The loneliness of the short distance runner

6 02 2013

Tom Courtenay in the 1962 epic “The Loneliness of the Long Distance Runner.” My own running style later that same decade was not dissimilar…

It’s all my daughter’s fault. Kate’s baby is due any day now but she decided to drive up from Nanaimo ( or ‘the Naimo’, as Eli calls it) on Sunday anyway – just a few hours after Scottish Wife and I returned to Comox from the somewhat sunnier climes of Mexico. By Monday Kate had had enough of sitting around (a two hour walk with her mother in sub-Arctic temperatures didn’t count, apparently) and decreed that we were all going swimming. SW and I were to look after Eli (aka Little Pickle) in the paddling pool at the Aquatic Centre while Kate did a few lengths of the 25 metre pool.

Less than forty minutes later Kate emerged and announced proudly that she’d completed 70 laps – ten more than she’d done two years ago when she was 38 weeks pregnant with Eli. I announced that after forty minutes of looking after Eli I was just looking forward to a nice nap. To be honest, having gained over half a stone (that’s seven pounds in Canadian money) during our vacation, I was quite relieved that no-one in the Aquatic Centre had mistaken me for a whale and shot me with a harpoon. Lucky I was in a Canadian pool, I guess, rather than Japanese or Icelandic waters.

Early the next morning when Kate came downstairs I mentioned admiringly how fit she was, considering her advanced state of pregnancy. I also mentioned how easily my stomach could be confused with hers. It’s tough to admit that you’re not in the best of shape, but clearly the only shape in which I could be described right now would be ’round’. It hasn’t always been so: I was a pretty good cross country runner at school – top 60 in the All England championships one year – and a few years later I completed three London Marathons, the last two in under 3hr 20 minutes. But this was all three or four decades ago, and my ‘running’ these days consists of patrolling the centre circle while reffing soccer or ambling after Eli if he looks as though he’s about to get up to mischief.

However, as Kate and I talked about our relative fitness levels, I suddenly decided that I would go for a run. Obviously something other than logic was operating here. It was cold, wet and gloomy outside, as well as blowing a gale, but I quickly changed into shorts and a tee shirt and, before I had a chance to change my mind, I was out the front door and heading for Goose Spit. It’s less than a five minute drive away, but I hadn’t been running for half that time before I realised that it was going to take a good deal longer on Shanks’s pony. Somehow I managed to get all the way to the Spit and back without having to stop, even up a couple of hills that are deceptively gentle slopes in a vehicle but revealed to be steep bordering on vertical when you’re powered by your own aging legs. Twenty six minutes later I was back home, lungs heaving and legs shaking. Two days later my thighs are still aching. When I squatted down to eye up a putt on the first green today they hurt so much that I abandoned the idea for the rest of the round and to hell with my putting stats!

So shall I now run on a regular basis, I hear you ask? Abso blimmin lutely! My schedule is already worked out, although I’ve no intention of falling into that rookie error of over-training. My next run will be a year from now, in February 2014 – if I’ve recovered by then…


Kate, moments after completing her first marathon (Victoria 2011) in 3 hrs 26 mins, good enough to qualify for the Boston Marathon.


Me launching myself into the ocean at Guayabitos last week.

All da best!

Dave B.




6 responses

7 02 2013
G the SBer

And you still appeared to be in full stride on Wednesday as you made it around the course in under 3 hours!

7 02 2013
Bagger Dave

Sounds about right, Glennie. We probably walk six miles round the course, which would be 2 miles per hour. Glacial…

7 02 2013

I guess it was only a matter of time before a blog started this way:

It’s all my daughter’s fault….

Are you still sore? By the way – I finished those 70 laps in 35 minutes, not an hour. That would be pedestrian. See you in a couple of days. Maybe a run around Westwood Lake? At least it’s flat!

7 02 2013
Bagger Dave

I’m fine, relatively speaking. How are you? Get on with it, Smuds! Just joking.



8 02 2013

Great story Dave. For someone who can obviously run long distances I have never understood why you never left the penalty area when you played soccer!
Best wishes to you all at the forthcoming birth,
Geoff & Maryanne

8 02 2013
Bagger Dave

You weren’t safe to be left on your own in the area, Geoff, with all those big, ugly defenders around. BTW, have you persuaded Maryanne to go to a soccer game yet? I’d love to read her take on South American soccer!

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