All Quiet on the Western Front

It’s been a remarkably quiet week in the Beckett household. I suppose the one stand-out achievement of the week has been gaining sight of the bottom of the clothes basket. It took two determined days of running the washing machine non-stop, but at least now I know there is an end to the clothes washing nightmare. I also know that the end does not last.

I’ve had the week off work. While not washing dishes, clothes, or putting things away behind people, I’ve been doing an awful lot of nothing at all. It turns out that while you’re locked down, there’s not much you can do to amuse yourself.

In the middle of the week my youngest daughter roped me into recording a workout with her for a school project. Five minutes of madness taking part in all manner of activities that could be completed in our living room. I learned a number of gravity assisted exercises, and wanted to die a few minutes later. Who knew that working from home for a year would make me quite so unfit?

I’m supposed to go for a run in the morning, but it’s below freezing tonight, and it’s due to snow tomorrow. I imagine the footpaths will be turned into ice rinks. I just checked the weather forecast – the snow isn’t due until 8am, so maybe we’ll be able to run before it arrives.

Now if you’ll excuse me, I’m going to go and raid the cupboards for something to eat. I’ll probably end up eating cereal for supper – it’s my “go to” late night snack.


Another 5K around town

Following my youngest daughter signing up for the “Couch to 5K” programme through school, she has to complete the training runs each week, and her sisters promised to help her with it. We’re at week three, and I’ve already run with her twice after they no-showed on her.

Tonight we ran around town in the dark after I finished work – completing the week three run according to the programme, and then effectively doubling it. She was tired at the end, but then she’s starting from a position far ahead of her sisters. It says something that she was up and ready to run before breakfast this morning, and all she could get from her sisters was grunts from their bedroom doors.

Tomorrow she has to organise and run a workout session – and film it. Apparently I may end up as a ginea pig for that too – given that I have a few days off work. If our wonderful next door neighbour looks over the fence tomorrow, she’ll see me throwing kettle bells around, skipping, and collapsing in a heap somewhere.


Running on Sunday Morning

I went for a run around town with my youngest daughter this morning. She was supposed to be running with her sisters, but neither of them got out of bed. At 8am she appeared in the bedroom doorway, asking if I might go with her instead. My other half smiled at me.

She’s starting a “Couch to 5k” course with her school, and has been doing the official training programme with her sisters. Here’s the thing though – she’s far fitter than them. I proved it this morning – rather than do any of the interval training she has been doing, we just went out on a long slow jog – to see what she was really capable of.

She did three and a half kilometres. A few more weeks of the interval training, and I think she’ll get to five kilometres easily. As we passed a footpath that leads back towards home, I handed her my front door key and carried on to extend my distance a little – running for another three kilometres or so.

I love running early on a morning, before the rest of the world has emerged. This morning the streets were almost deserted, save for one or two people walking dogs, or out running themselves. I always say hello when passing fellow runners – they usually respond with a smile – occasionally they take no notice, and carry on frowning their way down the road. Grumpy buggers.

After getting home and having a shower I set about helping my daughter eat the remaining crumpets from the fridge – I bought them earlier in the week, during my first visit to the supermarket in about a month. I imagine I’ll be returning to town in a bit to get some more groceries. I’m not entirely sure I want to brave the cold again.


The Santa “Fun” Run

After sliding out of bed a little after 7am this morning, I wandered downstairs and dressed myself as Santa. Father Christmas. Saint Nicholas. Only a very low budget version – with a wonderful red suit that might rip in half if you bend over too quickly.

Ten minutes later two very sleepy daughters joined me in the kitchen and began dressing as mini-Santas to accompany me on a mad-cap escapade around town. Normally at this time of year you might find several thousand Santas running an organised route to raise money for charity – this morning it was just us.

I took a bit of a risk in wearing nothing but underwear and a t-shirt under the Santa suit. After the ass-ripping antics of last year, my other half questioned the choice. I grinned and shrugged. I didn’t figure on continual rain turning the already thin material into tissue paper en-route.

Along the way we received cheers from construction workers, beeps from delivery vans, and waves from people on foot. It was almost enough to keep my middle daughter running. Let’s just say she’s never going to find running easy – partly because of her build, but mostly because she gives up so easily. I’ve never known anybody with so little will power.

My youngest daughter ran the entire route at a canter – often doubling back with me and encouraging her sister. She also ran a final lap around the green where we live with me – making sure we covered 5K. Neighbours waved from windows as we passed.

So – it is done – the Santa Fun Run is completed for another year.

Good riddance.

Now where are the three ghosts that were foretold?


Running and Writing

I’m supposed to get up at 8am tomorrow morning and run around town in a Santa suit, accompanied by my younger daughters. I’m not quite sure how they’re going to do it given that they have not taken part in any activities you might describe as helping their fitness for weeks.

I’m starting to wonder if this is what growing up is all about – getting up and doing things you don’t really want to do, because somebody asked you to. It’s a bloody stupid idea really – running around dressed as Santa. I imagine it will give a few people a laugh around town.

If I wasn’t running (read:walking) with my daughters I imagine I would be home within half an hour – I can’t see us getting home inside an hour.

I was going to have a night off from writing tonight, but then something clicked in my head, and I spent the last two hours churning out another post for the other blog. It’s been cross posted to Medium, where I’m slowly but surely making money now. Let’s hope I don’t run out of things to write about any time soon.

