Sunday, February 10, 2008

Surprisingly Chilled

I have to admit, I wasn't looking forward to this weekend much. Ages ago I arranged to go down to London for the first Wigan match of the season, where I was meant to be a guest of honour with the rest of the New York team. But the person who was organising it left Quins, so that wasn't going to happen, and the rest of February got horribly booked up meaning that a weekend away was the last thing I fancied.

But still, they're my team, it was booked, so I may as well go. But onstead of doing my normal "must do as much as possible in 48 hours" approach, I decided to relax a bit. I didn't stay in central London, and based myself in Richmond instead. I travelled down on Friday night meaning that although I had to pay for an extra night in a hotel, it would give me time for my long run on Saturday morning. I didn't worry about all the things I wanted to do in London. They will still be there next time (or, given that next time is the marathon, maybe the time after that). I just spent the weekend relaxing and spending some time with myself without the distractions I have at home.

The weather was perfect, so I had a lovely long run on Saturday (longer than I intended, but I picked up the pace towards the end so clearly not too long), I went to the rugby, and I went to the cinema. I sat in cafes reading the paper, and I ate. All stuff I can do at home, but never seem to get round to.

I didn't do the old "I'm on holiday so calories don't count" routine. Even though I'd done a long run and mentally gave myself some leeway, the back to basics approach seems to be working. I craved vegetable soup and salad rather than cake and hot chocolate. Since I got back onto good food I can really feel the difference in myself, so I didn't want to eat stuff that wouldn't make me feel good.

Even though I didn't really do much other than wander, sit and eat, I feel like it was a weekend well spent.

It also got me back into the swing of the rugby a bit. Recently I've felt myself drifting away from the RL world a bit. I've barely paid any attention to the transfers and friendlies during the off season, and if I'm brutally honest, it no longer has the place in my life it once did. I used to arrange my social life round rugby. I'd meet friends at games, I'd organise my life and my travel round the fixture list, and I'd go to two, even three, games a weekend to meet up with various people. It made me feel like I belonged, and it was who I was.

Now, running ticks a lot of those boxes. I try to fit them both together (like travelling down on Friday to fit the run as well as the match in), but if one has to give way then it might be the rugby. It certainly is on those weekends when I have a target race which clashes with a match.

I no longer need to use a rugby team as my proxies when it comes to sporting achievement. I don't need to pin all my hopes on them. I'd rather get GFA for myself than see them win the league, if I had to choose. Both would be lovely, of course, but I don't need to live out my dreams through other people. I'm starting to see rugby more as a filler like films or music. If there's something good on and I have time, I'll watch it, but if I have something more important I might do that instead.

I just feel a bit disloyal, as though once you're a fan you can't just switch off and desert them. Actually, at the game, once I'd worked out who half our players were, I started to get back into it again and enjoyed it more than I was expecting to. Let's see whether I enjoy the resumption of the Friday night trek to Wigan though...


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