Don’t Look Ethel

Yesterday and today I ran naked.

Cows in the field, waiting by the gate

No, I wasn’t taking the idea of a run streak literally, and there were no acts of public indecency. I did keep my clothes on, and really, would you, given how the temperature has taken a sudden plummet? What I mean is, that I didn’t keep a track of any running metrics while I ran.

From appalling to anodyne in two short paragraphs, but for a runner who likes to keep a eye of their miles and pace as they go along (that is most of us), it’s quite a big deal to not be able to see a smart watch, or listen to a voice in your headphones periodically giving you your details.

I don’t have a sports watch. Yet. So normally I rely on the lady from the Runkeeper app telling me what’s happening every ten minutes. How many miles I’ve accumulated, what my average pace is etc. All very interesting stuff if you like that sort of thing. And sadly, I do.

It was because I’ve (temporarily I hope) lost my headphones, and I decided to mute my phone volume to avoid passers-by hearing the slightly pathetic information coming through. So I wasn’t completely naked. I did capture my data, but I only looked at the end of the run.

There are very few runners that I know who don’t care about these things. I can only think of one. A man I used to run with some lunchtimes when I worked for a company, a few years back. His name has completely passed me by, but he used to just have a normal watch, that could just tell the time. He looked at it when we started, and then maybe, at the end, if he remembered. He was so zen. I think his preference was trail running and hills, and he was so chilled that he even ran during Ramadan, in the summer, while observing the no water rule, and didn’t seem to break a sweat. Amazing!

But apart from this guy, I can’t think of anybody who doesn’t record their runs. I’m not sure I like it. I feel bereft. Normally I listen to a podcast in between the ten minute time checks, or I’m chatting to other people if I’m going out with a group, but these last couple of days I’ve got nothing.

Well, apart from the sound of the traffic, the birds, and the occasional mooing cow I suppose.

In my OU Creative Writing course, I am encouraged to observe the world around me a little more closely. To use all the senses and describe what I notice with a little, well, creativity.

What did I notice?

The constant background whirring hum of the nearby motorway: white noise, it fades into the subconscious. The birds twittering in the trees, squeezing behind the last few leaves that have managed to cling on to the bitter end. Squirrels, scarpering silently well ahead of me, when they feel the earthquake of my clodhopper tread. Farmyard aromas wafting on the chilly breeze as I reach the winding country lanes. The cows lining up at the gate, waiting impatiently, to be moved to the greener grass field.

You see! The sooner I can find my headphones the better.

6 thoughts on “Don’t Look Ethel”

  1. I could almost smell the smell of those wonderful creatures that is fading into a distant memory for me – thank you for the reminder. You see, some things we do take for granted so it is good sometimes intentional or not to step outside of our comfort zones to see, hear and feel new things!

  2. … and I thought the experience might make you not want to find the headphones (but when you do find them, you still don’t have to use them on a run).

    1. Ha! I do like running without headphones for the shorter ones, but I need them for a long run, as there are only so many birds and trees I can ponder on before my mind starts getting twitchy !

  3. I rarely walk without my headphones. I’m either listening to a podcast, YouTube video, or music, mostly podcasts. I love that you described being without your headphones as naked because honestly, I think that describes the feeling perfectly. You feel like you are missing something important like pants. LOL. I like tracking my progress with anything, including my walks. If I can ever get back to running, I’ll track my runs, too. I think you can learn a great deal from tracking activities, your feelings during those activities, and seeing progress or lack of in some situations. I hope you find your headphones.

    1. I have found them luckily. I do record my runs, but sometimes, it is nice not to hear my stats as I’m going. Or just to not listen to anything specific. For the shorter runs that is. Hope you get back to running soon!

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