It turns out it’s quite difficult to write after two glasses of wine. I’m wondering how Hemingway did it – I’m beginning to suspect the stories of drunken excess are lies.


I ran this morning

I ran this morning. After suggesting to Miss 16 that I could accompany her, I got up at 7am, pulled my shorts and shoes on, and was ready to go within minutes. I called up the stairs after her, and heard a murmur.

“I don’t want to go”

After quite some cajoling, and trying not to completely and utterly lose my shit with her, she got up, got dressed, and joined me outside.

I am continually amazed at how easily teenagers give up at anything that requires any will power, determination, effort, or hard work. It was SUCH hard work – trying to encourage her throughout the second half of the (shortened) route we eventually completed. I’m trying to talk her equally unfit sisters to run with her instead of me – because my encouragement is eventually seen as “going on”.


It’s nearly midnight again. How does that keep happening?

I started the day sitting in the lounge today – opposite my youngest daughter, who is doing schoolwork via Microsoft Teams for the remainder of term. She lasted an hour before vanishing off through the house. At lunchtime I switched back to sitting in the junk room on my own – given that it made very little difference which room I should sit in on my own.

This wasn’t a very exciting post, was it. Perhaps tomorrow will be better.


Running on my Own

At dinner yesterday evening, my middle daughter put all sorts of plans in place to go running several times a week before college. I suggested I could go with her at perhaps 6:30am each morning – she suggested 6am. I rolled my eyes, and agreed.

After setting my alarm last night, and waking up at 6am, I rolled out of bed, pulled on some running shorts, and wandered over to her bedroom doorway. No response. I went downstairs, downed a glass of water, found my running shoes and coat, and got ready. Twenty minutes later, I made a final call. Still no answer.
I left the house at 6:30am on my own.

The last few runs have only been a couple of kilometres. I took it slowly (or so I thought), and headed out across town on the route that adds up to a little of five kilometres – listening to podcasts along the way. I shook my head at the coincidences that happen to me when out running – I think Chaos mathematicians would describe me as a “strange attractor”. I can be in the middle of nowhere, and not have seen a car for ages – but as soon as I need to set foot in the road, to pass a construction site, for example – cars will appear from all directions, at the precise point where the road is at it’s narrowest. It happened four times in five hundred yards this morning – the final instance nearly getting me run over.

I’m trying desperately to turn running into a habit. At the moment it’s still a victory of sorts for the “what you need to be doing” part of my brain over the “what you would like to be doing” part. I would like to have still been in bed. I did it though. Five and a half kilometres, with no “cheating” (no walking). Of course now I’ll be tired all day, but that’s a small price to pay in the good fight against having a backside the size of pluto.


Five More Kilometres

After staying up half the night to watch the morbidly hilarious US presidential debate take place in the US – mostly waiting for Biden to ask Trump to grow up – I finally fell asleep at about 3am. Four hours later the alarm clock woke me up, and some idiot impulse in the depths of my stupid brain told me “you need to go for a run”.

I’m not entirely sure how I did it, but I ran another five kilometres. The first couple were easy. The next couple more a case of “just get through this”, and then the last one was spent winding through back streets towards home – avoiding legions of school children along the way.

Note to self – stay the hell away from grammar school children – they seem to think it’s fine to walk to school in groups of twenty or thirty, taking up entire footpaths, with no social distancing at all. There’s no point pulling them up, and questioning their behaviour though – they will know better. There’s a certain kind of aloof arrogance that pervades a huge demographic of the town where I live.

After slowing to a walk outside our house, I checked Stava on my phone, and half-noticed a blonde haired lady walking her dog. She seemed to be having a very in-depth conversation with her dog. I’m pretty sure dogs only really think “hungry”, “food”, “stick”, “cats!”, “squirrel!”, “tennis ball!”, “I need a wee”, “I need a poo”, “I love you!”, and maybe “I don’t think I should have chewed up that soft toy”.

Cats are so different, aren’t they. Most of their brain processing comes down to “because I can, and f*ck you”.

Oh – I forgot. George, the cat with no bits attempted to wee on the telephone socket AGAIN. I came downstairs to a huge puddle this morning, and considered grabbing him and rubbing his head in it. Strangely enough, he must have read my mind, and hid under the dining room table.

The rest of the day has passed in a blur of meetings, programming, and head scratching. For some reason mid-morning my back ceased functioning. I’m wondering if that has something to do with four hours sleep. Probably.


More Running, More Coffee

Some good friends came over last night and sat outside with us while I cooked food on the barbecue. I somehow managed to drink two thirds of a bottle of wine while talking about everything and nothing with them, and boy did I know about it this morning. It didn’t stop me going for a run though.

I’m not quite sure how my brain works with this whole running business – I guess I’m pretty good at being accountable to myself. I thought about staying in bed for an extra half hour, but something inside me stood me up, pulled on some shorts and a t-shirt, and delivered me to the doorstep.

I’m not particularly happy with how far I’m running, or how fast I’m running, but also realise that at least I’m doing it – at least I’m doing something.

I’ve already downed one coffee this morning. A second will be following in a few minutes.

In other news, lets try not to remember the huge ass spider that climbed on me while hanging washing on the line this morning. I have no idea how long he was on me, hitching a free ride around the house, before he decided to climb down my leg. It was a “false widow” – I don’t think they are particularly dangerous, but probably enough to make the kids scream.