Fun Run - Reality or Oxymoron

It’s that time of the year again when posters pop up around town exhorting you to get fit and take part in a fun run, quarter marathon or even a half marathon. Get those endorphins going and feel good.

When has running ever been fun? In my book – never.

Even as a child running was not in my favourite things to do. My Phys Ed teacher despaired of me. She was a real ‘jolly hockey sticks’ type – always dressed in divided skirts and shouting, ‘Wood. Get a move on.’

Don’t get me wrong, I wasn’t overweight then, just more curvaceous than my pencil thin friends. I did exercise. Riding my bike was one of my joys. Taking off with a packed lunch and spending the day meandering around the country lanes was bliss. I could cover thirty or forty miles, not the pastime of an excerphobe – or whatever you call someone who hates exercise.

Walking was a must then. There was no family taxi service to drop you off and pick you up whenever you needed it. My parents would have had a fit if I’d have suggested that’s what their major job in life was. If I wanted to see my friends I got my bike out or walked. If the school bus didn’t turn up – and it did fail to appear with regular monotony every time a snow flake was seen somewhere in a 10 mile radius from our village – you walked to school and then got detention for being late.

But running – no.

In my later teens I found I had a terrible affliction. Whenever I took part in any excessive physical activity the vessels just under my skin carried healthy amounts of blood, oxygenating all my cells. This did have an unfortunate effect.

I remember one occasion vividly. We had an hour and a half session of Phys Ed as the last of the afternoon lessons. I had actually tried running around after a ball and quite enjoyed it – very unusual for me. I decided to walk home as I was saving my allotted bus money for something I desperately needed – I have no idea what it was now. As I was walking through the woods – a shortcut home – the boy of my dreams, Adonis himself, worshipped by me from afar, came past on his bike. He slowed to go around me, smiled and called. ‘Hi, Dorothy. Did you enjoy that game?’

He knew my name!

I stuttered and stumbled and managed some sort of inane reply as he sped up again and disappeared in the trees. I could hardly breathe. My heart was pumping fit to burst. I had been noticed by Adonis. The rest of the journey home went past in a blur. I rushed in home, dumped my school gear and went into the bathroom to preen. He had noticed me. I looked in the mirror. I screamed.

My sister poked her head around the door. ‘What’s up? Seen your face?’ I nodded. ‘Didn’t you know you always look like that for a couple of hours after you’ve been exercising?’

Despair.

Panda Face

I had a white patch around each eye and a white nose. The rest of my face was bright, bright scarlet. I looked like the negative of a red and white panda. No wonder Adonis slowed to look at me and smiled. I was surprised he didn’t laugh hysterically.

Is it any wonder that after such a mental and emotional catastrophe running is my nemesis?

Endorphins – you know what you can do with them.

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