As we find ourselves stranded in the no-man’s land that is the second week of national lockdown, many have been forced to take up running in a bid to escape the confines of their homes. And their minds. Now must of us will agree that anyone who says they enjoy running is lying, or a bad person. But these times are unprecedented, and people are doing unusual things. Don’t lie to me. You’ve done it haven’t you? You’ve downloaded Strava.
This should be fine! Humans were born to run, and actually you vividly remember the 800 metres at your year six sports day being a complete breeze. Unfortunately, your eleven-year-old self wasn’t a binge drinking university student who loves social smoking and cheesy chips - but running is all in the mind, isn’t it? Plus, now (thanks to Strava) you have this great running community! All your friends are doing it, and everyone in the park is doing it. Sexy people run and this time next year you can sexily see yourself running a sexy half marathon and looking really sexy while you do it. Maybe you’ll be a late entry for the 2021 Olympics?! People always thought you weren’t good at P.E. because you couldn’t hit the ball in rounders, but maybe the 10,000 metres is your sport.
Time to go for a run. You hit record on Strava and then hit the pavement. It’s time for your mind to be freed from quarantine anxieties and your body to reach new athletic heights. You jog towards the park, ready to join the masses plodding their way towards self-improvement.
Six minutes later. Christ, this is really hard, and it really hurts. You don’t feel serene and your lungs feel like they’re made out of clingflim. There’s a weird twanging pain in your bum and you feel both dangerously hot and chillingly cold. Your mouth has filled with a horrible claggy version of saliva and you want to cough but obviously you can’t. God you feel disorientated. Wait, is someone screaming out your name? Is it God? No, worse, someone you know has seen you. You look around wildly before realising it’s just someone calling their dog. Hmm, you have the same name as someone’s dog. This isn’t the kind of introspection you were hoping for. Your Strava app helpfully tells you you’ve ‘run’ 0.6 miles.
By Freya McCoy