Friday, 1 May 2009

30/04: Pointless politeness.

Should I do a marathon? There's one happening in 10 days.

Yesterday, I went for my first run in two weeks. Exams this week have been a bit of a distraction. Not that I was working ridiculously hard for two weeks, but while I wasn't working ridiculously hard, I had a head full of worry, and marathon training seemed like a frivolous thing to do. Up until that last run, I had been doing pretty well, every run going to plan, and feeling fitter than ever. However, along with all that worry in the last couple of weeks came a lot of messed-up sleeping patterns, Pro Plus, a sedentary lifestyle, and meals consisting solely of snack foods, or coffee, or nothing at all, or Marmite on a stick. Only joking about the Marmite. Although I did have a phase of eating it off a knife back in the first year of my undergrad degree. That's another, deeply depressing story.

So anyway, I went for a little 5 miler to test the waters, at what I hope will be marathon pace. Thought I'd try out a new podcast while I was at it - Phill and Phil's Perfect Ten, which was pretty good, not as good as Collings and Herrin, or Adam and Joe. I find the "format" slightly unnecessary (they discuss 10 topics picked out of a hat in 30 minutes, and there are rules etc. etc.) but maybe I should listen to it again before judging it rashly. With a more free-form podcast, or at least ones with the appearance/pretence of spontaneity, the chat seems freer to go wherever it wants to for as long as it wants to. Obviously this can be a strength or a weakness depending on who is doing the talking, but if you know what you can get the most laughs out of, why not run with it? Collins/Herring very good at this. With Gervais' podcasts, they are clearly structured and even probably lightly scripted these days (some of Karl's one-liners now sound incredibly rehearsed), but they still manage to create an atmosphere of naturalism and anarchy. You feel included. (In a pathetically lonely way.)

The run felt alright for the first couple of miles. It has got a lot warmer since I last ran back in mid-April when it was sporadically raining, in a reassuringly traditional way, so I started feeling the heat fairly quickly. However, I wasn't prepared for the tightness in the chest that followed shortly afterwards. I had to stop after 3 miles. Troubling. I should be able to complete a marathon, but if I can't do it at a decent pace, I'm not sure I'm that up for it. It's an undulating course in the Essex countryside, which means in mid-May it could be a climatically challenging run. I'd hoped to do one around the same time up in the Lake District, which would've been amazing, but it wasn't financially viable in the end. Anyway, I'm going to eat and sleep properly now and see if I improve this week.

During the course of the run, someone moved out of the way and said "Sorry", having done nothing to apologise for. Pointless politeness. Well, not really. I actually do this all the time, and I know I've nothing to apologise for, and I then wait for my apology to be acknowledged as unnecessary. I get slightly annoyed when it's not acknowledged. Obviously this is ludicrous. I don't know if it's a British thing, or just a mentally ill thing, but I like it. I especially like it when other people do it, because I feel a kinship with these crazy people. I'm not sure I like the idea of a world where everyone is watching what they say and do and thinking about other people all the time, but it's comforting that there are a few people out who still consider trivialities like this important. Humanity lives? Or something? Because people are saying 'sorry'? I'll shut up now.

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