Hobbit hashers? Hobbit dashers? Hobbidashers? Hobbidashery? Hobbiteers? Today there were three of us, so I might give the latter a go for a bit and see how it feels… Getting the running jargon right can be quite challenging. Only today I spotted a paranoia inducing thread on a parkrun discussion forum. You have no idea how exercised people get about what they perceive to be violations of the brand. Exercised to the point of needing exorcism quite possibly. Another example of where the grammar police are probably right, but also quite scary, I am sure I have contravened the code on innumerable occasions, and I shudder to think of the rage this may have generated. By way of penance I will display the accepted wisdom here (whilst also secretly being swayed by those who also think that when it is used as a proper noun, it should be capitalised, and surely at the start of a sentence too). In any event, I’m not going back to edit all previous entries, life is too short, I will try and make it an aspiration (not resolution) for 2016 to be more consistent in my usage though. Sigh, life is so very complicated sometimes is it not.
So today we finally get to see the end of the year that has been 2015. This I was expecting. Less expected, was the disappearance of the BBC website from the ether at just the time I was wanting to check out the weather forecast. This was a double trouble. Firstly, I would have to make a decision on what to wear based on using my own common sense as opposed to bowing to the superior wisdom of the BBC (always a worry); and secondly, (more concerning), I’m pretty sure that the BBC is the last service to be allowed to fall in the event of a nuclear holocaust. It was but a small step from mild irritation at the website being down to an all-consuming fear that this run (which I had committed to the night before in a moment of wine induced optimism and relaxation) might have to take place in a post-apocalyptic world. That might be a bit too challenging what with my dodgy feet and twinging hip. Oh well, I had said I’d go, and I’m conscientious if not keen, so I did head out with a bit of trepidation. Trepidation multiplied as it was freezing out (metaphorically rather than literally) and the kind of cold that feels like your lungs are turning to ice as you inhale. Jacket on.
We were a 9.50 rendezvous today, to coincide with bus timetables, and we three all gathered punctually. Each with our own different timing device. My TomTom today is not talking to me at all. It didn’t buzz once, and is silently conforming with my preferred scenario of just displaying current time with a mini display of distance and time moving. I have absolutely no idea how this has come about, but it is pleasing. Though due to my slight tendency to anthropomorphise inanimate objects I’m also feeling guilty about turning my gps watch into an elective mute. Oh well, I dare say I’ll get over it.
It was the first time we three had run together, but we seemed pretty well suited to a yomp out. We had a blast up the valley basically. We set off with some enthusiasm because it was so cold it was a relief to get going, but we tapered out after a bit as the ever increasing gradient got the better of us. It was like a joggers super highway going out and about. I’ve never seen so many other runners, it was positively congested at times. I don’t know if it is maybe a new year’s eve compulsion to blow away some cobwebs and try and reclaim some physical fitness before spectacularly reversing it all again hours later in a New Year’s Night drunken binge. I can report that we saw fellow Smilies again (that’a another word I’m not confident using. What is the plural for a member of Smiley Paces?) Weirdly, it was exactly the point we’d seen a fellow Smiley a couple of days ago. There must be a secret hideout there somewhere. Super elite Smilies take it in turns to hide in a sequence of underground bunkers that are hidden at intervals up the valley. There must be some sort of messaging system (sending warrior squirrels ahead, or making owl noises or something) that sends alerts up to the steepest bit of the hill where these superior runners lie in wait. Then they sprint into view running with the grace of gazelles, or maybe even unicorns, appearing just at the very moment we mere mortals are slumped over a fence for support, breathing heavily. I’ll find out one day. There is most definitely some stalking going on somewhere though. It seemed like chance at first, but there are some familiar faces popping up repeatedly, you know who you are. It is increasingly blurred who is the stalker and who is the stalkee, not sure which party should be most afraid… Meantime, here is graceful running unicorn so you can get the idea – though bizarrely I couldn’t find a Google image of a unicorn wearing a Smiley vest. Serious omission.
