This morning, out with the dog I considered whether I should get rid of my Lycra.
Nothing fancy, just some running shorts and t-shirts. Mostly from 15 years ago, the year my son was born, and I ran the Sheffield marathon – the one that resulted in multiple hospitalisations because of the extreme heat and the hills.
I have struggled with running ever since, gradually allowing myself to deteriorate, participating in the odd half-marathon, all the way to my current walking.
Now, walking is a good form of exercise – so long as it’s brisk and of sufficient duration.
We’re not talking speed-walking here, more, a pace that gets you places.
This form of walking generally requires boots and whatever the weather dictates – t-shirt and shorts or raincoat; it can be done every day and there is no Lycra.
Yet, I still have my Lycra drawer.
Somewhere inside me is the notion that I might get back to the heady heights of five-hour runs across rough ground, when I would sup from my Camelbak in the runner’s high.
I used to get injuries too; sore ankles and knees. I am not a natural aesthete – my body shape is I believe more adapted to trekking across the desert than running in the high country.
Walking has not ever, as far as I can remember injured me.
The bike has resulted in fractured skull and arm, the running, bursitis and torn muscles, by comparison, walking seems benign; it is also a good way to spend time with my dog.
I am not trying to sell walking as an activity, although I suspect if more people got out there, the world would be a happier place.
My kids joke about the mamil’s as they cycle past at the weekends.
There is less of a risk of fashion faux pas in non-Lycra activity.
I am not suggesting there is anything bad or wrong with the stretchy fabric, it is more that I am feeling my age, with the realisation that a more sedate activity is likely to allow me to keep going for longer; my days of sprinting are gone.
It is true, if I refer to the literature that there is no too late age to start running, cycling or serious outdoor aerobic exercise; I suspect some of this reflects the stage a person reaches when they realise that who they are is what they are and the future is likely to remain stable – I don’t mean life, that will surely continue to oscillate, no, who I am, my shape, size, physical and physiological dimensions are pretty fixed, now and into the future, and, likely the Lycra can go, and make room for something else.
PS Photos from this morning’s walk.