push up the hill, talking big our minor accomplishments — another block without walking, up the hill without pausing, a alphabet of countries without swearing.

So that’s what we’re going to do this afternoon. I promise.