Anyway, we did pretty well, it was fun scampering up the hill, and even more fun undertaking this challenge with others who were happy to do the whole run/walk thing so we slowed the pace from time to time. Well, two of us did, one noticeably sprinted ahead at one point, leaving me and hobbit one in awe. We also stopped for photo opportunities. Then realised this would play havoc with our strava credibility and kudos. All is not lost however, as I have already commented extensively on how confusing I am finding my TomTom at present, so we could possibly get away with the user-error defence. Option b) is the genius ‘not my fault, just inexplicably my gps paused, probably because I was moving too fast for it to pick up a signal on me at just that point in the woods‘. To be honest though, I favour option c) which is that we trick some other faster runner into repeating the route for us, laden down with our various smart phone/ TomTom and Garmin trackers and them merely reclaim it as our own. All are possibles though, it’s good to have options. Here are the obligatory all possible variant photos. It was lovely up there it really was.
Out of the woods, we did a little extension to the view point which gives you a great panorama back across the city, and if you stand up on the bench you can snatch a glimpse of the open moor too. That’s a route for another time, head across the fields and heather and back through the plantation. My fellow hobbiteers were pushed for time, and it is the tradition to stick together ‘All for one and one for all etc‘ so we turned back. I could pretend to be gutted by this, but in truth my hip was hurting and it was really exposed up there, definitely need more clothes for doing that route. Plus, I know from bitter personal experience that the ground would have been completely waterlogged up there, so wet feet all round for the return trip wasn’t an entirely seductive notion. So just one exhibitionist snap shot and then back we went.
Turning tail, gravity on our side, we picked up the pace a bit, the woodland trails were beautiful, and bulrushes glorious. Look: the keen sighted among you may even make out some hobbits hobbling along the path by Forge Dam.
We even spotted a cyclist we knew, but didn’t quite twig until he’d sped past, so belated ‘hello‘ and cheery wave, if you pick this up later. You were pushing hard up that hill, most impressive! So that’s it really. We did fab. We seemed to pace quite well with each other, and it will be good to do more. We abandoned the idea of a post-run coffee as we didn’t fancy getting cold sitting about afterwards, so we split and went our separate ways, scattering like the four winds, except for the fact that there were only three of us and we didn’t go that fast or far.
Back in the comfort of my flat, ensconced on the sofa, the rain is pouring down again. Can’t believe how lucky we were to dodge that. Also the BBC website is back on so I am over-whelmed with good news stories.
However, the thing I want most desperately to share with you is this. My gift to you my loyal reader to bring you to the end of 2015 feeling a mixture of life affirming incredulity and hilarity. It has nothing to do with running, but some things just have to be more widely distributed as part of political conscious raising or something of the sort at least. Reader, I give you the tampon based Christmas Craft kit. Now I know it’s too late for this year, but on the plus side, there is ample time to implement these ideas in time for next Christmas. It was a feature in Chat magazine (and surely worth the purchase price alone so don’t judge me) therefore must be true. If this revelation doesn’t change your life and make you happy to live in a world where such creativity is possible, then I don’t know what will!
So that’s my Christmas presents sorted for 2016! I can’t wait. Check it out for yourself start with a tampon snowflake if you wish, or if you simply can’t wait that long, how about embarking on creating your very own tampon bouquet for your loved one on Valentine’s day? What could be more romantic? The link to running may be tenuous indeed just now, but I’m sure it’s only a matter of time before tampons are utilised to their full potential to recreate running memorabilia and gadgetry too. As with setting goals running, the only thing that limits us is ourselves, and our own imaginings. If we really believe, we can make it so!
As the saying goes, whether you believe you can, or whether you believe you can’t, you are right. So as it is with getting creative with tampons, it is with running, dream the impossible dream and get going to make it happen! Happy New Year everyone! Keep on running joyfully like you mean it, whether you are a hobbit, a unicorn or a warthog, running can free us all! Make 2016 a good one…
Warthogs Running like they mean it. Happy New year for 2016, bring it on!