When to give up?

OK, my running has taken a turn for the worse, and my writing is yet to make me my millions. What’s up? Why am I even here?

I woke up at 3am today in considerable pain. Yes, I swam in the sea and it made my leg feel better, and yesterday, I took that as a signal to go back to 8-minute miles, and no, it didn’t go well. I lasted almost exactly half a mile before something popped, and I burned my way back to base where I sat taking photos of other runners with my “I’m fine” face firmly attached.


Cue many, many stretches and massages (using my post-op thumb: this is SO not going well; earlier in the week I attended a circuits class and had to do the lizard walk using mainly just one hand and one leg: weirdly it is achievable, if not graceful).

But seriously, what am I doing? This is not sensible. This is ridiculous. If I were ever going to give up, then before I do any serious damage might be a consideration… I’m lurching into middle-age with the attitude of a teenager: why do I want to run over mountain ridges? Why can’t I settle for reading novels with the odd break for a nice walk?

Perhaps I should take 4-6 weeks off to let things heal and then just run a couple of 3-mile jogs a week to earn an occasional pastry.

That would be sensible.

But then…

I was two years old when US athlete Dave Wottle won the men’s 800m Olympic final in an astonishingly unlikely-looking win (I mean, look), after being off with two injured knees during the summer. He lagged so far behind that the commentators thought he was injured, and afterwards he was so surprised, he forgot to take off his hat.

And now…

I’m so non-competitive that I don’t even do the parents’ races at school, I run purely for my own sense of adventure, but I watch the little clip of Wottle from time to time, when I’m on a project or a gig of some sort — sport, writing, work, parenting, whatever — and it cheers me up.

I might not be able to run at all right now, but I’m not going to give up, either.

And that cheers me up, too.


flick a pea