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Rantings, thoughts, diatribe. Anything that captures my interest and hangs around long enough to capture on a keyboard.

Tuesday, 10 March 2009

Puff Puff Paree

There comes a time in a woman's life where you realise that you gotta Use it or Lose It. By this I mean that once you hit your early to mid 30's, certain physical realities start to manifest. The onset of aging becomes apparent with clicking joints and funny aches. Things start to sag and bag. Your body is no longer a house of fun but a treacherous course that has to be navigated more carefully. For me, the onset on bodily decay was rather startling. For the past 29 years, I have danced so my body has served me, not the other way around. I did not like this new world order.

Luck would have it that around this time I moved to an area in London which is populated with joggers. When we first moved there, my husband and I would gaze at all the bobbing figures and joke about whether we would eventually succumb.

"Nah, " we'd mutter as we sank back into the depths of our sofa. "It's too cold. What's wrong with those people?"

Three years later and we are now those people. We run in the cold. We run in the rain. We run alone. We run with friends. We run in events and to our continual delight and amazement - our bodies don't fail us. We feel stronger than before and it's a good feeling.

Last weekend we ran in the Paris Half Marathon with a group of friends. It was our first big running event and we were all nervous. It was raining and the event was poorly organised. There were no toilets along the route and no energy drinks either. I have always defended Paris when others tut-tutted about the Parisian attitude of disdain but not this time. I ran the route with a semi full bladder and cursed the organisers the whole route. My tears on sight of the finishing line were not tears of relief and joy, but happiness that a toilet was perhaps close to hand.

Bladder relieved and divested of my sweaty, rain soaked garments, it sunk in that I had completed a test of endurance. Not only completed it but done so in a decent time and with energy to spare. I had trained to do so and had taken back the mastery of my body and mind. Not against time but against apathy and inertia.

Everyone ages, grows old and dies. But some of us are lucky to feel that they have a choice in how this happens. Running is seeing me through this mid 30's phase. It makes me feel like I have a choice and that I can do anything I put my mind to.

Not bad for a free activity in this day and age.
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