Today I went running in purple socks. This was by accident rather than design – I’m staying with my mother during the Easter holidays and I forgot to pack white socks. That small oversight on my part would have massive repercussions today though. I felt like a total tit for my entire run (that’s around 45 minutes of feeling like a total tit).
Strangely enough garish coloured socks figure in the heritage of British distance running. Former 10000 metre world record holder Dave Bedford used to take to the track wearing his trademark red socks. That’s not to say that Dave Bedford is some kind of role model for me, to the contrary Dave Bedford was an uncompromising maniac whose draconian training methods forced him into early retirement. Trawling the murky swamps of my early memories I can recall reading a book about Bedford in school and marvelling at his self-flagellating training schedule and rakish moustache. In retrospect both seem slightly foolish – Bedford’s never achieved what he was capable of and his iconic style has been swallowed up and shat out by the 118 adverts (who, as an interesting postscript, he tried to sue for using his image without permission).
Enough Bedford, back to my run. As usual I started out by cantering through the first mile or so, glorious images of me keeping stride Steve Prefontaine projected on the inside of my skull. After ten minutes such romantic notions were swiftly superseded by the feeling that I was going to vomit. It’s the same every time. I gallop off at the start thinking I’m the reincarnation of Seabiscuit or something before, after a few minutes of moderate exercise, I’m knock-kneed, bent double and dry heaving by the side of the road.
After realising that my macaroni and cheese wasn’t going to climb back up the oesophagus and splash out onto the pavement I set off again at a slower pace. Running at an achingly slow pace is not only good for warding off regurgitation, it also allows me to drink in some of the breathtaking scenery that Aberdeenshire has to offer. For those of you who haven’t made it this far north, the Shire is a lot like its Tolkeinesque counterpart, but with an abundance of hoofed animals as opposed to hobbits (no sign of an albino Orlando Bloom either).
Along the way I saw this sign. I would have giggled had I been less frightened that doing so would bring on a stitch.
When I finally made it home I realised that I had completed my route with less stops than last time – an improvement! I also felt far less likely to faint, vomit or have a stroke – another improvement! A change of socks and the day would have been a complete success …