Well thanks for that.
I’d been feeling a bit crappy lately. Three weeks of taper followed by two weeks of recovery means I’ve fallen into the familiar combination of not much running and all the food. I really had to force myself to get out there for a run tonight, telling myself that being energetic gives you energy and that a little 4 mile jaunt around the block would blow the cobwebs out of my brain.
It was going pretty well by the time I got to you, about 2 and a half miles in.
Now I’ve run this route lots of times. I’ve been groped on it. I’ve been jumped out at on it by two blokes shouting ‘boo’. I’ve been stared down by foxes on it, more than once.
I’ve never been openly laughed at on it before though.
Maybe I’m being harsh. Maybe it was just a coincidence that you happened to turn so you were right in my face before you let out your belly laugh. Maybe it wasn’t me that you were laughing at. Maybe I’m paranoid. But really, most people know when someone’s laughing at them. Especially when the person laughing doesn’t trouble to hide it.
You know what was actually funny? You were wearing a tracksuit. Pretty sure it was for fashionable effect only, since generally runners (or just decent people) don’t tend to laugh at each other like that.
Yeah ok, maybe I was puffing a bit. Because I’d done two miles at a decent lick and thought I may as well turn it into a semi-tempo session. Fine – you can see my cellulite through my tights. Because I’m a 35 year old woman who likes cheese and isn’t quite ready to get back in her summer shorts-and-crop-top kit yet. Yes I was wearing a luridly green T shirt. Because, as I say, I was feeling crappy so had decided to wear my Ealing Half Marathon top to remind myself that I can and do run. Quite a lot actually, as you’d have noticed if you’d looked at my shoe which still has the chip attached to it from a little event I ran a couple of weeks ago.
It’s called the London Marathon. You might have heard of it. It’s kind of a big deal.
Two weeks ago, this wobbly old woman that you just laughed at for daring to run around the block ran the London marathon. Every little bit of it. And anyone who runs a marathon, you arrogant little sod, is a goddam badass. I’m not even outraged, but I am intrigued. That you should laugh at me for running really isn’t a case of how dare you, but I dare you. You give training for a marathon a go and see who you’re laughing at then.
Something else that’s pretty funny, just so you know; never imply to a woman that she somehow can’t or shouldn’t be doing anything she wants to do. We don’t like it when you say can’t. Runners don’t like it either. And women runners? We really don’t like it.
So genuinely, thanks. Thanks for laughing in my face when I was happily getting on with my run and reminding me that it is not at all funny that I run. It’s not comical, it’s not silly, and it’s not inappropriate. It’s what I do. It’s my thing. It keeps me sane and it makes me strong. And it’s none of your business how fast I’m going or what I look like when I’m doing it.
You might have thought I was slow, but I still lapped you didn’t I? Because when I saw you again later on my route I’d covered more than a mile and you’d gone rather less than half that distance (I know this. I run the path you took all the time). That laugh made me run faster. That laugh beat my time from Saturday at the 5k mark, and got me through the rest of the run feeling determined.
Lots of things are funny. Laughter is one of the best medicines. No prizes for guessing what I think the other one is…I laugh all the time, at many things and with many people.
Not AT them though. And only when things are actually funny. The idea that my running is somehow amusing, ya wee shite?
Don’t make me laugh.