Thursday, 14 January 2016

The Problem with the Holidays

The problem with holidays is that they are a long dark glimpse into your soul

The Christmas holiday season really is the worst time of year, for me at least. For a few days you can leave your day job behind, wind down, and spend more time with the family. Predictably and all too soon a little listlessness sets in. You start growing a holiday beard because you have no reason not too. You pick up the odd jobs that you had started but never finished the last time you were on holiday. Every morning you tidy the same kids toys away. Throw in a few long and tetchy family get-togethers and, well, the holidays are why there is gun control. 

I have always found the transition from work mode to holiday mindset difficult. One night, the family all tucked in, tired and beginning to resent what I was seeing on the mirror, I started browsing a few running websites. I find it always works for me, the commitment to start thinking about exercising again. Of course that resolve vanishes sharply the moment you tread on some unseen and un-tidied away piece of Lego or Stickle Brick the following morning. It was in this moment of delusional sloth that I came across an article on why starting a running streak was a good idea. Not in the mood for cheery good news, I obstinately read the length of the article only because I was convinced it was a ludicrous idea. Even though I wasn't persuaded, I knew I had to do something. I floated the idea past an old London mate mine, Rob. When we first met, my liver and knees were in the process of looking for a replacement sport for rugby, and I fell in with the wrong crowd. Robby and his triathlete friends. Despite my protestations that I could not swim he had me entered for an Ironman race for later that summer. 

A run streak, for those that lead a life of normalcy and otherwise healthy pursuits, is a period of consistent daily running. Some continue for a few weeks, others, fervently for years. From what I had read, all you had to do was run everyday. That much was straight forward. There weren't specifications on mileage and encouragingly a 'run saver' was employed. This was a get out of jail card that allowed you to jog for a only mile, because if you know, life were to happen in the midst of your streak. This preserved your run streak. I liked it. I could run a mile. For a few days in a row. Robby like the idea but insisted on no run saver and a minimum of 30 minutes a day. Misery usually loves company and I couldn't back out now. 

Thou Shalt Judge. Often.

Now, the first rule of a running streak is that you need to talk about a running streak. This is because it makes it harder to quit if other people know what you are up to. But you need to think carefully about who you tell. There is a definite pecking order with runners and even though they are as wholesome a bunch of people that you may wish to find, you will always be asked what your times are for certain distances and once you reveal your times, you are slotted above or below them and their immediate running circle. Don't tell your better and fitter athlete friends because they'll be quick to sniff out, correctly mind you, that it is a last ditch attempt to pull yourself up from out of the gutter. Don't tell your normal friends because they'll be quick to place you in a category of people they like to avoid, like dentists and Mormons. My advice is to tell little children because almost anything is amazing to them and you'll feel immediately better about your endeavour.

You can't choose your family...but keep them on your side.

Support from your family is critical. Unless of course you want out and then this is one of the quicker and better ways to turn your spouse against you. Initially mine was doubtful of the practicality of the idea and the realities of life with two small children. But she acknowledged with mild concern a few warning signs had started to tally up recently; I had begun to talk of brewing my own beer, restoring old hand tools and taken to sharpening all of the kitchen knives with zeal. With several long family dinners looming over the Christmas break, she threw her support in with the idea.

And so, so far I am out there trudging along. I have made it 13 days. 

No comments:

Post a Comment