Sunday, February 05, 2006

Use it or lose it

This morning for the first time the number of miles I've driven in 2006 has gone higher than the number of miles I've run. Seriously!

I drove back from Gatwick airport on the 30th December. I filled my car before setting out from the airport, and that drive takes pretty much a full tank of petrol. I filled my car for the first time this year yesterday afternoon.

Partly this is because the car park I normally park in for work has shut, and I'm going into work on the bus instead. And also because it's not the rugby season, so I've been staying at home weekends and not going on regular treks across the M62 (or indeed across Europe, which is next weekend's treat).

It almost became a challenge, how long could I go before I put petrol in it and started to use it again. I would run or use the bus at any opportunity to extend my personal record for eeking out a single tank of petrol. As my runs have got longer over the past month I've realised that places I'd only ever driven to aren't actually that far away at all.

So, when I came to start the car yesterday to put some petrol in it in advance of this morning's trip to Manchester Airport to pick my parents up, it wouldn't start. Completely dead. I did wonder for a moment whether I was out of petrol, but I put some petrol in it and it didn't improve matters. It was just a plain old dead battery.

You see, in the past month I've left it sitting on the drive from Monday to Friday, taking it out to the supermarket, about 3 miles away on a saturday or a sunday. I've got so many things planned for evenings these days that don't need a car to get to that I just don't have a reason to move it during the week.

So the battery runs down during the week, and the short trip to the shops at the weekend just isn't enough to recharge the battery properly. Nothing particularly earthshattering about that revelation, I guess. It should be better now, as last weekend was the last time until about November I won't take it on a decent run at the weekend, which should be enough to see it through the week.

But more interesting, I pondered, was that my body is probably exactly the same. Sometimes you don't need rest to refresh you, but a bit of activity or something to do. I know that if I've been away for the weekend spending 2 days trying to do as much as possible, even though I'm physically tired, mentally I couldn't feel more alive. Whereas spending the weekend lazing on the sofa may be easy, but it makes me feel tireder.

And running, too. If I didn't run for a month, or only ran 3 miles twice a week there's no way that my body would be in any sort of condition to attempt anything longer, and it would probably feel sluggish when I started a run too.

I've got a body that can do things that I'm proud of, and I need to keep doing them to be able to say that. I don't want to let those running batteries run down.


So, for that reason I went for a half hour or so run when I got back from picking my parents up from the airport. We come in and they sit down with a cup of tea while I get changed. By the time I get back from my run they've been making bacon sandwiches for themselves and for my sister who's still around until tomorrow. And sausage sandwiches too, as if bacon wasn't enough.

I come back in, about 3.7 miles later, and make myself my healthy fruity porridge, studiously ignoring the smells of fat and grease coming from the kitchen. I really can't believe it, but I don't actually want one. I'd rather have what I ate for breakfast than what they had, and I'm glad I preceded it with a run too.

The reason they're all over is because it was my grandfather's 80th birthday on Friday, so we're going out for a meal with them. They don't know my parents are here, so that's going to be a bit of a surprise (which reminds me - I must call the restaurant to change the booking shortly!). We're going for a chinese, which annoyed me at first. I don't really like chinese food, and neither does my mother, and my sister (who arranged this with them) knows that. I don't like wasting a celebration meal on food that I don't even like. I'll happily go over what I normally eat for something I enjoy, but it just feels pointless when I don't even enjoy it. However, trying to look on the bright side, maybe it means I'll have less temptation to eat everything in sight, and at least at the sort of place where you just take what you want out of dishes placed in the middle of the table I can take less, and eat less without it being made into an issue by other people.

Keep your fingers crossed for me!


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