Chariots of Fire it ain't.
Yes, I have taken up running. No longer able to kid myself that I am as fit as I was 20 years ago, I decided to do something about it. A month or so ago I started to go for a quick skelp around the block. At first I didn't know if I'd keep it up, so I ran in the trousers I use for painting, rather than spend money on new trackie-bottoms.
It was the loneliness of the long- distance interior decorator, except for the long distance bit.
Previous attempts at prolonged self-propulsion above walking pace had been far from encouraging. I would try to do too much at too high a speed. This invariably left me with a taste in my mouth as if I had swallowed a box of matches, lungs apparently filling up with sulphuric acid and a body leaning on a lamppost at the corner of the street hoping a certain little paramedic would pop by. Not this time. I started small and worked up. Realising that I could not hope to match the fellow car pool pal who was an ex-triathlon team member or the significantly older colleague who recently ran a marathon, I decided to compete only against Gregor Steele.
It worked and already there are measurable physical changes. I have athlete's foot, for a start, although I'm told you can get that from sitting at a desk all day in sweaty socks, just as you don't have to ride around in freight trains listening to country music to contact Boxcar Willie.
Seriously, I feel better mentally and physically. I know that there is a long way to go, though whoever said that the first step is the most difficult obviously never got as far as the 927th. Improvement is the thing, and improvements I am seeing.
Last week I couldn't do gradients. The week before I could think of nothing other than how my legs felt when I ran. This week I ran up wee hills and made up cheap jokes for articles as I did so.
It may all just be a coincidence that this is happening at a time in my life when I am involved in a project on formative assessment. Or it may not.
Gregor Steele believes he is the out-of-focus red blob in the Holyrood Park.