One of the nice things about Fetcheveryone, the running community and perfomance recording website I belong to, is the certainty it can bring to specific statements – like ‘Prague is a minor city in Wimbleshire’, ‘*Username deleted* (who I have still to meet) is, or at least was, a twat’, or ‘I ran my fastest marathon at a faster pace than 90% of all my other runs in 2008’ and that kind of thing.
So today I can say with satisfaction that I ran further than I have since Oct 3rd last year. I even ran an extra mile because I found that the towpath remains shut on the other side of the Thames (I suspect the Barnes Socialist Muddyfunster Front is enjoying it’s splending isolation from those orrible Mortlakeians and Kewiaianianians and so they have extended the ‘none shall pass, not even reading Vogon poetry’ period until after the election. I don’t believe their ‘it was wet’ excuse.). So I had to run an extra mile doubling back on myself
I was passed by at least two V50s, out for their Saturday constitutionals. One of them waved after he ambled past. Cheerio, he waved, without realising the homicidal maelstrom in my head at that moment. I was listening to an audiobook – Transition by Iain Banks. It contains scenes of extrreme torture and gratuitious fornication. It is about the banking meltdown, morality, and responsibility. I have to take my headphones off when ‘The philosopher’ bits come on, and listen out for the change of accent that signifies a new narrator. To say it’s grim is putting it mildly. It’s a brilliant book, and brilliant concept, it’s just that for a remarkably mellow man, Mr Banks has a really nasty streak.
But despite this extreme provocation, I did not string the V50s up by the goolies, and cover them in paper cuts and lemon juice. Or attach electrodes anywhere. Funny that if it were a film or a game, this story would almost certainly be banned.
Anyhoo, running. It’s a beautiful day, and it’s my first proper week back running for a long time – five times this week. Each time I stop I forget in my head, and each time I start I remember in my muscles. I love plodding longer distances. I love the ups and downs of the endorphins and glucose in my system – the odd, almost orgasmic highs where your whole body tingles and currents wash up and down your nervous system, followed inevitably a mile or so later by a sugar low and feeling like death. And then realising your not going to die, and building up to another, smaller, peak of exhilaration, until again, that fades, and you’re sinking again.
It’s funny to be aware that your head’s not in control of this. Neither is your heart, or your lungs. It’s muscles and nerves – fibres twitching away inside whatever skin bubble you inhabit. Twitch, twitch, twitch. And the connections that form, again and again, no matter how many times you’ve done it before, or how long since the last time.
A memory – a muscle memory. Euphoria, followed by pain. Addictive, and destructive.
Bliss. Ballardian, Banksian, bliss.