Sunday, 16 August 2015

The Walking Whines

If you’ve been in exile in Siberia with no internet access, and you haven’t read any of my blogs, you won’t know that I spent most of July in bed (mine and a hospital’s) which eventually resulted in abdominal surgery for a pelvic abscess. 

My running spreadsheet is therefore looking pretty bleak. And yes, of course I have a running spreadsheet – why do you even ask? #Doyouevenknowme?

When my husband accompanied me to a doctor’s appointment, I managed to wait until I was lying in the side room for doctor to inspect my scar before I uttered the question that had been burning in my mind since the Sunday they sliced me open – “When can I run again?”

Husband erupted from his chair in the doctor's office, doctor looked confused. “Run?” he queried. “She’s a little crazy, and by crazy, I mean obsessed,” husband interjected. “Please tell her she can’t run.” So began my exile into walking.  I have been walking with my gracious friend (who used to run with me). I think gracious is the perfect description of her, because - as I have freely admitted – if our positions were reversed and she was recovering from major surgery, I may be the one waving goodbye at the gates of the school saying “Catch you later,” as I ran and she hobbled out. But she is way more supportive than me. “We’ll walk,” she said. And we did. Quite a lot. And we were both pleasantly surprised to find that walking does have some very clear advantages over running. Apart from the fact that you don’t actually have to run.

Advantage number one: When people lean out of their car windows to say “Enjoy your walk” you can just smile and wave with a clear conscience, because you don’t feel that desperate need to correct them with an “I am running, you moron.” (More on this in Running Rant #1)

See how glamorous walking can be...we wish
Advantage number two: Are you ready? This is a big one... You can stop for cappucinos, and you can walk and drink said cappuccinos AT THE SAME TIME. Glorious. We are very lucky in that there is a gorgeous place (Voodoo Lilly in Birdhaven) right on our route. It is this advantage that is most appealing to us – in fact, it may even inspire us to walk once a week, but more on this later.

Advantage number three: You don’t look half dead when finished, or on the way when people wave. As in burning red cheeks, hair that is so flat and soaked, you daren’t remove your cap until your shower, and struggling to walk in any shoes with the slightest heel for the rest of the day. It’s also easier to recognize those who do greet you on the way.

Advantage number four: You get into profound conversations when walking. It seems that the panting and other forms of breath gathering while running do not always lend themselves to the deeper conversations. We have done so much more problem solving while walking (although our record of this while running is still pretty impressive). We’ve upped our game.

Advantage number five: The clothing issues are not such a big deal – for instance, I needed to replace my running shoes, but walking, this doesn’t bother me nearly as much. I can wear my spectacles, not my contact lenses. The cap doesn’t need to be as secure. And very importantly, the type of underwear you put on is not as crucial. Let’s just leave it at that. Enough said.

Running in Ramsgate
And these are just the advantages of walking in Johannesburg. In Ramsgate I added the following to the list:

  • You can carry goodies from the bakery home for tea (or your husband can, or on a bad day, both of you can);
  • You can stop and shop for things you need, we visited a pharmacy, bakery, and came close to a bookstore;
  • You can see the whales – ok, maybe we would have seen them whilst running, but there would have been that added schlep of stopping our watches, and cooling down too much while stopped. 

  • And best of all, but don't get too excited, this one is in the highly unlikely category. We wouldn't have had this one right unless we were on school holiday. You may, just may be able to do this, if you are very cool, very chilled, and not at all needy about it. We got the teenagers to wake up, look up from their devices and books, and come walking with us. Yes, it's true. Have faith, people, miracles can happen.
Imagine if there was a library on our route...

And, I should mention, that I have not even thought about my running spreadsheet while I have been walking. You would probably see that as an advantage, but for me, it isn’t. Sad but true, I miss my spreadsheet. 
So, when my gracious friend suggested, on our last walk, "When we start running again, we should walk once a week, because we have so enjoyed it," I did consider this for a whole three seconds. The problem is though, I can’t see this happening. Once we start running again, the release of that adrenalin, serotonin and the running high will kick in, and if one of us dares suggest walking, the other will be disdainful, condescending and very disparaging. It’s just the way we are. Except that maybe, just maybe, I will consider a run to Voodoo Lilly and a cappuccino to be sipped as we walk the last kilometer or two – as a cool down, you know.

The other Running Rants.

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