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.


O. U. Crazy Thing

Open University logo

So I’ve decided upon a course of action.

A few weeks back, as in the first part of September, I decided, after a half hour of deep consideration, to step up.

I’m putting my money where my virtual mouth would like to be, and going on a course. Specifically, an Open University Post Graduate Certificate in Creative Writing.

Because it’s a post grad, I had to dig out and send a picture of my original degree certificate to show that I had the credentials. Well, I almost had the credentials, as they preferred a 2:1 or above, and I’d barely scraped a 2:2 for my non-efforts at the time. However, because of my entire nine months’ worth of consistent blogging which showed that I’m going to be more serious about my education this time around, they have actually let me on. Perhaps I should be taking the undergraduate course, but that costs way more and you have to commit yourself to longer than a year and I really need to take this thing one step at a time, so.

Suddenly, week one has finished and I’m already a little shocked at how much actual writing I’ve been expected to do, on top of the reading. There. Is. A. Lot.

My main discipline is going to be ‘creative non-fiction’, as I’ve realised in this past nearly-year, that it is far easier to not have to make stuff up. Although, that assumption is quickly being dispelled now that I realise just how much research one needs to do to, like, do it properly. Luckily the one page sound bites I put up as blog posts don’t need much in the way of prep as it’s just basically what I’m thinking of in that moment. But apparently, if you want to do something a little more meaty, you need to actually work at it.

There will also be a minor dabble in fiction too, as you get to pick a secondary, so I can dip in my toes and see how that goes.

I’m basically saying all this in order to explain why I may not be writing my blog as often as I have been, but I won’t be stopping completely, because this girl still has to run sometimes, and occasionally may even travel.

So wish me luck, and if you notice an improvement in the calibre of my posts please do let me know.

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