Sunday, 20 April 2008

Make It Stop April 20

“Make it stop!” I screamed down the line to my friend Kerre, the one who sits on top of me in this newspaper every Sunday. The one you’ve probably just read before having a quick look at this.
“I keep running in the rain,” I moaned. “And it’s not just rain, it’s thunder and lightening and wind and there I am running in it, all wet and steamy.” I grumbled. “ And my hair keeps going frizzy.”
It all started when I read her book “Short Fat Chick to Marathon Runner” and exactly one hour later went for a run having first photocopied and pinned to my office wall “Appendix 1 – a marathon training programme for beginners.”
“You’ve planted a subliminal message in there somewhere, you’ve been watching too much Derren Brown, it’s something to do with neurolinguistic programming, like the politicians do to make the masses obey,” I muttered.
Finally Kerre could get a word in, a most unusual situation for her to be in.
“But doesn’t it feel great?”“Not really.”
My husband initially greeted the news that I was “training for a marathon” with enthusiasm. I think most husbands would as they visualise their 45-year-old wife morphing into something lithe, long and sinewy. Until I returned 10 minutes later.
“What’s wrong? Too difficult?” he inquired sympathetically.
“No it’s Monday, walk 5, run 5,” I snapped as I headed off to the couch to lie down for an hour in recovery mode.
I reported him to Kerre.
“Noted,’ she replied.
I take the dog with me. She came once around the park and then sat on the top field and waited for me to complete the second lap. I’ve never seen a black lab give an enthusiastic thumbs up of support but that’s what Shirl did as she sat on her haunches gazing at my disappearing arse. Which isn’t fair. In dog years Shirl and I are the same age, surely she could make more of an effort.
“She has dodgy hips and she doesn’t want to lose weight,” replied my husband. “She’s perfect as she is, aren’t you my sweetie, weety,” he gurgled at Shirl as she rolled on her back and kicked her legs in the air.
“It’ll be a while before you get me to do that,” I thought to myself as I stumbled to the shower wondering when the dog started getting more attention than I did.
I gave the book to my 19-year-old daughter who runs already and suggested we could team up. She hasn’t said a word to me, but I know she read the book because I heard her telling a friend how funny it was, especially the bit about Kerre saying she looked like a white rhino that had just been shot in the arse by hunters after her first half marathon. Which is fine, didn’t want to run with anyone anyway, I much prefer having some “me” time being the very busy woman I am.
My youngest daughter arrived home from school and gave me “the look.” It’s the one she gives when I have decided it might be nice to wear a bright floral dress for a change and present myself looking like a flowerpot. Or when I’m getting dressed and she asks if I deliberately buy my undies too big or do I like them that baggy? Don’t worry, missy, I think to myself, one day someone will say that to you and all you will think is “I must be losing weight.” Or in this case when she looks at me in my Grey Lynn School T shirt and leggings, my frizzy hair bursting out from the hair tie and says “Mum, did you forget to get dressed again?”Once, a long time ago, she got home from school and I was still in my nightie and slippers. Big deadline to meet, lots of writing, didn’t have time. Only two of that day’s couriers looked at me strangely.
Then Kerre rang and suggested we run together some time.
“Oh I can’t talk and run,” I protested. “Actually, Kerre, I think I might not run a marathon, I just want to run,” I pleaded.
“Good girl,” she replied.
“Didn’t last long,” added my husband.
“I am not bloody Kerre Woodham,” I said for the second time that week, having told her producer exactly the same thing when I filled in for her on her Sunday morning radio show.
But I’m still running in the rain.

Illustration by Anthony Ellison

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