The perverse joy of running – in snow, sleet and encountering jogger rage!

Just before Christmas I decided that I needed to take more exercise.  So do I rejoin a gym? My first thought is definitely not – the nearest is populated by guys who leave great huge  pools of sweat on the floor next to the exercise bike and grunt and groan on the jogging machine – and the whole gym generally stinks…And the ladies are not blameless – there is hair in the sinks and showers and more – YUK! And I don’t fancy using any one else’s towel but mine from home thanks.

So the only way forward is to jog on the street?  I used to run regularly and save money on gyms. Another plus is that it gets dark early so no one will see me while I am in the hobbling phase! On the negative jogging round Regents Park outer circle is fraught with all kinds of obstacles – giant tree roots that have raised the pavement and other joggers who are intent on going up your inner side no matter what! Hmm just like cyclists!!  
Maybe it is any excuse not to? Then I had thoughts about those really brave people who took part in the Paralympics last year – all with disabilities and some without limbs who were managing to do a whole lot more than me.  So I told myself to stop being pathetic and get out there.
On the first attempt I surprised myself by getting a third of the way round without even getting out of breath – I could have gone further but since there was no one to push me…then I walked and ran the rest of the three miles.  Anyway, better to take it easy at my advanced age rather than do something silly and get an injury?
And so every other night I have been out there.  Even in the snow and ice.  And that surprised me because I don’t like running in the cold – but I donned a hat and gloves and had some music and I was warm in no time.  And I swear that when I got home I looked younger, glowing pink and my whole body felt great.
Co-incidental to this I receive a book in the post from ex-Navy fitness instructor Dave Concannon.  His book, Little Dave’s Big Fitness Plan, isn’t so much about what exercise you should be doing as motivating you to do it in the first place.  And as he quite rightly says:  “Getting changed is the hardest part”.  And why does Dave call himself ‘little’ – well he’s an unashamed 5’3″ but that stopped him taking on Navy battleship commanders and getting them fit too! But some other words in the book ring in my ears – that you will get a high from being one of the very few people exercising especially when the weather is at its worst – as it recently has in the UK. And he is right!
I have been out in the snow and the ice and I confess that it was exhilarating – warmed up after 10 minutes and home in 30 glowing again.And the fact that drivers and others stared at me as if I was mad made it all the more fun!
I have now made it the whole way round, without aching legs or lungs – not bad considering I have a chest infection. And today I think the effort of breathing so hard has thrown off the germs.
Feeling optimistic after completing the 3-mile round the outer circle intermediate route I encounter ‘jogger rage’ while doing a walking reconnoitre for the six mile circuit inside the park.  On the outer circle footpath which is very icy I walk towards the road to cross it but stop because of an oncoming car.  Then I hear a very angry “oh for goodness sake”  – and I turn round to see a very unattractive big-bottomed woman slowly pounding away…Hmm she clearly would have preferred it had I been hit by the car…
I can’t wait to feel the jogger’s high – which I have had in the past – that’s when you are not sure whether you may have died as you suddenly don’t feel tired and could run forever!
Do buy a copy of Dave’s book – it’s only £9.99  at Amazon – well worth it for the exercise tips and also the Navy anecdotes! Little Dave’s Big Fitness Plan: The hardest part is getting changed 
And if you want to know more watch this video…

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