When the going gets tough…

I’m angry. Almost (but not quite) hurling things around the room angry. But I’m not going to write about it (I’ll internalise it as usual and gradually turn more and more bitter and twisted…) instead, I’ll write about what I do when I get angry – burn off energy.

I have a love/hate relationship with running. I know it’s very good for me and tones my body in a way that a lot of other exercise doesn’t, but I hate how much it hurts and how awful a bad run can be. A great run is fabulous; a bad run is utterly dispiriting.

Thanks to a running injury over 6 years ago (I love that I have an actual ‘running injury’! Sounds fancy, though it’s only a recurring incidence of ankle tendinitis.) I’d almost entirely abandoned outdoor running, favouring very occasional speedy moments on the treadmill. Since the end of the summer gym running has increased in an effort to tone up a bit more. However, the looming prospect of more impoverished times when extortionate gym membership might not be feasible have made me wonder if I should start taking outdoor runs again – after all, it’s completely free.

So on Saturday, discovering that I didn’t have enough time for the gym, I decided to brave it in the park. All was well and good – the weather was fine, I had the motivation (plus a phone call that made me angry on someone else’s behalf, so there was even more energy to burn) – my only qualm being that I wasn’t sure how to carry all my stuff…

Thing is, when you’re running au natural, there’s no handy little cubby hole in which to place your iPod and water bottle and no locker in which to leave the other essentials like phones and house keys. Back in the day when I ran round Gloucester Park it wasn’t so much of an issue – iPods were the domain of rich people and there was usually someone at home to let me back in. These days, an iPod is as essential to a decent run as a pair of trainers, and you can’t leave a front door unlocked in Bermondsey.

Thus, I did what any sensible social networker would do – I consulted Twitter. In return I got a couple of sensible responses and a hugely embarrassing moment. It went something like this:

Liz: Lack of time means outdoor run instead of gym – only question is, how do I carry my keys etc? Never before have I wished I had a bum-bag…
Kate: I always carry keys in my hand when I run. I do keep meaning to invest in jogging trousers with decent pockets. [Eminently sensible – just what I needed.]
Jon: I have the same dilemma.A bum bag or fanny pack as the Americans would say is simply not an option for a macho man like me. [This might be a good moment to mention that I don’t know this Jon person, but we communicate via Twitter – I find this slightly odd, but I believe it’s the whole point of the concept.]
Liz: Right. Following 2 distracting (but v important) phone calls, I’m off for a run, keys in hand and iPod in bra.
Jon: Nor is the bra option I might add.
Matt: Re-tweets the above bra-related tweet. Then writes: I’m afraid I really didn’t mean to RT that! Sorry! Meant to reply to say I momentarily misread iPod as iPad. V worrying. [Matt is a good – and married – friend, albeit with a slight warped sense of humour and fat fingers…]

Never again am I tweeting anything about my bra…
(Plus, I’m not entirely sure if a guy even momentarily thinking I might fit an iPad in my bra is a good thing?)

In actual fact, the keys ended up in my bra too (the bottle of water stayed in my right hand, sports bras really aren’t that capacious); it’s amazing sometimes how being a woman has its advantages! However, before any future outdoor runs are contemplated, I will be making a trip to the fabulous Decathlon to purchase joggers with zipped pockets and some kind of iPod carrying device (and probably a new sports bra while I’m at it).

And a note on running music. Good gym playlists are essential – mine is (of course) eclectic, consisting of music that I both like and has good rhythm, while possibly being more than a little cheesy (I confess that there is more than one S Club track in the mix). Last month a friend gave me an entirely unexpected gift (I can say with some confidence that he’d not bought me a present since 2005) of 101 Running Songs. It’s a genius collection of excellent gym accompaniment, including two classic Journey tracks, the Proclaimers, a little Britney, some Blondie, my all-time-favourite Wham tune as well as some of the more acceptable dance tracks. It’s done wonders for my running capabilities – practically every run in the last four weeks has been an excellent one.

Comments

  1. I understand your dilemma! I’ve been going unhydrated during my runs as it was more appealing then carrying a water bottle. Then for my birthday last week I got a little palm bottle with holster that can carry a key, tissue, etc. The other thing I sometimes do is to tie my house key (taken off key ring) to my shoe. Not very high tech but it works.

  2. Phone in bra! Genius! Have been running in silence wondering how on earth people did it. Will start making my playlist now!

  3. Phone in bra is useful in many situations, not just running! (It’s just a tad disconcerting when it starts ringing, especially if there are people around when you start fishing around to get it out!)

  4. I love the idea of the running songs CD but unfortunately I only have a hate/hate relationship to running. Still it would work in the gym for cardio incentive too.

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