I learnt to run as a child, mainly to escape from the kids who didn’t like my stories and jokes.
In time, this led to my selection for the school’s Junior Cross Country Team. Any initial euphoria at being selected soon paled when I finished a race sodden from the rain and covered in mud. My legs and hands were red with cold, my toes and fingers numb and unresponsive.
Not my favourite way to spend a Saturday morning.
But cross country running inspired me to come up with creative and imaginative excuses to escape the Saturday morning mud bath.
These intimate moments with the worst of the local weather persuaded me to keep my distance as I progressed through senior school. I found ways to avoid physical education, as it was called. I used these periods in the timetable to take the science subjects I’d studiously avoided before.
Science left me with the same feelings as running through mud and rain. Unfortunately, unlike cross country running, science enabled me to go onto further education.
I didn’t return to running until my 47th year.
With no slack left in my shirts and trousers as my weight increased, I decided exercise was cheaper than buying a new wardrobe of clothes.
After monthly gym fees, proper trainers, breathable vests and shirts, a variety of shorts, running socks and jackets, I discovered I was useless at mathematics too.
Over the years, thanks to running groups and many enjoyable years as a member of Hailsham Harriers, I’ve become a much fitter, healthier person and kept my weight under control. I’ve got to know lots of great people, run in some terrific events and enjoyed the magical scenery of the South Downs.
Most of all, I suspect, is the boost in confidence that health, fitness and achievement bring. At one time, I was running personal best after personal best, going well beyond my expectations. But success takes its toll on the muscles and I retired from competitive running four years ago.
From time to time, I think about doing an event, but it’s more wishful thinking. The drive and commitment have gone. The legs lack the stamina and strength needed for competition. And I’m not going to match the times of old, am I?
I still look forward to every run, even when gale force winds are blowing as they often do at this time of year. It’s a chance to clear the mind, to consider challenges, think through ideas and plans.
Sometimes I think of nothing – a kind of mobile meditation, I guess.
Last Sunday, I needed to resolve the name of a character. Having gone through five or six first names already, I was starting to wonder if I would ever find the right name. Names are critical because they tell you so much about a person. Many evoke characteristics, attitudes and values.
It was such an important issue, I ran two miles more than planned – but I got the name I wanted, along with some additional character insights.
This morning, as I battled the swirling winds, I composed the blurb for No More Lies, the fourth Kent Fisher murder mystery, currently on its second edit. I should say that I’d already had a couple of stabs at a blurb with mixed results.
But as is often the case, you know when something has potential, when it’s got legs, if you’ll forgive the pun.
If you’re interested to see what I came up with, click here to find out.
I’d love to know what you think, so please let me know.
Must run along now as I’d like to read a little more of Want You Dead by Peter James, one of my favourite authors. The story’s developing nicely after a slow start with lots of tension, suspense and malice.