The run that almost killed me.

There is something refreshing about joining a new company. It’s an opportunity to reinvent yourself and focus on something new. The last few years have been harsh on everyone and I’ve had a few choice moments myself during that time. Mostly alone, in the house for months on end with only 1 hour allowed outside for government-approved physical exercise. Don’t get me wrong, I love this house, but getting back to normality was more than welcomed!

I joined a company with a toxic environment and, well, I’ve written about that recently so lets not dwell there. No, now I have an amazing environment, with people who are incredibly smart and talented and interesting. More importantly, I can be me. Funny story…

Our building is in a very old part of London, Lenin even lived for a while off the yard where the business is based. The marks of history are all over the area, you just need to look, which is what I do whenever I am walking near the office. So with a return to this so-called “normality”, I decided that I should revisit my training plan from years back. I say years back as it has literally been years since I was doing this sort of normal training.

I mentioned that my new job is a place where I can be myself, this is important for me, and then something happened. Our building is in Holdford Yard, for some reason there is a Barbour showroom beside us, it’s closed to the public although the odd punter does stride by thinking they might get a bargain. A week or so ago, a skip showed up and it turns out they are vacating the premises. You cannot imagine the strange garbage that they threw out. There were mannequin heads, arms, hands and one morning, a naked torso thrown between the wall and the skip like a poor murder victim. A mannequin with shoes. For some reason they threw the shoes out with them…I was retrieving a pair when a colleague arrived. Instant mortification. But wait, no more interest than judgement from my colleague and a discovery that most mannequins have size 6 feet. As do I.

The following weekend I ordered fabric pens and decided to paint the liberated shoes. I thought no more about it and wore them to the office where there was no judgement, just praise for the entire endeavour. I do like my new company.

So, with my new found work home I decided to go back to my run-train-run commute to the office. The entire run is 18kms which is, well, which was doable 2 years ago but now… after lockdown, I’m glad I didn’t try it. So, I could put away 9kms to the station at Herne Hill, get the train to St. Pancras and run the remaining 1 or so kilometer to the office. Of course, I needed to carry a karate suit, change of clothes, make-up etc. but hey, I’d done that many times before.

So I set off, I got up at 6, got a tiny coffee into me, nothing happens without coffee, finished packing my bag and I set off. Now, the first part of my run is a short flat before a series of hills, short, annoying, then stupid and then fucking ridiculously steep to the top of Crystal Palace. I had my sunglasses on and by the time I was on the stupid hill they were fogged up. They didn’t clear until I was heading down Gypsey Hill and just in time for me to see an old boy smoke me as he passed by running at some bonkers speed.

My legs were already feeling the lactic acid but I cracked on and made it to Herne Hill. I usually do the run in under an hour and have time to stretch before the train arrives. This run, I had buckets of time as I was clearly ridiculously slow and missed the train I had planned, instead now had 15 minutes to stretch. OMFG the pain. What the hell was this?

I’ve never felt anything like it. That was 2 days ago. Today I can’t walk… I’m actually ashamed. 2 years ago I wouldn’t have even thought twice about this run, today I’m in agony.

So big changes. The lockdown blues need to go and I’m going to be beast this training, much running in my future. How quickly complacency leads to comfort. Those days are over…

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