Good news for runners with colds everywhere…

bowlsEveryone chez nous is still in the grip of the worst cold that we, or indeed anyone else has had, in the history of the world, ever. So, as being prevented from running tends to put me in a tetchy frame of mind, we’ve all been struggling to put a positive spin on the situation and to think of reasons to be cheerful.

Well, obviously, if snot were suddenly to become a marketable commodity, we could corner the market and enjoy wealth beyond the dreams of avarice.

Similarly, were the BBC to produce a radio show dedicated to the last days of the Brontes, in all their consumptive glory, we’d be a shoo-in for all of the sound effects required to aurally conjure up a slightly bookish family on the verge of calling for the undertaker.

So, in other words, we’ve really been struggling to find ways of staying positive this week.

And then, earlier this afternoon, my son channel-hopped his way through the welter of property programmes that infest the daytime TV schedules in these parts (which I’ve always assumed were a cute ploy on the part of the authorities to reduce the number of ‘duvet days’ taken by the working masses) and alighted on quite the dullest spectacle I ever hope to witness in my lifetime.

It was a ‘sporting’ ‘event’ called the World Indoor Bowls Championship. And yes, the sarcastic inverted commas have treated both of those words individually with very good reason.

Grown men were actually being filmed by the BBC, playing bowls, on a blue carpet, while other people watched intently. Yes! Really! There was even a hushed commentary, where technical-sounding phrases like ‘getting good draw off the shag-pile’ were bandied around by breathless pundits.

I know what you’re thinking: those old Monty Python repeats, they get everywhere. But no. What little breath as my congested lungs are still able to draw was taken away as I realised that this wasn’t a clever and well-executed satire, this was actually for real.

‘What kind of people could possibly be watching this on purpose?’ I said. And then I spotted the major sponsor’s logo on the hoarding alongside the blue carpet: Co-op Funeralcare.

So, you’re probably wondering why this is good news if you’re a runner with a cold. And I must admit, it took me a while to see it myself. But the good news is that no matter how bad you’re feeling right now, no matter how many days you are away from running again; if your wardrobe consists largely of shoes with Asics logos and shorts adorned with swooshes and stripes, chances are that you will never, ever, find yourself entering any event sponsored by Co-op Funeralcare.

It may not be much to hang onto, but I’m afraid that in these desperate times, that’s all I’ve got to offer…


Man flu? It’s more like the ebola virus.

lemsipThat’s the problem with writing a running blog. It’s all very well as long as you’re out there running and keep (literally) stumbling across all sorts of things to pontificate and bitch about. But what happens when the unthinkable occurs and you find yourself sidelined, not by a juicy running injury you can write about, but by something as mundane as the common cold?

Well, I say ‘the common cold’, but it feels more like a cross between full-blown flu and the ebola virus. Yes, the only thing in our house that is running with any degree of efficiency is my nose; but I can assure you that it would take far more than that to stop me from strapping a pair on and going for a run.

Nope, the way I feel, particularly with regard to braving the wind and rain along the sea wall, this can only be the Ebola virus. And my kidneys are almost certainly liquefying even as I type. I’ve got the fever, the headache, the general malaise. Even my standard panacea of Lem-Sip laced with vodka is having very little effect.

And don’t try telling me that there are neither green monkeys nor fruitbats in this locale which could have passed on the Ebola virus. Perhaps I picked it up in the Bogs of Doom during Hellrunner?

But enough complaining already. This is the first full-blown cold I’ve had in years; mainly thanks to my running habit. And that isn’t just idle boasting. The American College of Sports Medicine surveyed 700 regular runners last year, and their findings were that 61 percent of people reported a reduction in the number of colds they suffered since they took up running.

Informed medical opinion also indicates that if your symptoms are ‘above the neck’ ie In your head and nose, rather than your chest and lungs, it’s still safe to take moderate exercise, including going for your regular run.

Hmm. Well. OK then. But if this is the last blog entry ever to appear here, you have my full permission to avoid that last bit of advice. And, of course, to watch out for fruitbats during Hellrunner…