If I added up the time I spend watching football, researching players, and writing weekly fantasy recaps for my league, it would probably be at least a part-time job.
If you’ve been reading Kirsty’s wonderful series of running diaries on this site , you’ll know that she’s a month away from dressing up as a rabbit and running 10k for charity (SPONSOR HER HERE PLEASE).
You may have read that I’m running this race with her, also dressed as a rabbit. And, because my self-absorption is genuinely superhuman, I thought I should tell you all how my training is getting on. So here goes.
I hate running. I fucking hate it. I hate it. I hate everything about it. Running, on every single level imaginable, can piss the fuck off.
I hate running so much that I’m giving serious consideration to sawing both of my legs off, crawling over to the man who invented running and clubbing him to death with them while I shout “LOOK AT WHAT YOU MADE ME DO!” right into his face.
I used to be a person before I started running. An actual person, with thoughts and dreams and aspirations. Not any more. Now I’m just a slowly growing list of crushingly mediocre ailments. I’m a sore achilles tendon. I’m shinsplints. I’m a blister that somehow managed to grow on top of a preexisting blister. I’m a pair of feet that go numb after five miles. I’m a left nipple that looks like half-eaten roadkill.
Kirsty’s rabbit run was only supposed to be a bit of fun; part of a larger plan. In June, I’m doing a Tough Mudder – a half-marathon assault course where you run through mud and swim through ice and get electrocuted because god is dead and we’re alone in the universe.
So, to train for that, I’m taking part in several smaller events. On Sunday I’m doing the Crystal Palace 10k. Last Sunday I did something called The Nuts Challenge, which I sadly discovered was a seven-kilometre Krypton Factor-style assault course and not just a morning spent using short words and masturbating a lot.
Incidentally, if you’re ever planning to do a Nuts Challenge yourself, you should probably ask yourself a few questions first. Questions like:
‘Do I really want to spend a Sunday morning in February trudging chin-deep through a frozen lake?’
'Do I have it in me to clean several handfuls of dried mud from quite a long way up my bumhole?’ and, most importantly,
‘Do I mind getting hypothermia so badly that I have to spend 30 minutes on a stretcher in a foil sheet in a sleeping bag in a heated tent being tended to by paramedics?’.
That last one didn’t happen to me, by the way. But it did happen to the bloke who was supposed to be giving me a lift home, so it basically did happen to me.
So, compared to this, the rabbit run was supposed to be the easiest one of all. After all, they give you a rabbit costume, for crying out loud. I was so excited about this that I even tried to photoshop what I’d look like as a rabbit. See? See how bloody cute I’d look?
Now, though, I’ve changed my mind. Now that I’ve been training for a while, I think that the race only has a rabbit theme because the organisers wanted it to be like Watership Down, with everyone crying and cursing the futility of life as they cross the finishing line. But I’ve signed up to do all of these races, so I have no choice.
To help me overcome my sheer, screaming, blood-boiling hatred of running, I’ve started reading books on the subject. I read Murakami’s What I Talk About When I Talk About Running, which is great – and also as much about writing as it is about running – and The Lazy Runner by Laura Fountain, which is also worth reading.
But there’s one thing that puts me off about these books. They’re just so relentlessly fucking positive. They’re all so “You can do it!” and “Nothing can beat me!” and “The thrill of achievement is the greatest thrill of all!”. And that’s bollocks.
For one, I essentially have zero determination. I have to deliberately leave my Oyster card at home when I train, because that’s the only thing stopping me from getting the bus home whenever I get a bit out of breath.
And all this ‘thrill of achievement’ guff can piss off as well. When I ran 10k for the first time, the brief flicker of satisfaction I experienced was quickly drowned out by the instant and overwhelming agony surging through my legs, feet, lungs and nipples.
Runners, I’ve discovered lately, don’t half talk a lot of shit. Perhaps that’s it. Perhaps I don’t hate running. Perhaps I just really don’t want to be A Runner. I don’t want to be someone who frames their entire life around how far they’ve run. The boasting. The stat-analysing. The constant, endless, dreary self-evangelism. It’s awful. I really don’t want to become that person.
And that’s why, when my Tough Mudder is over, I think I’m going to hang up my shoes. I’ll keep the rabbit costume though, obviously. I mean, did you see how cute I looked?
Stuart is tweeting in his bunny costume. Probably @stuheritage.